Supporting cities to work with the Sustainable Development Goals

The complexity of water as a cross-sectoral resource means that it also sits at the centre of integrated solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Baltic Sea City Accelerator (BSCA) is working with cities towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6: to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all". We think cities are a great place to start.

Water sits at the centre of Sustainable Development, cutting across multiple sectors; from domestic purposes such as sanitation, to food, energy, industrial production and risk management. Managing water in a cross-sectoral and integrated way can be challenging, as water has traditionally been managed in different parts of government, with little coordination across sectors. More integrated approaches to the management of water resources is needed, and we think cities are a great place to start. So how are we doing this?


Data and innovation: We’re working to understanding water pollution sources and take effective action

SDG 6.3: Water quality and wastewater

Water quality is essential for ecosystem health and human health. The BSCA aims to help municipalities understand, minimize and ultimately eliminate streams of pollution into the Baltic Sea. We know that wastewater from households, industries, and runoff from urban and agriculture are key sources of water pollution. Yet, not all cities have the data to understand the key points of water pollution in their areas. We’re working to help cities access this data.

 Once cities understand the main sources of water pollution, they can work effectively to reduce them. The BSCA pioneer cities are working with innovative solutions that:

  • Recycle nutrients in agricultural runoff
  • Reuse excess nutrients from the Baltic Sea
  • More effectively capture wastewater from households
  • Prevent more sewage from boats being dumped into the Baltic Sea

We’re working to help cities develop cross-sectoral and transboundary networks for water management.

SDG 6.5 Water resource management

We know that the transboundary agreements for the Baltic Sea are a good start, but not enough. Integrated water resource management is needed at all levels - from national to local levels, across sectors, and across international boundaries.

 The BSCA is working to bring stakeholders together from the entire Baltic Sea Region. We’re working with our pioneer cities to connect them to:

  • Innovative solutions
  • Research institutes
  • Cities for peer-to-peer learning
  • Joint funding opportunities

We’re also helping cities develop cross-sectoral approaches at the local level, through city-level water roundtables.


Cities can protect and restore water-related ecosystems

SGD 6.6 Water related ecosystems

Cities are starting to realise that a good ecosystem is vital for local prosperity, for tourism and businesses. The BSCA is helping to support cities to develop clear investment plans, so that their investments towards a healthy Baltic Sea provide multiple and far-reaching benefits for their economies.

The BSCA pioneer cities are working to:

  • Restore coastal wetlands
  • Directly and indirectly improve Baltic Sea ecosystems through effective measures and solutions


This post was originally published at Race For The Baltic