Revista Retratos

SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities

Section: Retratos Magazine | Eduardo Peret and Marina Cardoso (intern) | Design: Licia Rubinstein

June 11, 2018 10h00 AM | Last Updated: June 12, 2018 08h49 AM

The 11th Sustainable Development Goal does not refer to a specific theme, but to the wider issue of cities and urbanization itself, which opens up a range of diversified indicators. One of the main challenges is the demand for local information, which often is not methodologically harmonized, according to the IBGE Geography coordinator Claudio Stenner. 

Retratos Magazine: What stands out in SDG 11?

Claudio Stenner: Firstly, the fact it is cross-cutting. The focus on cities takes place globally because of the fact that the world population is increasingly urban. Recently, more than half of the world's population came to the cities. In Brazil, not even 1% of the territorial area is effectively urbanized. Secondly, the fact it is something new. These are not traditional statistics, the SDG 11 indicators are not part of the economic, health and labor statistics already established, for example. There is a very strong trend to create a new set of indicators to address these specificities of cities. In these new indicators, you have a very significant geographic/spatial component to assess what happens in the cities. It is an SDG that integrates geography and statistics very closely together in the urban territory. 

Retratos: What are the sources of this information? 

Stenner: They are very diverse. The SDG 11 working group includes, in addition to the IBGE itself, the Ministry of Integration, the Secretariat of Civil Defense, the Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan), the Ministry of Cities, the Ministry of Environment, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), the National Center for Natural Disaster Monitoring and Alert (CEMADEN), the Ministry of Health and the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA). In addition, the work involves a lot of local information. For example, for the indicator that deals with the precarious settlements of cities, we need information on the land tenure situation of the areas, and the holder of this information is the city hall of each municipality. We depend on a federative partnership so that we can gather the information needed for this SDG. 

Retatos: What indicators does the IBGE already have? 

Stenner: For example, 11.1 is about precarious housing. We already have this information, produced in the population censuses and in PNAD. 11.2, which deals with urban mobility, is an indicator of the global methodology, which involves bus stops, information on public transportation and the location of the population. The IBGE has some information in the Census, but for public transportation we depend on the city halls. For 11.b.2, which deals, among other issues, with risk prevention plans and policies, we adapted the global indicator using our 2013 Basic Municipal Information Survey (Munic), which had a part dedicated to risk and disaster management, which was repeated in 2017.

Retratos: How is the integration with other bodies going? 

Stenner: We are producing some new information, such as data on urbanized areas. We are using Iphan administrative records, we will also use the Ministry of Integration. For example, 11.5 is about disasters, there are two indicators: one about direct effects and another about economic issues. For this indicator, we take the information from the Ministry of Integration, which has a database of administrative records on people killed, affected and missing due to disasters. The Ministry designed this indicator and we made a technical collaboration with them to adjust it to the standards of the global indicator. We have put three indicators on the SDG Digital Platform, which was recently launched. 

Retratos: What are the challenges for this goal? 

Stenner: We still have work to do with the institutional coordination so that we can, for example, standardize data on atmospheric pollution in cities. This information is collected by several cities, but there is no conceptual methodological harmonization that allows the creation of an indicator. This task will take a little longer. Some indicators are not yet defined, so it is difficult to say if one or the other is going to be produced. However, we hope that, perhaps for Brazil, other indicators will be adequate in certain situations. This is all going to be discussed. In the case of some more challenging indicators, they can even function as a motivation to try and make an agenda for the future with those partners. After all, the 2030 Agenda is also a bit of that, not only producing the indicators themselves, but also proposing new ways of measuring things, improving information. 

Interview published in the Retratos Magazine No. 12.