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  • Written by: Charla Teves (Intern)

Hawaii Green Growth Voluntary Local Review Summary

In 2012, the United Nations (UN) birthed the idea of Sustainable Development Goals that would mobilize efforts to fight against poverty, climate change, and inequalities across the globe. These Sustainable Development Goals were then adopted by world leaders in 2015 at a UN summit, and were officially implemented a year later. The UN created a way to efficiently apply these goals across the world by creating Local2030, which is a structure, to bring together leaders from governments in different states and cities to collaboratively develop and enable solutions. Local2030 is comprised of hubs, which are both networks and initiatives, across the world. The state of Hawaii was designated to be a leader for the world in taking action against the environmental, social, and economic challenges countries are faced with. The Hawaii Green Growth partnered with Hawaii’s Local2030 Hub to develop and carry out solutions that will advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on a local, national, and international level.

The UN proposed and established 17 Sustainable Development Goals so that generations to follow can live in a more enjoyable environment. These goals are identified as: (1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, (10) Reducing Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, and (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

Hawaii, being the most isolated populated location on Earth, has faced unique challenges when combating climate change. These challenges include sea-level rise, biodiversity loss, and a high cost of living. COVID-19 has especially emphasized Hawaii’s vulnerability to the external threats around the world. Due to the rare challenges Hawaii is faced with, mixed with Hawaii’s aggressive initiative towards combating climate change, the Hawaii Green Growth Local2030 Hub has been positioned to become a leader for the world in navigating towards a more sustainable future.

The Hawaii Green Growth released their Aloha+ Challenge 2020 Benchmark Report to showcase the commitment Hawaii has to achieving sustainability by providing data and models that will propel towards a green economic recovery. A copy of the report can be found inside of this link: This benchmark report also served as the first statewide Voluntary Local Review – which is the tool used to illustrate local action toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals – amongst the Local2030 Hubs in the United States. Inside of this report showed Hawaii’s framework to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and displayed progress on these goals through six-years of data from the Aloha+ Dashboard. The Aloha+ Dashboard is truly unique, as it is transparent and uses an open-data platform so people can monitor it and community members can hold leaders accountable for meeting its goals. The Hawaii Green Growth also listed six priority areas – clean energy, local food, natural resource management, solid waste, smart sustainable communities, and green education and workforce – that they want to focus on in order to methodically achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The full report also features local solutions, legislation, and actions that Hawaii can use to contribute to a full green recovery.

At the UN General Assembly High-Level Event: American Leadership in Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, featured panelists – Hawaii Governor David Ige, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, and UN Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens – discussed Hawaii’s climate leadership and officially launched Hawaii’s Voluntary Local Review. The UN Foundation President and CEO, Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, stated that “the Voluntary Local Review comes at an especially important time during COVID-19, and should be regarded as a model by other cities and local governments worldwide as a way to help recover and keep sight of long-term sustainability goals.”

The Hawaii Green Growth Local2030 Hub had other highlights this year. One notable accomplishment was releasing the Hawaii Green Growth Network COVID-19 Recovery Survey that helped to inform potential partners for the Aloha Connects Innovation program. The Aloha Connects Innovation program and the Kupu `Aina Corps were able to direct federal CARES Act funding towards the Aloha+ Challenge goals, which hired nearly 1,000 participants combined with over 300 local organizations and companies within 3 months.

How was the Aloha+ 2020 Benchmark Report used? This report was used by members of the Hawaii Green Growth Network to identify ways to accelerate impact and advance a green growth economic recovery from COVID-19 over the next two years, five years, and ten years. The upcoming decade is a small but important window when trying to reverse the effects of climate change and other inequalities in the world. So, although the Hawaii Green Growth Local2030 Hub had many accomplishments this year and was able to identify their goals, it is critical to look ahead and analyze how these goals will be implemented. The Hawaii Green Growth Network marked their 2021-2023 strategic priorities to guide statewide collaboration during the Sustainable Development Goals’ ‘Decade of Action.’ These priorities are to:

  • Advance a green growth economic recovery for Hawaii from COVID-19, grounded in sustainability, resilience and equity through the ALOHA+ Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Measure annual progress to accelerate statewide action through Aloha+ Dashboard, including data-driven decision making, policy and planning and increased community engagement.

  • Catalyze measurable action across public and private sectors to increase long-term resilience and implement Hawaii’s sustainability goals.

  • Establish next-generation education pathways for local and global sustainability leadership grounded in systems-thinking and traditional knowledge.

  • Build Hawaii’s profile as a global sustainability model and collaborate to scale island solutions nationally and internationally.

As Hawaii works together with other communities and partners from around the world, the Hawaii Green Growth Local2030 Hub’s common goal of combating poverty, climate change, and inequalities in the world helps to guide Hawaii in planning the course towards a brighter and more sustainable future.


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