The World Council on City Data (WCCD) – SDG Awards 2017

In this SDG Awards 2017 entry:

Voting Category: Small-to-Medium Organization

SDG Action

The World Council on City Data (WCCD) is committed to helping achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The WCCD is leading the call for action on “Localizing the SDGs.” The SDGs will not be achieved without local action in cities and communities – both here in Canada where close to 85 percent of our population lives in urban areas – and across the world. For this local action to be effective, city leaders (and the citizens they represent) need high-calibre city level data to monitor and track progress, drive decision-making, accountability, investment, and partnerships – all essential to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.

High-calibre city data is the critical contribution to achieving the SDGs by the Toronto-based WCCD. The WCCD is globally recognized as the leading independent organization for globally standardized city data and was invited by the UN Secretary-General’s Executive Office to create the data component of the launch of the UN’s new Local 2030 Initiative at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2017.

The WCCD hosts a network of innovative cities committed to improving services and quality of life with open city data and provides a consistent and comprehensive platform for standardized urban metrics.

The WCCD is leading the global implementation of ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life and was instrumental in developing this first international standard for city data at the ISO, created for cities, by cities. The 100 ISO 37120 indicators have been mapped across all 17 themes of the SDGs, providing a comprehensive platform for measuring city-level progress and contributions to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

WCCD ISO 37120 city level data is globally standardized for comparative learning and is the third party verified by independent auditors. This high-calibre data allows cities to manage progress in not only operationalizing key SDG targets, but also to monitor and evaluate progress across a broad range of themes, for example: investment in infrastructure, investment in poverty alleviation, safe and inclusive cities, evaluation and improvement of water consumption or air quality, and provision of access to safe and sustainable transport systems – all central to success in 2030.

The WCCD is now scaling up city-level progress towards the SDGs globally through the following key actions:

  • REPORTING CITY PROGRESS TOWARDS THE SDGS. The WCCD City Data for the Sustainable Development Goals Report presents a detailed and comprehensive mapping of how WCCD ISO 37120 data supports and aligns with all 17 SDGs, while also showcasing the substantial contributions that the WCCD city network is already making to the Goals. The report will be published on an annual basis.
  • PROMOTING CITY LEADERSHIP. In partnership with eight WCCD Cities – including Cambridge, Ontario – the WCCD has established a global network of WCCD Local Data Hubs. These Local Data Hubs will harness the power of WCCD ISO 37120 city data to address the SDGs by demonstrating city leadership and results, driving action, and enabling city-to-city learning.
  • PROVIDING HIGH-CALIBRE OPEN DATA TO DRIVE ACTION AND LEARNING. All WCCD city data is openly available through the WCCD City Data Portal, representing a truly unique resource for supporting local action for the SDGs.
  • PARTNERING FOR RESULTS. The WCCD is building action-focused partnerships with UN agencies, national and provincial governments, the private sector, city associations, foundations and other key stakeholders to help cities drive real progress towards the SDGs.

SDG Impact

The SDGs will not be achieved without local action in cities and communities.

The WCCD is working with a rapidly-growing network of cities in Canada and across the world to build ISO-standardized, comparable data that is essential to drive impactful local action.

Through the WCCD’s experience in working with cities globally for more than 10 years, the benefits of high-calibre data have been clearly established, enabling cities to:

  • Build more effective and results-driven plans for sustainability and resilience;
  • Monitor the efficiency of city service delivery and effectiveness of city policies and programs for citizens;
  • Set data driven targets and data informed priorities for infrastructure investment;
  • Monitor and evaluate the impacts of infrastructure investments on the overall performance of a city;
  • Undertake local and international benchmarking; and draw on comparative lessons and share experiences with other cities; and
  • Leverage funding and demonstrate responsible management practices to attract investment and improve creditworthiness.

This data is not only valuable for city governments. Provincial and national governments are also recognising the critical importance of high calibre city data to inform investment in infrastructure and improvements in service delivery – particularly in highly-urbanized countries like Canada where more than 80 percent of the population lives in urban areas. The private sector also needs this data to be able to scale up their investments in cities and communities, an important consideration for the membership of the Global Compact Network Canada.

The WCCD is now working with all these key stakeholders, enabling WCCD ISO 37120 data to play a fundamental role in driving action and real progress towards the SDGs at the local level.

Through the WCCD City Data for the Sustainable Development Goals Report, the WCCD is presenting the year-on-year progress of the WCCD network of cities – representing millions of people around the world – to supporting and achieving each of the SDGs.

Future Plans

The WCCD will continue to drive major progress towards the SDGs in Canada and around the world in the coming five years through:

  • Annual publication of the WCCD City Data for the SDGs Report.
  • Rapid growth of the world’s only global network of cities reporting ISO-standardized and independently-verified city data.
  • Expansion of the network of WCCD Local Data Hubs that will harness the power of WCCD ISO 37120 city data to address the SDGs by demonstrating city leadership and results, driving action, and enabling city-to-city learning.
  • Action-focused partnerships with both government and private sector partners and key stakeholders to help cities drive real progress towards the SDGs.

SDG Partnerships

In addition to our partnerships with over 50 cities and municipalities around the world in over 30 countries (with another 50 cities in the data certification pipeline), the WCCD works with a wide range of leading organizations committed to the importance of high-calibre city data to building more sustainable, resilient, smart, prosperous and inclusive cities.

Our key partners both existing and in current development are listed below.

Foundation Partners

  • Province of Ontario
  • University of Toronto
  • Siemens
  • Philips Lighting

UN Agencies

  • UN Environment
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)
  • UN Statistics Division (UNSD)

City Associations

  • ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability
  • CityNet
  • South African Cities Network
  • World Association of Islamic Cities


  • Tata Trusts

National Governments & Government Agencies

  • Government of Canada
  • Government of Mexico
  • Executive Council of Dubai
  • Government of China (Ministry of Housing Urban-Rural Development) – National Smart City Joint Lab
  • Statistics Netherlands
  • Statistics Canada

The first 8 WCCD LOCAL DATA HUBS launched at the UN – July 2017

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Makati, Philippines
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Minna, Nigeria
  • Haiphong, Vietnam
  • Cambridge, Canada
  • Los Angeles, California

Supplementary Media & Documents