17 goals for sustainable development
The UN Agenda 2030 with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a global plan to promote sustainable peace and prosperity and to protect our planet. 2015 was a crucial year for this vital and forward-looking development cooperation. It was the year when the representatives of 193 UN states agreed on an agenda for sustainable development. On 25 September 2015, the heads of state and government of the participating countries adopted the Sustainable Development Goals.
Leoben has long been committed to various topics that are outlined in the SDGs. In 2019, the Municipal Council agreed on the City’s commitment to Agenda 2030 and decided to support the achievement of the development goals. The SDGs offer solutions for challenges such as climate, housing and mobility, but they also point to interrelationships, interactions and conflicting goals between areas of action.
This valuable knowledge is effectively used as an opportunity for sustainable changes in order to continuously improve the quality of life in Leoben. A primary concern is sustainability in order to protect resources and safeguard them for future generations.
The following projects and initiatives are good examples of Leoben’s approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals for the benefit of its citizens.
People from Leoben with a low household income can use the Leoben SozialCard to participate in the public life of the city at reduced prices. They can join social, cultural and sporting activities at reduced rates. When it comes to building up and securing the economic basis of life or bridging exceptional emergencies, assistance can be claimed through social welfare agencies. There is no legal entitlement to these benefits.
The Sozialmarkt Leoben supermarket is an initiative of WBI Leoben, the Leoben Employment Office and the Municipality of Leoben with the support of many partners and sponsors. The shop offers food at reduced prices for low-income households. The farmers’ market in the city centre offers the opportunity to buy regional products; the people of Leoben can purchase fresh and healthy food while local farmers are supported at the same time.
Besides comprehensive healthcare for all medical issues, the people of Leoben can also make use of nursing establishments and mobile healthcare services and assistance in everyday activities. The community nursing initiative aims to boost the health competence of people aged 65+. For many years now, the city has consistently taken measures to facilitate the change from a mere supply environment to a place that actively promotes and influences health and well-being.
Diverse and inclusive educational programmes accompany the people of Leoben throughout their lifetime. These range from elementary education to various types of schools for all age groups, including an international school, all the way through to university level and adult education. In its capacity of school operator in the compulsory school sector, the city is gradually modernising its school centres. Due to growing demand, all-day forms of schooling now play an increasingly important role. Familientreff Leoben is a meeting place for parents-to-be and families with small children. The child-friendly centre, designed with a love for detail, is located in the centre of town.
Gender equality is promoted by initiatives for women ranging from counselling to training. The city of Leoben’s Women’s Service offers a point of contact for women where they can voice their concerns, find opportunities for networking and engage in a range of activities and talks. The Women’s Service organises networking opportunities and meet-ups with institutions from Leoben that deal with women-specific issues. The Men’s Counselling Service supports men who encounter problems with regard to relationships, separation, child custody, work, or similar problems.
130 litres of water are consumed per person per day in Leoben. While worldwide just 0.03% of the total water supply is suitable as drinking water, the people in our city can enjoy delicious tap water without any chemical additives around the clock. Modern, publicly accessible sanitary facilities are essential in the city centre. Sustainability in the use of resources is a priority for the city.
With their innovative district heating project, the public utility company of the city of Leoben and voestalpine play a pioneering role in the ecological and economic use of waste heat. All of the city districts have been developed in several construction phases since 2009 to ensure access to reliable and sustainable energy. Heat is available all year round at temperatures from 80 – 113° Celsius and can be used for both room and water heating.
When it comes to measures taken to boost the economic growth of the city, Leoben attaches great importance to decent jobs. Investments in the establishment of new businesses and/or the expansion of existing businesses create and secure jobs. The aim is to promote the appeal of the city of Leoben as a place of business, to boost the competitiveness of companies and to keep companies in the city and the region. The “LE Kompass” is the relocation management service centre and information hub of Leoben Municipality.
Leoben is located in one of the most innovative, best-developed economic regions of Austria, home to a number of globally active companies of various sizes working in different industries. The University of Leoben and the connected Centres of Competence are pioneers in research and development, with benefits for many regional companies. The development of Leoben in terms of infrastructure is encouraged through a series of measures including broadband expansion.
Everybody – regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, origin, social or economic status – is entitled to equal opportunities. Leoben has set out to tackle economic inequality with a variety of approaches. These include the non-profit association Lebenshilfe, which offers a wide range of services for people with disabilities, successful inclusive school concepts, and initiatives such as reduced-price travel passes for recipients of compensation allowance or taxi vouchers for people with impairments.
Inclusive urban planning means providing access to suitable accommodation, safe transport systems, green spaces and recreational areas. In Leoben, this is reflected in the purposeful and sustainable planning of residential areas to include open space suitably sized for leisure time activities and the development of the cycle path network. An important role is played by the “Naherholungsraum Mur” project, which opens up access to the recreational area along the river Mur.
The Municipality aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. With initiatives such as the Repair Café – where voluntary repair experts offer their services – the city helps to improve sustainability and the appreciation of items under the slogan “repair to reduce waste”. At the Re-Use Shop in the Recycling Centre, old items can be dropped off and used goods such as books, toys and kitchen appliances are available to purchase.
As a member community of the Climate and Energy Model Regions, Leoben develops concepts for the adjustment to climate change. The measures taken in this respect include the innovative use of waste heat, the use of e-buses for inner-city transport, the construction of charging stations and the e-scooter project in cooperation with the Austrian Railways ÖBB. In addition to increased initiatives to raise awareness and the establishment of an energy database, future municipal projects will focus on topics such as “renewable energy”, “reduction of energy consumption” and “sustainable construction”.
The River Mur is a precious lifeline for Leoben and a recreational and leisure space open for a variety of uses. We place great value on protecting this area in its entirety. Examples of sustainable use of the riverside include the Bermenweg cycle path, the Mur cycle path and a range of leisure activities. As a member of the model region “KLAR! Murraum Leoben”, the city has been dealing with the challenges of climate change in this particular area together with the surrounding municipalities for some time now.
Measures to protect the unspoilt eco system include the conservation of trees and nature conservation zones as well as green roofs and facades. Special attention is paid to the design of playgrounds on residential estates in the various districts of Leoben. Seven parks cover an area of some 6.4 hectares in total – an indication of the importance the city attaches to protecting nature within the developed urban fabric. The city also enjoys 20 hectares of public woodland in the surrounding area.
Within our means, we ensure that decision-making at the municipal level is needs-based, inclusive, participatory and representative in all areas. Various measures are targeted at promoting a peaceful and inclusive society. We aim to ensure access to public announcements and information through transparent communication – as reflected in the website and the Stadt-Magazin city journal.
The 17th development goal is the basic requirement to reach all other SDGs. As a city, we reinforce the change to a more sustainable development in all communal areas through cooperative work, exchange between experts and by creating effective focal areas in PR work. After all, sustainable development can only be filled with life when all stakeholders join in the effort. We engage in numerous national and European projects where valuable experience and information on developments is exchanged. The new insights that we draw from these projects are regularly integrated into the daily work of the Municipality and stimulate sustainable action.