How municipal asset management practices contribute to achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals

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University of New Brunswick


Municipal asset management and infrastructure sustainability are closely aligned. The importance of sustainably managing infrastructure to deliver services has been shown through the creation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Two barriers to delivering sustainable services through municipal infrastructure include, i) inconsistencies in services delivered by local governments across the country, wherein services may be delivered at the municipal, provincial, or federal levels, with no common practice across a single region, and ii) absent measures to quantify levels of service, resulting in infrastructure owners over- or under-delivering services, in turn impacting the costs and risks associated with delivering services to the community. This research focused on a review of current legislation and services delivered at the local government level and performed an analysis to demonstrate alignment between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the level of service performance measures used in municipal asset management. The relationship between the two were demonstrated through a case study, where three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were mapped to the level of service objectives being used by a large sized Canadian population centre. The findings of the case study showed that using the 191 United Nations Indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals could become a standard method to measure the 509 level of service performance measures at the municipal level. This, in turn, would allow jurisdictions to compare service levels to peers, creating an opportunity for knowledge transfer and improvements by benchmarking their asset management program to other local governments.