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Prior to COVID-19, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were gaining traction among local governments and city leaders as a framework to focus local policy on ambitious targets around inclusion, equity, and sustainability. Several cities published reports of their local progress on the SDGs in Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR), echoing the official format used by countries to report their nation’s progress at the U.N.

Then came the current crisis. The focus immediately shifted to managing the health crisis and the closing of the economy. In the next few years, the priority for local decisionmakers will be recovery. It is too early to know whether the time-bound targets of the SDGs will be reset, but their principles remain useful to organizing a recovery that combines growth, inclusion, and sustainability.