New Delhi, 16 December 2016 – Ministers of Housing and Urban Development in Asia Pacific have endorsed the New Delhi declaration and implementation plan which outline the way forward for countries in the region to implement the New Urban Agenda, which was signed in Quito at the Habitat III conference in October this year.
The Government of India hosted the 6th APMCHUD in New Delhi from 14 to 16 December 2016. Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting, Honorable M. Venkaiah Naidu welcomed delegations from 31 Asia Pacific countries in this biennial gathering of Ministers of Housing and Urban Development of the Asia Pacific region. Hon’ble Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu emphasized the challenge of Ministries of Housing and Urban Development in the context of un-organised and un-planned urbanization in the periphery of cities in the region. He said that , “To the three ‘Es’ of sustainable development viz., equity, economy and environment, we need to add the fourth dimension of ‘governance’ to meet the goals of Habitat-III agenda and Sustainable Development Goals”.
He was also encouraged by the turnout of more than 1100 Indian participants, from various levels of government as well as academia and NGOs from across the country.
The 6th APMCHUD is the first meeting of regional ministers two months after the approval of the New Urban Agenda at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III. The focus of member states is now on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda which provides a new framework of commitments to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities, as endorsed by the United Nations in 2015, already provided 17 novel and integrated goals on sustainable urbanization. The New Urban Agenda now provides a more comprehensive framework of global commitments to achieve this.
The New Urban Agenda comes at a critical time as globally – and soon also in Asia Pacific – more than half of all people are living in cities. Inclusive economic development and national prosperity much depends on continued urbanization. Housing and urban challenges require new integrated policies, nationally and locally. Planning and managing urban corridors and managing urbanization beyond municipal boundaries require new policies and governance frameworks.
In an introductory message, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, said: “With the largest population of any region in the world, Asia Pacific is also the most important region for urbanization. This meeting is an opportunity to discuss the key messages of the New Urban Agenda. We need a more proactive policy for urbanization and that urbanization must be seen as a tool to leverage development.”
At the conclusion of the conference, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu expressed happiness that the Asia Pacific countries under the aegis of APMCHUD are intensely collaborating in the field of housing and urban development and further agreed to continue the cooperative efforts to harness the challenges and opportunities of urbanization. He indicated that ‘APMCHUD is poised to play a greater role in the coming years in the context of New Urban Agenda, committed by nations and the sustainable development goals envisioning target oriented developmental efforts during next two decades towards promoting human settlements as, inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. He also called on Ministries of Housing and Urban Development to implement the New Urban Agenda comprehensively, with strong local-national collaboration, with an increased emphasis on regulation and urban legislation and stronger mechanisms providing housing and municipal finance.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Planning, (independent charge) expressed happiness the collective visioning evolved the Asia Pacific Countries during the conference focusing on the emerging urban forms and policy responses and governance structures in the context of New Urban Agenda. He emphasized that collaboration and collaboration holds the key for successful formation of strategies for the region.