Kuala Lumpur 22 February 2018-- On the sidelines of the World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur some 28 participants representing national and local authorities, several UN agencies, development partners, civil society organizations and academia actively contributed in the kick-off “working session” of the participatory drafting process for the Guiding Principles for Urban-Rural Linkages.

The Guiding Principles for Urban-Rural Linkages will consist of a set of globally applicable principles and many thematic entry points and pathways for implementation.

During the first working session, the process for developing the Guiding Principles for  Urban-Rural Linkages was introduced, a zero-draft version was discussed regarding their structure, key issues and priorities going forward. Participants added stakeholders and proposed case studies and references to existing frameworks as well as comments on the text that will be included in the next draft of the Guiding Principles in advance of a second consultation/working session. Participants suggested that the final consultation/working and validation session could be held in advance of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), scheduled to take place in New York in July 2018. Participants agreed to finalize the process by July 2018 and inform the international community and Member States on the document and seek additional support for implementation.

In addition to the Principles and thematic pathways for implementation, the initiative is expected to propose a roadmap to develop tools, action plans and other activities to support countries in acting to strengthen urban-rural linkages.

Several UN-Habitat Governing Council resolutions, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the NUA underline the need for strong urban-rural linkages and an integrated territorial development to achieve global goals, reduce poverty and inequality. UN-Habitat, in close collaboration with many partners, promotes an integrated approach to urban-rural linkages that evolves around 10 entry points. The entry points are outlined in the UN-Habitat publication “Implementing the New Urban Agenda by strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages” (2017) (link to the publication: https://unhabitat.org/books/implementing-the-new-urban-agenda-by-strengthening-urban-rural-linkages/). Developing Guiding Principles for Urban-Rural Linkages was already named as action point in the Monteria Communique, the outcome document of the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on “The Role of Intermediate Cities in Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages towards the New Urban Agenda” (October 2015) as part of the Habitat III preparatory process.