09 March 2016, Hanoi – At the recent 7th High Level Seminar on Environmentally Sustainable Cities in Vietnam, UN-Habitat promoted the issues of sustainable urbanisation, city planning, resilient city development and youth advocacy, in the context of the mobilisation of cities and stakeholders towards Habitat III, the UN conference on sustainable urban development taking place in October this year.  150 participants from 13 countries came together in Hanoi, Vietnam, for the two-day event.

The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, Sendai Framework and COP21 all acknowledge cities as key area of action.  In the opening panel discussion, Mr. Bruno Dercon, Senior Human Settlements Officer, UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), emphasized the linkages between SDG11 – the city focused goal – and the need for better planning, highlighting UN-Habitat’s International Guidelines for Urban and Territorial Planning.

The guidelines were issued in 2015 and are available not only in English, but also in Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese.  He underscored the fact that the 3rd Preparatory Committee for Habitat III (PrepCom3) will convene in Surabaya, Indonesia, from 25 to 27 July 2016 bringing the focus on urbanisation to the region.

Highlighting urban activities in the region

Other speakers from UN-Habitat also advocated for the potential of the region’s youthful and urbanizing population to be equal partners in sustainable urbanization, taking the example of the Asia Pacific Urban Youth Assembly and Block by Block.  Speakers shared best practices in city development strategies especially in Viet Nam, and contributed insights on urban climate and disaster resilience based on the Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI).

The outcomes of the seminar reaffirmed the need for city-to-city cooperation, innovation, localization, and partnership towards the 2030 Agenda. It was organised by the Governments of Viet Nam, Japan, Cambodia and the United States, together with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Working Group on Environmentally Sustainable Cities and the ASEAN Secretariat.

Recommendations from the meeting will be reported to the eighteen Environmental Ministers of the East Asia Summit (EAS), which convenes the 10 ASEAN member states plus Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand as well as the United States and Russia. UN-Habitat is increasing its engagement with many ASEAN member states and through the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism to promote the agenda of sustainable urbanization in the region.

Environmentally sustainable cities, SDG implementation, New Urban Agenda under spotlight in Hanoi 1