The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, will host the Ninth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) in 2018. UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, as the convener of WUF, announced the decision on Monday 3 November as the culmination of a six months bidding process.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr. Joan Clos, has informed Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government of Malaysia, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, of the decision during the Fifth Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) that is currently being held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 3 to 5 November 2014.

After the bilateral meeting held with the Minister, Dr. Clos remarked that, in addition to its excellent bid, Kuala Lumpur was “bringing the WUF back to Asia. The continent has hosted the Forum once in 2008 in Nanjing, China, but it is where more than half of the world’s urban population lives,” he said. “This region has accounted for about 65 per cent of the demographic expansion of all urban areas across the world since the beginning of the 21st century.” Clos extended his congratulations to the city of Kuala Lumpur and the Government of Malaysia for its commitment towards sustainable urban development by hosting the Forum. “At the World Urban Forum, thousands of stakeholders meet every two years to share practices and knowledge on how cities are built, planned and managed”.

WUF9 will be the first Forum to be held after the Post 2015 Development Agenda Process and the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - Habitat III in 2016. The Habitat conference is a global legislative conference organized every 20 years to review and define the urban agenda and pave the way for UN-Habitat’s vision towards a new urban future.

The selection process for WUF9 started in May 2014 with a call for expression of interest. Those cities interested received a bid questionnaire that was mandatory to submit before 15 September. The decision on the host city was taken on Friday 31 October 2014, the same day on which World Cities Day was celebrated for the first time.


The World Urban Forum (WUF) has been established through the General Assembly resolution 56/206 in 2001 as a non-legislative technical forum, is convened by UN-Habitat and hosted in a different city every two years. WUF has been recognized as the foremost global arena of major international events to examine the most pressing issues facing the world today in the area of human settlements, including rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies. It is the World’s Premier Conference on Cities.

The objectives and mode of work of the Forum were adopted during the First session of the Forum which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 29 April to 3 May 2002. The Second session took place in Barcelona, Spain, 13-17 September 2004; the Third in Vancouver, Canada, 19-23 June 2006; the Fourth session in Nanjing, China, 3-6 November 2008, the Fifth session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 22-26 March 2010, the Sixth session in Naples, Italy, 1-7 September 2012 and the Seventh session in Medellín, Colombia, from 5-11 April 2014.

The participation in the Forum has seen an increase over the last years and steadied at around 22,000 attendees from all over the world in WUF7.

The Forum gathers a wide range of experts from every walk of life. Participants at the Forum include, but are not limited to; national, regional and local governments, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, professionals, research institutions and academies, professionals, private sector, development finance institutions, foundations, media and United Nations organizations and other international agencies.

The main goals of the World Urban Forum are:

  • Advocate for and raise awareness on sustainable urban development
  • Advance the collective knowledge on sustainable urbanization through inclusive open debates, and exchange of experiences and best practices
  • Further coordination and cooperation within and between different constituencies towards the advancement and implementation of the Habitat Agenda