Nairobi 08 September 2016-- Over 40 experts representing aviation and city constituencies agreed to explore ways of strengthening collaboration and cooperation between airports and urban areas. The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) was recently co-convened by UN-Habitat and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Participants included airports and metropolitan representatives from Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Johannesburg. International organizations represented included; Addis Ababa City Council, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Air Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS), AIRBUS, Côte d'Ivoire, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), Airports Council International (ACI) Africa, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Ethiopia Airports Enterprise (EAE), Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Kenya Airways (KQ), Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP), Lanseria International Airport, Ministry of Land Housing and Urban Development-Kenya, Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Ethiopia (MUDH), Town and County Planners Association of Kenya (TCPAK) and University of Nairobi (UoN).

In his opening remarks, Mr. Augustine Masinde, the Director of Physical Planning at the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning-Kenya underscored the urgent need to integrate the development of airport facilities in urban planning to realize integrated development. He called for bridging the inter-institutional changes to coordinate and alleviate conflict between airports and urban areas to enhance the inter-institutional cooperation.

“The conversation about the synergy between urban planning, city development and airport development could not have come at a better time. We are all aware of the various challenges we face in the development of airports while at the same time trying to keep pace with managing the urban development scenarios within our various regions”, he said observing that there was an inherent gap in technical expertise that airports managers and urban planners need to fill.

Mr Augustine Masinde Mr. Barry Kashambo, the Regional Director of ICAO in the Eastern and Southern African region (ESAF) applauded the collaboration between ICAO and UN-Habitat, singling it as an innovative project that will unleash synergies between airports and urban development. He commented that “there is a need for UN-Habitat and ICAO as the specialized agents in the two domains of aviation and urban development to develop infrastructure which will support the correlation between air transport and urban growth.” Mr Barry Kashambo.

Mr. Raf Tuts, speaking on behalf of UN-Habitat underscored the importance enhancing the collaboration between aviation and city stakeholders to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 9 and 11. He stated that “it is very clear that the Sustainable Development Goal 9 and 11 were the interest of ICAO and UN-Habitat in joining. Each of these targets are very closely related to the interaction between airports and cities because they influence the amount for housing, the amount for transport, they have an impact on the environment and on resilience and they define not only the city but also the regional settlements.”

Participants shared experiences on airport planning, development and management in relation to urban development. Mr S’busiso Dlamini , of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, one of the four urban authorities piloted in the project, showcased how the Municipality has conceptualized a master plan to redevelop the city on an aerotropolis concept around OR Tambo International Airport, in a bid to raise the city profile globally as a world class gateway to global markets. During the EGM, participants enriched, improved and validated the report entitled Promoting Synergy between Airports and Cities to Achieve Sustainable Development.

This report was developed after the joint ICAO/UN-Habitat missions in Addis Ababa, Johannesburg and Nairobi in June and July 2016. Extensive consultations were also undertaken to ensure that the report reflects the views of the experts and the up-to-date data available. At the end of the three days EGM, participants adopted a roadmap for taking the project forward.

Some highlights on the roadmap include developing policies and guidelines on integrated city and airport planning; developing joint capacity development programmes for airport and city planners; developing integrated multi-modal transit oriented models between airports and cities; bridging institutional and governance frameworks for airport and city authorities to enhance collaboration; joint capacity building for airport and city planners and developing pilot projects on synergy between airports and cities in other sub regions around the world.

The pilot project on synergies between airports and cities was jointly initiated by Dr Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat and Dr Fang Liu, Secretary General of ICAO. The project will be featured in Montreal at IWAF2016 on 26th November 2016 and the 39th ICAO Assembly on 27th September – 7th October 2016; as well as at Habitat III in Quito from 17th- 20th October 2016. The two principals will sign the MOU during the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October 2016 to scale up the project and concretize the cooperation in partnership with various aviation and urban stakeholders.

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