Abu Dhabi, 12 February 2020 – A Special Session at The Tenth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) gave the participants a chance to have a sneak preview of the global Urban Agenda Platform, an online hub to share progress, policies and practices for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

This is an important development as the platform provides a key tool to accelerate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in 2016.

The session provided an opportunity for representatives of national governments and their partners to look at how monitoring and reporting can best be supported and later shared through the Platform.

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat outlined the role of the platform to provide the necessary global system and backbone for an inclusive, evidence-based preparation of future reports for the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Quadrennial Report) through enabling regular updating and easy access to information.

She said: “This is intended to provide, through joint efforts, a robust, comprehensive and collaborative structure for this reporting....The Platform is expected to be the “virtual echo” of the face-to-face interactions we are having at this World Urban Forum this week.”

The platform leads several key processes such; Reporting Guidelines to help the Member States and partners prepare voluntary reports; NUA indicators framework to complement the SDGs monitoring framework; a  best practices database that will host different streams of practices worth sharing; NUA Illustrated with a suite of the online learning support package, to build the capacities of stakeholders; and, featuring knowledge management platforms for sustainable urban development programmes with key partners for city-to-city learning.

Mr. Raf Tuts, Director, Global Solutions Division at UN-Habitat summed up the first half of the session calling for closer collaboration and coordination amongst different stakeholders including local, regional, national and global leveraging on innovation and culture in the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization.

The Ministry of Urban Development in Senegal committed to continue its work with the Habitat Committee to monitor all the projects in place to make sure implementation of the New Urban Agenda is achieved. “Reporting of our work can be done on the Urban Agenda Platform...The Ministry of Urban Development in Senegal is also putting in place databases for transforming the region of Dakar which will be aligned with the framework of the Urban Agenda Platform.”

Ms. Sanna-Mari Jäntti, Director, Strategic Initiatives, City of Helsinki, Finland reiterated the citys’ keen interest on the reporting of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The reporting process will enable countrywide approaches and foster dialogue between national & local governments for preparation of Voluntary Local Reviews.

“The Global Task Force for the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) will promote the use of the Local Hubs for interaction and capacity building on the Urban Agenda Platform...We need to ensure reporting has an impact in shaping governments, policies and the way we deal with global issues” said Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, UCLG, Global Task Force.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) have advanced on their implementation work alongside UNEP. The organization is working on the third transformative commitment for environmentally sound & resilient urban development.

Ms. Sanna-Mari Jäntti – Director, Strategic Initiatives, City of Helsinki, Finland
Ms. Sanna-Mari Jäntti, Director, Strategic Initiatives, City of Helsinki, Finland

Partner implementation mechanism and roll-out of platform

The second part of the session took a deep dive on the top priorities needed for the successful rollout and use of the platform. All speakers called for active participation, engagement and partnerships with UN-Habitat and across different levels and sectors, to roll out the operational work in an incremental manner.

Creation of stronger links of engagement with implementation including the Regional Economic Commission in needed to deepen implementation efforts with agencies across the UN system and local action. This will also strengthen collaboration with other partners, such as academia and civil society.

International organizations such as the United Nations system, will use the platform as a source of data analysis for the Country teams and support their work with practitioners.

Civil societies such as Habitat for Humanity have a platform that provides digital space and face to face collaboration, chat room, social media, case studies. The organization has committed to link these spaces with the Urban Agenda Platform.

To end the session, Mr. Nicholas You an Urban Specialist at Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation called on the need for the platform to be interactive. He said, “Data in itself is useless. Transformation is about what decisions were made using that data.”

Ms. Emilia Saiz – Secretary General – UCLG, Global Task Force
Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General UCLG, Global Task Force