Krakow 2 April 2019- On 1st April 2019, Poland ministers sign a declaration “Together towards the implementation of the National Urban Policy and New Urban Agenda.” This monumental commitment was witnessed at the first National Urban forum in Poland hosted in the city of Krakow from 1-2 April 2019. Poland is determined to host a NUF every year in a different city.

Honourable Jerzy Kwieciński, Minister of Investment and Economic Development expressed that “ National Urban Forums are to be new platforms of cooperation between national authorities and local government, especially in cities.” The formulation of a national urban policy in 2015 was a key step towards ensuring positive urban growth in the next 20 years.

UN-Habitat Executive Director Mrs. Maimunah Mohd Sharif represented UN-Habitat at this forum and received positively the suggestion to open a UN-Habitat office in Warsaw as well as the Poland Re-engagement with UN-Habitat through regular contributions, projects and programmes. “The signing of the declaration by different polish ministers is evidence of the understanding of interlinking elements of the SDGs.” She further recommended that ministries cannot afford to work in silos and platforms such as NUF allow for cross-cutting issues to be addressed. An integrated and holistic approach towards sustainable urbanization is crucial.

The National Urban Forum also welcomed learning opportunities by including a session on “Implementation and lessons from a global perspective.” This featured speakers from UN-Habitat, World Bank, UN-Environment, Mozambique as well as the European Union. Much to the pleasure of Mrs Maimunah Mohd Shariff who often uses the catch phrase “Think Global, Act Local”.

National urban forums (NUF) are often used as one of the means to develop, implement and review National Urban Policies. NUF have already been established in several countries with results that create an enabling environment for dialogue and consensus between different stakeholders at a national level.

The UN-Habitat Assembly to be hosted in Nairobi, May 27th -31st 2019 is yet another platform where participants were encouraged to apply themselves in a bid to share their best practices and learn from other using innovative methods to further global goals in the cities and communities.

The Assembly will also host a first of its kind “Urban Solutions Expo” that will engage stakeholders from different sectors by providing a platform to present innovative projects, progress and achievements in cities and communities through non-traditional methods.