UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director roots for New Urban Agenda

By on 06/16/2017

Brussels, 16 June 2017– With a strong call on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat marked its presence at the European Development Days, the major forum on development policies and cooperation in Europe.

Urbanization, if planned and managed properly, is a powerful tool for economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. A well-managed urbanization addresses these topics and provides sustainable solutions. How to achieve that and which tools can be used was the focus of a policy lab which brought together representatives working on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the global South and North.

“The New Urban Agenda is all about planning, managing our cities in order to achieve sustainable development worldwide” stressed Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat in her opening remarks to the panel discussion. As focal point for sustainable urbanization and human settlements, UN-Habitat has developed the Action Framework for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda. “This framework aims to set out the essential ingredients for the implementation of the NUA and is a good tool for local, regional and national governments and stakeholders worldwide who are working towards sustainable urbanisation.”

Jean Pierre Elong-Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, sent out a strong call for immediate action: “The future of this planet is in the hands of city dwellers. We came from the Habitat III conference in Quito with the New Urban Agenda, and we as local governments say that now it is time for action”.

“How to push for the formulation of a National Urban Policy” was the topic of a presentation by by Elin Fabre from Global Utmaning, a think tank associated with the Nordic Declaration, the regional approach of Nordic Countries towards the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. “In a multi-stakeholder exercise, we draft concrete ideas for a National Urban Policy with our vast network of stakeholder groups in Sweden. At the ‘National Urban Forum’ on 20 June, we will put these plans in concrete terms and present it to the Swedish Government”, outlined Fabre.

In a High-Level Panel on Climate Change, which discussed the important role that cities play in the fight against climate change, Dr. Kacyira drew the connection between the SDG’s, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda: “The latter is the ‘how’ that offers national, regional and local actors a strategic tool to achieve the targets on sustainable development and climate change.” She also highlighted the importance of the Global Covenant of Mayors as a powerful tool for climate action in cities. 7,451 cities, representing 674,790,274 people worldwide and 9.32% of the total global population, have already committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, hopefully even more will join and strengthen their cooperation under this umbrella.

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