The United Arab Emirates has successfully delivered its central objectives for the first UN-HABITAT assembly in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The UN-Habitat Assembly took place 27th to 30th May and convened all UN Member States, as the world’s highest-level decision-making body on sustainable urbanisation. Under the theme, ‘Innovation for a Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities – Accelerated Implementation of the New Urban Agenda towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals’, the event saw urban practitioners and experts, national, regional and local governments, academia, civil society and the private sector come together with a shared focus on innovative urbanisation and solutions for a better quality of life in global communities.
A delegation headed by Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director Strategic Affairs of the Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, outlined12 priorities identified for sustainable urbanisation in the MENA region to UN Member States.
These priorities were crowdsourced from the recent Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium, PAUDS, held in Abu Dhabi. Classified in three categories corresponding to each of the four pillars – Economy, Environment, Society and Culture – these will form the basis for the UAE programme at the tenth World Urban Forum, WUF10, which will take place in the nation’s capital in February 2020.
Commenting on the announcement, Al Khadar said, “The UN-Habitat Assembly provided a unique opportunity for Abu Dhabi to advance the UAE’s agenda for the upcoming World Urban Forum.”
“Through our work at this event,” he added, “we aimed to underpin WUF10’s goal to be an open platform for partnerships and new initiatives in representation of our best minds.”
Al Khadar went on to note that to advance to more sustainable urban models, there is a need to identify new ways of “working together, breaking down silo mindsets, and promoting transformative working methods.”
“What better way to do that than to open up the conversation to fresh and creative thinking as we did at PAUDS, and we are happy to have continued this momentum with the brilliant collection of minds at UN-HABITAT,” he continued.
A reception also took place on the sidelines of the UN-HABITAT assembly, promoting the 2020 World Urban Forum. The Forum will provide a platform to discuss 21st Century city planning within a context of rapid development with specific cultural and demographic considerations.
The UAE Ambassador to Kenya, Khalid Khalifa Abdullah Rashid Al Mu’alla said, “The UAE global leadership in international diplomacy finds its manifestation in the implementation of the 2030 agenda and our success in leading global implementation of SDGs and assisting others in doing so. WUF10 is an opportunity for the UAE to develop methodologies that can be shared and replicated on other countries in the region.”
The UN-Habitat Assembly is the United Nations’ focal point for sustainable urbanisation and human settlements development. The event saw the adoption of global norms and policies that will guide how cities and communities are planned, managed and governed. It will also determine the strategic priorities for accelerating implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for the next six years, through UN-Habitat’s Strategic Plan (2020-2025).
WUF10 will take place in Abu Dhabi in February 2020, convened by UN-Habitat and jointly organised with the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities. WUF10 will showcase the Abu Dhabi Plan, through which the city aims to realise its long-term sustainable development vision. This blueprint will advance concrete achievements that position the Emirate as a benchmark, in a region with one of the fastest urbanisation rates on the globe.