Last week UN Habitat hosted the 10thsession of the world urban forum in Abu Dhabi. The global conference brought together delegates from all across the world under the theme “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation, focusing on harnessing culture and innovation as drivers of sustainable urban development”
South Africa participated at the WUF 10 with the South African delegation being led by Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Pamela Tshwete , the Department of Cooperative Governance was also among the delegates representing South Africa at the Forum. The 10ThSession of the World Urban Forum provided an opportunity to promote and gain knowledge on the key areas of sustainable human settlements, urban development and spatial integration, including the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the housing and urban development aspects of other global agendas. The session further provided a platform for key engagements on monitoring frameworks, funding instruments, planning and programme implementation approaches, informal settlements upgrading, and creating inclusive, safe and resilient spaces which is what our national urban policy- the IUDF advocates for.
The South African delegation participated in the relevant Roundtables, Dialogues, Special Sessions, the WUF 10 Exhibition, and a wide-range of side events and networking events, including:
The Department of Cooperative Governance in partnership with The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH hosted a side event on “Peer learning Networks as a mechanism for implementing the national urban policy”. The session echoed the voices of intermediate city municipalities in South Africa sharing their experiences in implementing the national urban policy as well partner organisations such as ICLEI.
Participating members of the peer learning network expressed that being part of the network allows for creative ways of community engagement as well as create a conducive environment for partnerships and collegial support across municipal boundaries. Implementing a national urban policy forces line departments to work together leading to integration of urban development.
The national urban policy has cut-crossing thematic areas, one of them being urban resilience. The network through partnerships such as ICLEI have made it easy for municipalities to have bilateral engagements on key thematic areas such as climate change.
At the end of the forum certain actions were declared as we gear into the decade of action in achieving sustainable development goals. Participants who represented national, subnational and local governments international organisations, civil society and private sector. The declaration recognized that an increasingly urbanized world constitutes a transformative force which can be harnessed and steered for more sustainable development. “Declared Actions are strategic level goals that will result from the implementation of new initiatives from a variety of institutions and actors. These strategic goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound”
You can read the full declaration here: https://bit.ly/2QENSWv
Check out the highlights from WUF10 on this link