Nations okay ‘Kuala Lumpur declaration’ on new urban agenda

Ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9).<br />Photo: wuf9

Some 23,000 participants from 165 countries rose from the Ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur, federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia, boasting gleaming skyscrapers, colonial architecture, charming locals and a myriad of natural attractions recently, pledging a fresh commitment to localize and scale up the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

Coming 16 months after world leaders have adopted the New Urban Agenda, which sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, and will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities.

The New Urban Agenda provides roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. The Agenda also brings guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provides the underpinning for actions to address climate change.

WUF9 attracted representatives of national, subnational and local governments, parliamentarians, civil society, older persons, women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, grassroots groups, indigenous peoples and local communities, private sector, foundations and philanthropies, international and regional organizations, academia, professionals and other relevant stakeholders.

The ninth edition of the forum organised by the UN Habitat reached a consensus of 165 nations on the Kuala Lumpur (KL) Declaration, which agreed on adapting inclusivity and innovative solutions to create sustainable cities by 2030.

Delegates called for the deployment of all efforts, means and resources available towards the operationalization of the concept of cities for all, ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.

They believe that global, regional, national and local implementation frameworks of the New Urban Agenda being formulated since its adoption should be supported by key enablers capable of unlocking positive transformation.

Participants agreed to encourage the acceleration of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through the following: ONE: Encouraging the formulation of implementation frameworks for the New Urban Agenda at all levels, including monitoring mechanisms, providing a coordinated space for an effective contribution from all stakeholders, aligning to the efforts and actions of the 2030 Agenda and other international, regional, national, subnational and local development frameworks.

TWO: Supporting the creation and consolidation of inclusive platforms and agendas for dialogue among all levels of government, decision makers and stakeholders such as regional, national and local Urban Forums and committees that can strengthen policy review and assessment of impacts.

These can also foster exchange of experiences and cooperation, as well as scaling up voluntary commitments and actions from all partners.

THREE: Developing and advocating for integrated territorial development, which includes integration of sectoral policies, institutions and investment; integration among the different spheres of government; spatial integration across the urban-rural continuum; improved coordination across actors; and enhanced alignment of national, subnational and local policies with international agendas.

FOUR
: Adapting innovative and robust mechanisms for the diversification and expansion of the means of implementation, to cater for complex and integrated approaches promoted by the New Urban Agenda. Technological innovations and improvements, research, capacity building, technical assistance and partnership development, among others, may require enhanced resourcing.

They also called for ways to foster a culture of creativity and innovation to be embedded in the way cities and human settlements operate; develop monitoring and data collection mechanisms, including community generated data, to enhance availability of information and disaggregated and comparable data at city, functional urban areas and community levels.

“This would promote informed and evidence-based decision making and policy formulation, assessing progress and impact at all levels.”

Other recommendations include, creating an enabling environment and develop capacities for scaling up of good practices including municipal finance, sustainable private and public investments in urban development and job creation, and generating value while advancing the public good; adopting accessibility and universal design as core principles into national, subnational and local action plans for implementing the New Urban Agenda through inclusive, accessible and participatory processes and consultations.

Meanwhile, the biennial event will be hosted in 2020, hosted by the United Arab Emirates government in the city of Abu Dhabi.

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