14 November 2016
Regional Commissions, COP 22 Events Address Sustainable Urban Development
Photo by IISD/ENB
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Participants at the Financing Smart Sustainable Cities Forum adopted the Vaduz Declaration, highlighting the role of the financial sector in transitions to "smart sustainable cities." The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched a project to support Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Morocco, Uganda, and Zambia in transforming their cities into areas of inclusive and sustainable development.

14 November 2016: Participants at a forum on financing sustainable urban development adopted a ten-point agreement highlighting the role of the financial sector in transitions to “smart sustainable cities.” Recent events held by the UN Regional Commissions and others have focused on sustainable transport, recognizing cities’ role in tackling climate change, and showcased actions in support of SDG 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

United Smart Cities (USC), United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER) and the Austrian Economic Center (AEX) organized the Financing Smart Sustainable Cities Forum, which took place in Liechtenstein, from 7-8 November 2016. Participants identified practical solutions to facilitate transitions towards smart sustainable cities, addressed business models and good practices for financing and implementing sustainable urban solutions, and considered the role of key performance indicators (KPIs) and standards in monitoring governance, participation and economic growth. The Vaduz Declaration that resulted from the Forum calls for: supporting the New Urban Agenda and achieving the SDGs; combatting financial crime and corruption, and increasing access to information to ensure transparency and good governance; improving access to financial services and financial literacy to empower communities and contribute to the smart, sustainable development of cities; supporting local community development and economic growth; fostering innovation and entrepreneurship by leveraging technology to support sustainable economic prosperity, education and cultural activities; supporting new financing mechanisms; and managing and mitigating social and environmental risks.

A project facilitated by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) aims to transform cities into areas of inclusive and sustainable development. UNECA is providing support for Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Morocco, Uganda, and Zambia to develop a cross-sectoral approach to urban planning by bringing together national institutions involved in development planning, urban development, housing, finance, agriculture, infrastructure and statistics to design and implement city policies and strategies to support economic diversification and growth, employment, innovation, industrialization, trade and overall human development. Speaking at the project launch in Yaounde, Cameroon, on 8 November, Antonion Pedro, UNECA, called for “leveraging urbanization for accelerated industrialization.” He elaborated that a focus on industrialization will “enable cities to be productive and create decent jobs while generating revenues to provide inclusive access to services, infrastructure and overall prosperity.”

On the sidelines of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), Global Climate Action Day included a focus on cities and climate. The event, organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, showcased actions that national governments can take to achieve local goals and contribute to nationally-determined contributions (NDCs), including through building efficiency and resilience. Participants highlighted: an assessment tool to enable standardized qualitative reporting of adaptation commitments to the Global Covenant of Mayors; and a road map for low-energy buildings.

The Marrakech Climate Change Conference also included Transport Day, which focused on the role of sustainable transport in achieving the New Urban Agenda and addressing climate-related goals. Participants highlighted the need to address increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transport sector and a global road map for decarbonizing the transport sector, released by the Partnership for Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT). [UNECE Press Release] [Forum Website] [Vaduz Declaration] [UNECA Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release on Global Climate Action day] [UN Press Release on Transport] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Cities and Human Settlements Day] [IISD RS Coverage of UN Climate Change Conference] [SLoCaT Website on Transport Day]

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