UN-Habitat Engages Urban Planners in Climate Action
UN Photo/Kibae Park
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UN-Habitat held trainings for technicians from Asunción, Paraguay and Maputo, Mozambique, which are pilot cities for UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Tool, for assessing a city's climate resilience.

The Declaration recommends actions related to economic, social and environmental dimensions, governance, and regional cooperation.

Cities contribute between 37% and 49% of total global emissions, and 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050.

11 November 2017: UN-Habitat’s recent work to ensure that urban development is sustainable, and in line with the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other instruments, has addressed resilience for cities, gender-sensitive urban planning in Bahrain, and climate change as it affects urban planners, among other topics. The UN Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Committee on Housing and Land Management adopted a declaration on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development.

UN-Habitat held a series of training sessions for technicians from Asunción, Paraguay, and Maputo, Mozambique, as part of a joint initiative between the European Commission, the UN Office for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and UN-Habitat titled, ‘Making Cities More Sustainable and Resilient.’ Asunción and Maputo are two of the pilot cities that are already implementing UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Tool, by which a city can assess its urban resilience. Trainings in Asunción in November addressed the city’s water cycle, and also focused on data gathering to identify resilience actions and priorities. In Maputo in September, capacity-building sessions convened with city council members and staff, and staff from Barcelona’s city council shared their experiences implementing the Tool. UN-Habitat aims to replicate this city-to-city collaboration as called for in the NUA and 203o Agenda. [UN-Habitat Press Release] [City Resilience Profiling Tool]

In order to implement gender-sensitive urban planning in Bahrain, UN-Habitat, with the Supreme Council for Women and the Bahrain Engineering Association, organized the ‘Bahrain Conference on Women and Engineering’ and a training workshop on ‘Gender in Urban Planning and Design,’ both of which convened in Manama, Bahrain, in early November 2017. Discussions highlighted: gender-sensitive urban development policies and plans; how connectivity, density and mixed uses can benefit women; and the need for localized gender disaggregated data to better inform planning. Approximately 50 Bahraini female engineers attended the training workshop, which also aimed to raise awareness and understanding on gender equality and on the role of urban planning for women’s empowerment. [UN-Habitat Press Release]

UN-Habitat and partners launched an initiative titled, ‘Planners for Climate Action,’ which brings together associations representing more than 80,000 urban and regional planners to contribute to climate discussions and initiatives. The initiative aims to correct the historical exclusion of planning professionals and educators from climate discussions and action. During the initiative’s launch on 11 November 2017 on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos emphasized the importance of planning to ensure that cities are “climate positive.”

Since cities contribute between 37% and 49% of total global emissions, and 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050, well-planned cities and urban and regional planners are crucial for reducing congestion and pollution, increasing energy efficiency, lowering emissions and building climate resilience. The initiative also aims to, inter alia: advocate for strengthened and accelerated urban/regional planning; help monitor implementation of relevant targets; jointly develop normative guidance and knowledge products; and provide substantive input to ongoing relevant initiatives. [UN-Habitat Press Release]

The UNECE’s Committee on Housing and Land Management adopted the Geneva Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development during the Committee’s 78th session, which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8-10 November 2017. The Declaration reiterates the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda, the NUA, and the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing, which aims to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing. In the Declaration, ministers invite national, regional and local governments and authorities and other stakeholders to work together to address housing and urban challenges. The Declaration recommends actions related to economic, social and environmental dimensions, governance, and regional cooperation.

During the Committee meeting, delegates also discussed: housing for migrants in the UNECE region; a “bottom-up” approach for identifying housing needs through regular population surveys; and the ‘Smart Sustainable City Profile’ for Goris, Armenia, which identifies long-term development priorities for the city, such as improving wastewater management, reducing of risks of natural disasters, and promoting cultural heritage to increase tourism. Delegates also discussed the Geneva UN Charter Centres of Excellence, which aim to further implementation of sustainable urban development and affordable housing measures across the region. [UNECE Press Release] [78th Committee Meeting Website] [Geneva Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development]


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