The LAC Cities Conference discussed a Regional Action Plan for implementing the New Urban Agenda in LAC, public-private partnerships for promoting urban sustainability, and implementation of safe, affordable and sustainable urban mobility in the region.
Also in LAC, a series of regional planning meetings analyzed challenges, experiences and prospects for development planning in the region, and its role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.
Meetings in Africa focused on monitoring and reporting on SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and integrating urbanization into national development planning for inclusive and sustainable cities in the region.
13 October 2017: Recent conferences in Africa and in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have emphasized the importance of sustainable and inclusive urban development for implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities).
The Cities Conference, which convened from 2-6 October 2017, in Santiago, Chile, focused on implementation of the NUA and the SDGs in LAC, and debated public policy recommendations for strengthening management of LAC cities. In a statement, ECLAC Executive Director Alicia Bárcena emphasized the “right to the city” as a basic requirement for achieving sustainable development. She presented the Regional Action Plan for implementing the NUA in LAC, which recognizes the urban dimension of the SDGs beyond SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and the central role of cities and human settlements as “engines” for sustainable development. The Regional Action Plan outlines six action areas and strategic objectives, namely: national urban policies; urban legal frameworks; urban and territorial planning and design; financing urbanization; and local implementation.
The Conference addressed, inter alia: public-private partnerships for promoting urban sustainability in LAC; urban resilience and risk management in the face of extreme events; implementation of safe, affordable and sustainable urban mobility in the region; and a proposed Regional Urban and Cities Observatory as a strategic mechanism for implementing and monitoring the NUA. The conference was co-organized by ECLAC, the Assembly of Ministers and High Authorities of Housing and Urban Development of LAC (MINURVI) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). [Cities Conference Website] [ECLAC News Story] [UN News Story] [Regional Action Plan for the Implementation of the NUA in LAC] [Subregional Action Plan for the Implementation of the NUA in the Caribbean: Prioritizing Subregional Challenges and Opportunities] [ECLAC Press Release on Urban Mobility Seminar] [ECLAC Press Release on Presentation of ECLAC Executive Secretary] [ECLAC Press Release on the Role of Public-Private Partnerships (in Spanish)]
Also in LAC, a series of regional meetings convened from 11-13 October 2017, in Lima, Peru, to analyze challenges, experiences and prospects for development planning in the region, and LAC’s role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs. The meetings aimed to promote dialogue and cooperation on, inter alia: development planning and public administration; approaches to gender equality and participation in planning; and strengthening the public sector’s development capacities.
During the XV Conference of Ministers and Heads of Planning of LAC, participants highlighted, among other issues, the importance of: planning for implementing the SDGs and providing “a space for the convergence of equality and sustainability”; and regional integration to realize the SDGs. The XVI Meeting of the Regional Council for Planning discussed, inter alia: the ‘Regional Observatory on Planning,’ an instrument for analysis, learning and exchange regarding development planning systems and implementation of the 2030 Agenda; and the ‘Planbarometer,’ which will enable countries to self-evaluate and improve their planning. The IV Planning Session focused on, inter alia: comparative experiences between the Republic of Korea and LAC on sustainable territories and cities. The meetings were organized by the Government of Peru, ECLAC and partners. [Meeting Website] [ECLAC Press Release Announcing Meeting] [ILPES Press Release on Planning as a Space Where Equality and Sustainability Converge] [ILPES Press Release on ECLAC Calling on Countries to Adopt Comprehensive Planning Approaches for Territorial and Urban Development] [Regional Observatory for Planning and Development in LAC]
The UNECA report titled, ‘Integrating Urbanization in National Development Planning for Inclusive Cities,’ recommends actions for integrating urbanization into national development planning in Africa, and will inform the preparation of training materials on applying this approach to promote inclusive and sustainable cities.
In Africa, an Experts Group Meeting convened from 9-11 October 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It focused on integrating urbanization into national development planning for inclusive and sustainable cities on the continent; urged Africa to “unleash” the potential of cities as drivers of economic and social development at the local, regional and national level; and called for transforming cities into platforms for technological innovation, industrialization and agricultural modernization. Participants sought to start a “new narrative on urbanization” that better integrates and coordinates between sectoral, territorial and urban policies, and recognizes that national development plans are the best vehicle to implement this approach.
Participants also discussed an aide memoire on ‘Integrating Urbanization in National Development Planning for Inclusive Cities,’ which was prepared by the Social Development Policy Division (SDPD) of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The report recommends actions for integrating urbanization into national development planning in Africa, and will inform the preparation of training materials on applying this approach to promote inclusive and sustainable cities. [UNECA Press Release on Expert Group Meeting] [UNECA Press Release on Optimizing Opportunities Presented by Urbanization] [Integrating Urbanization in National Development Planning for Inclusive Cities]
A workshop in Botswana sought to begin the process of monitoring and reporting on SDG 11. The 4 October 2017 workshop, which met under the theme, ‘Achieving SDG 11: One city at a time,’ discussed, inter alia: the importance of a reliable urban monitoring and reporting framework; the need for more reliable, timely and disaggregated national, regional and global monitoring data; and using the National Sample of Cities methodological approach, geospatial technologies and UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Initiative.
Botswana is one of the four countries participating in the UN-Habitat project titled, ‘Monitoring and Reporting on Human Settlement Indicators in Africa and Latin America,’ along with Tunisia, Ecuador and Colombia. The project helps countries measure, monitor and report on SDG 11 and related targets, and implement evidence-based sustainable development programmes and policies. The event was organized by the Government of Botswana, UN-Habitat and UNECA. [UN-Habitat Press Release] [UN-Habitat’s National Sample of Cities] [UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Initiative]