22 Mar 2018
A wealth of events at WUF9

The World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (7 to 13 February 2018) was a remarkable gathering.

Over 23, 000 delegates came to KL from across sectors and across the world to, in the words of Lead agency UN-Habitat, “renew their commitment in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator for the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals”. (See the official review).

For the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme International Secretariat and Brazil Office and Centre teams and our partners, it was an action packed week.

As well as the global launch of the City Partnerships Challenge, (and the ‘how to’ of city partnerships ) the Cities Programme led a number of events, delivered in partnership with others – and provided representation at many others. We were also represented at a number of high level roundtables, special sessions and industry round tables; highlights follow in this report.

Most importantly, WUF9 gave us the opportunity to share quality, productive time with many colleagues and partners from other regions and to begin new relationships. The City Partnerships Challenge was central to many of our conversations, a rallying point to activate projects and action at the city level.

Partnerships for vulnerable communities in Indonesia

Many new towns in Indonesia are destined for river and coastal locations, places where people living in informal settlements are most vulnerable and lack legal status. Poor planning, climate change and inadequate environmental protections coalesce to create serious flood conditions on a regular basis.

From left: Khairiah Talha (EAROPH Malaysia), Mia Davison and Jane Stanley (EAROPH Australia), Bernadus Djonoputro (EAROPH Indonesia) and Michael Nolan (UNGC Cities Programme).

The Partnerships for Sustainable Growth: Lessons From Australia & Indonesia event focused on the sustainable development of these new towns.

Led in partnership with the Australian, Indonesian and Malaysian chapters of EAROPH , a key aim of this successful event was to begin scoping an innovative proposal for the City Partnerships Challenge in Indonesia. The rich discussion included how to successfully plan new towns; flood mitigation strategies; achieving effective change through community action and what partnerships truly mean.

Many thanks to our Urban Scholar, Mia Davison for her leadership in this event which also marked the formalisation of a partnership between the Cities Programme and the Indonesia, Malaysian and Australian chapters of EAROPH.

New thinking for ethical city projects

Five real projects were the centre of our three hour training session to explore the thinking, practices and processes required to achieve city projects that are equitable, sustainable and accountable.

Participants brought perspectives from many countries to the dynamic learning event, ‘Ethical Cities Projects’, which unpacked and rethought social and environmental urban projects from Brazil, Australia and Africa. Led by Professor Ralph Horne and Michael Nolan, the event encouraged broader thinking in the design and evaluation of projects whereby problems of inequality, climate change, and accountability are placed centre stage. This is also to prevent over focus on one critical challenge resulting in overlooking others.

Thank you to all participants and to our facilitators: Bongumusa Zondo (EThekwini Municipality), Rosane de Souza, Keli Guimaraes (our Brazil Office and Southern Brazil Centre) and Joana Correia (our Australia team); Professor Dave Adamson (Compass Housing, Australia); and Simon McPherson (Global South, Australia).

Lessons from the Pacific, Africa and South America

Our City Engagement Technical Lead, Dr Jane Mullet led a networking event on achieving urban sustainability in the face of rapid urbanisation, bringing together academics who are working collaboratively with municipal governments in the Pacific, Africa and South America. It drew on work carried out across the globe including:

  • the use of geo-spatial data developed in Australia to conceptually map a range of social determinants of health (transport, affordable housing and other indicators) now being applied to Bangkok;
  • a collaborative project in the Solomon Island’s capital of Honiara that involves working with local communities, NGOs, and local and national levels of government to implement the Honiara Urban Resilience and Climate Adaptation Action Plan (HURCAP);
  • the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), an alliance of more than 70 partners working improving security of tenure (multi-lateral agencies, CSOs, NGOs and academia);
  • resilience work in Durban (EThekwini), South Africa, implemented as part of Durban’s membership of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient cities; and
  • sustainability projects under development in Sao Paulo including waste management and better outcomes for communities in informal settlements.

Thank you to: Prof. Darryn McEvoy and Dr Hannah Badland (RMIT University); Assoc. Prof. David Mitchell (RMIT University and Global Land Tool Network); Prof. Patricia Iglecias (University of Sao Paulo and UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Brazil Regional Office); Mr Adrian Peters (Municipality of EThekwini).

Partners Events, Assemblies and High level Meetings

Michael Nolan (right) with leaders from Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, the World Bank, Panama City and Cities Alliance at the Finance for Local Government High Level Round Table.

The Cities Programme representatives presented at a number of meetings and events (see photos below). These included:

  • The Business Assembly: “Building Effective Private Sector Cooperation” (led by UN-Habitat)
  • “Creative Investment and Financing Mechanisms for Local Government” (UN-Habitat)
  •  “Cities contributing to the New Urban Agenda implementation through the international urban cooperation programme” (The International Real Estate Federation)
  • “The Affordable Metropolis: Turning Density into Prosperity” (Secretariat of the Union for the Mediterranean [UfM])
  • “Towards Implementing the New Urban Agenda in the Euro-Mediterranean region” (European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy)
  •  “Enhancing collaborative resilience in cities” (Medellin Collaboration for Urban Resilience)
  • “Implementing local resilience actions: Road for cities to achieve Target E of Sendai Framework, New Urban Agenda and SDG11” (UNISDR, UN-Habitat)
  • “Informal Sector Workers Driving Local Economies: Observations from the Pacific Region” (EAROPH& ICLEI)

Congratulations to the organisers of World Urban Forum 9 for a high successful global gathering and welcome to the new Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. We look forward to the coming months and years of collaboration to implement the New Urban Agenda and advance the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Ethical Cities training event attracted participants from around the worldThe last working lunch with our Brazil team. From left Joceli Andrade de Bogusz, Keli Guimaraes, Jane Mullett and Patricia IgleciasJoceli Andrade de Bogusz, Michael Nolan, Keli Guimaraes, Jane Mullett and Patricia IgleciasCEO Realdania, Jesper Nygård speaking at the Private Sector Round Table.Simon McPherson providing an overview of his case study project at the Ethical Cities Project training event.The City Partnerships launchOur Brazil and Australian International Secretariat teamsWith our India Network colleague, Director of CEGET GCNI, Shabnam Sidiqui.RMIT academics, Dr Hannah Badland and Professor David Mitchell, both presenters at our Reslient and Healthy cities eventDr Hannah Badland presenting on the Healthy Liveable Cities FrameworkFrom left: Assoc. Prof. David Mitchell (RMIT University and Global Land Tool Network), Dr Hannah Badland (RMIT University); Prof. Patricia Iglecias (University of Sao Paulo and our Cities Programme Brazil Regional Office); Mr Adrian Peters (Municipality of EThekwini) and Prof. Darryn McEvoy (RMIT).Professor Ralph Horne opening the Ethical Cities training (with Michael Nolan).The delegation from Australia.Our Global Advisor, Professor Jago Dodson (RMIT University), raconteur for the Urban Policy High Level Round TableBusiness Round Table led by 100RC CEO, Michael BerkowitzProfessor David Adamson from Compass Housing presenting his case at our Ethical Cities training eventPartner, Nicholas Buchoud, from the Grand Paris Alliance speaking at the Business Round Table, pictured with our Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan.Michael Nolan led the Forum on Private Sector investment.One of the first mornings at WUF9 was a half day workshop with our Brazil team (Patricia Iglecias is missing)Preparing for the Ethical Cities event.Keli Guimaraes and Rosane de Souza with new Brazilian colleagueProfessor Ralph Horne and Joana Correia