23 Feb 2018
It’s on! City Partnerships Challenge is launched globally

On the final day of the World Urban Forum 9 – and in the company of a solid group of committed and excited partners – the Cities Programme launched its innovative partnered system to develop high impact projects to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda (NUA).

A big moment for Cities Programme Director, Michael Nolan.

Cities Programme Director, Michael Nolan spoke warmly of the support of partners across the United Nations Global Compact, the UN system and private sector that had made the initial global offer of the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ possible.

“City governments cannot be left to shoulder these global challenges alone. It is only through working with partners like those with us in the room today – from private sector, finance and civil society – and with collaboration at all levels of government, that cities can achieve the sustainable development goals”.

Support from Denmark, Realdania Foundation

Realdania CEO, Jesper Nygård speaking about the importance of multi-sector collaboration and co-creation at the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ launch.

Danish foundation, Realdania is a core partner of ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ and has provided funding to support this initial global offer to cities. CEO, Jesper Nygård attended WUF9 for the launch of ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ and shared his perspective on how to achieve sustainable and inclusive cities:

“Realdania is a change agent. We (philanthropists) are in a great position to kickstart innovation and to convene partnerships.  I believe in co-creation that is built across actors and sectors. Done in a responsible way, working together, we can create a fairer and more inclusive society. We are honoured to be a partner in this important initiative”.

Bringing in the expertise of Universities

Professor Ralph Horne spoke of RMIT University’s commitment to global sustainability and the important contribution that universities can make to sustainable urban development.

Ralph Horne, Professor from RMIT University (host of the Cities Programme’s International Secretariat) spoke of the role of universities and academia in sustainable urban development:

“Projects need to be evaluated to appraise lessons learnt. Realistic, locally-appropriate metrics need to be set up at the beginning of projects. Universities can bring important measurement and evaluation skills to the table, and contribute to a much-needed body of evidence to support sustainable urban development. As public institutions, they also have a potentially valuable role in project governance – as brokers and facilitators”.

Representatives from a number of countries – France, Brazil, India, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia – spoke at the launch and will help to engage cities and others in ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ in their country.

French support

Our new partner for France, Nicholas Buchoud, President of urban think tank, Cercle Grand Paris.

Nicholas Buchoud, President of Cercle Grand Paris (the Grand Paris Alliance), a not-for-profit think tank for the economic, environmental and social development of metropolitan Paris, spoke about the world metropolitan landscape and his organisation’s support for ‘City Partnerships’.

“Inequality and socio-spatial disruption in Greater Paris has accelerated and intensified with globalisation. We need to innovate, to harness social capital and to access global financial investment”.

South East Asia and Australia

Our ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ partners in South East Asia and Australia. From left: Khairiah Talha (EAROPH Malaysia), Mia Davison and Jane Stanley (EAROPH Australia), Bernadus Djonoputro (EAROPH Indonesia) and Michael Nolan.

EAROPH (Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Housing)  is supporting ‘City Partnerships’ in Indonesia and Australia. The Australia Chapter Vice-President, Jane Stanley represented EAROPH at the launch and spoke of holistic approaches to human settlements and the importance of engaging civil society in planning and projects.

The second part of the launch featured case studies of high impact, multi-sector collaboration and was led by Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan.

Brazil Partners

The ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ will be implemented collaboratively across the world. Here, India meets Brazil. From left: Shabnam Siddiqui (Global Compact Network India) with our Brazil Cities Programme team, Rosane de Souza, Keli Guimaraes, Jóceli Bogusz de Andrade, Patricia Iglecias and University of São Paulo PhD student, Caroline.

Rosane de Souza, Brazil Country Contact Point for the Cities Programme and Co-Director of our Brazil Regional Office (hosted by the University of São Paulo) opened the session that presented Paraná mirando los ODS (Paraná eyes on the SDGs).  The project’s leader, Keli Guimarães, Vice-President of CEDES (Paraná Council of Social and Economic Development) presented the collaborative, integrated approach that the southern Brazilian state is taking to localise the SDGs in Paraná’s 399 municipalities and across all parts of state government. She was supported by the Executive Coordinator of our UN Global Compact – Cities Programme Southern Brazil Centre and Copel Environment Coordinator, Jóceli Bogusz de Andrade.

India and UNGC Networks

Shabnam Siddiqui gave an overview of the unique governance framework for smart cites in India which has been led by the Global Compact Network India (GCNI), Centre of Excellence for Governance , Ethics and Transparency (CEGET). Experienced in promoting governance and ethics in business, GCNI has developed this robust framework of governance and transparency for the Smart City Mission of Government of India, in consultation with all levels of government and the business sector. The ‘GCNI-CEGET Framework for Governance of Smart Cities’ has been well received and training is now being taken up by municipalities and states across the country.

Mobilising Africa

Counsellor of EThekwini municipality brought the launch to a powerful close, speaking of collaboration for urban security and the importance of ‘City Partnerships’ for African cities.

Counsellor Ntandoyenkosi Khuzwayo from the South African city of Durban – now EThekwini municipality – brought the event to a powerful and eloquent close. He spoke of the collaboration between African cities for a safer urban future through the Africa Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) and his commitment to mobilise African cities to become involved in City Partnerships. In closing, Counsellor Khuzwayo said:

“It is my humble submission that the official launch of the City Partnership is totally in line with the recommendation of the Safer Cities Governing Council Resolution adopted in May 2017. It responds to the call from cities and local governments for the UN Systems wide approach which (will) allow all UN Agencies to work together in their support to cities and local governments”.

“This is in line with (the) agreed agenda of the All of Society approach which cities and local governments are already implementing especially around safety planning and governance with an aim to facilitate local governance as opposed to local government“.

“EThekwini Municipality, leveraging from its regional and global responsibility as the Chair of AFUS, Co-Chair of Global Network on Safer Cities, Co-Chair of C40 and Co-Chair of Strategic Planning Committee of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) would like to declare our support of the City Partnerships and indicate that we will be doing our level best to facilitate the participation of African Cities through AFUS”.

Cities, want to know more?

As of Tuesday 13 February 2018, the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ has opened to cities across the world.

Cities, towns and regional governments and businesses are able to submit an non-binding expression of interest to participate in this two year capacity building and facilitation program to develop high impact sustainable urban development projects that can attract investment.

Follow these links to see:

An overview of City Partnerships process

The City Partnerships Challenge Prospectus

The Expression of Interest Form.

There will be webinars conducted on the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ for cities and partners for each global region:

Americas: 19 March 2018 4 pm NYC

Asia Pacific: 20 March 2018 10.30 am India

EMEA: 21 March 2018 9 am London

Contact communication@citiesprogramme.org to register interest in participating in a webinar.

From left: CEO of Realdania, Jesper Nygård, Michael Nolan, Nicholas Buchoud (Cercle Grand Paris) and Ralph Horne (RMIT).Michael Nolan spoke about the pipeline system of City Partnerships.The launch also provided the opportunity for people from different countries to meet for the first time. Shabnam Siddiqui from the Global Compact Network India meets Portuguese national, Nuno Lopes from the United Nations University....smiles of agreement from Nicholas Buchoud, Ralph Horne and Michael Nolan, listening to Jesper Nygård present.Realdania CEO, Jesper Nygård speaks of Realdania's objectives in supporting the 'City Partnerships Challenge' and everyone getting to work - "the world was built one project at a time".RMIT is a lead partner in the City Partnerships Challenge.New colleagues from Africa, two Mayors from Swaziland, meet Michael Nolan.Michael Nolan meets potential French partner, François Libeu from Hendy Plan.Partners preparing to present: Keli Guimãraes from the Paraná Council of Social and Economic Development and Shabnam Siddiqui, from Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET), Global Compact Network India.Michael Nolan speaking about the leading collaborative network model to address urban poverty and inequity model from Porto Alegre, Brazil.Our Cities Programme teams from Australia and Brazil (from left): Jane Mullett, Joana Correia, Rosane de Souza, Elizabeth Ryan, Michael Nolan, Keli Guimaraes, Joceli Bogusz de Andrade, Patricia Iglecias and Caroline from USP.Shabnam Siddiqui, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Governance, Ethics and Transparency (CEGET), Global Compact Network India gave a compelling presentation on the collaborative development of the Governance Framework for Smart Cities.Partners from around the world joined with us for the launch. Pictured from left: Jane Stanley from EAROPH Australia; Caroline and Patricia Iglecias from the University of São Paulo, Brazil; and Counselor Khuzwayo from eThekwini Municipality in South Africa.The power of partnerships is the networks, connections and knowledge that key organisations bring with them. This slide is an image of Cercle Grande Paris's partners.