Global Rise of Cities Poses Challenge to Sustainable Urban Development

01 Feb 2017

Published
01 Feb 2017
2017
Share

Yann Zopf, Head of Media Operations and Events, World Economic Forum, Tel.: +4122 869 3618; Email: yann.zopf@weforum.org

· The World Economic Forum releases report on Harnessing Public-Private Cooperation to Deliver the New Urban Agenda

· A-to-Z guide on the implementation of sustainable urban development and housing solutions following the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III conference in October 2016

· Public-private cooperation is key to addressing the issues and opportunities presented by urbanization

· The report highlights the key actions that must be taken by government, the private sector and civil society to achieve sustainable urban development, and includes best practices and innovative solutions from around the world.

Geneva, Switzerland, 1 February 2017 – The global rise of cities has been unprecedented. Every week, nearly 1.5 million people become urban dwellers. By 2050, the urban population will account for more than two-thirds of the world’s population.

“Cities are evolving faster than ever and encountering unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic and social challenges. Sustainable urban development is the current global priority; however, most cities lack the capacity and resources to ensure that the city develops in a sustainable manner. Multistakeholder cooperation is essential to fill this gap and build transformation strategies to better shape urbanization outcomes and lead cities towards growth, well-being and prosperity for all,” said Alice Charles, Community Lead, Infrastructure and Urban Development, World Economic Forum.

In recognition of the new challenges facing cities and the need to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, the UN General Assembly convened the United Nations Conferences on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October 2016. The conference resulted in the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, a concise and action-oriented plan that provides a new global strategy for sustainable urban development and housing over the next two decades.

Joan Clos, Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), said, “The New Urban Agenda is a set of strategies that provide concrete actions to achieve sustainable urban development, setting out clear funding mechanisms and effective means of implementation and monitoring. It is an ambitious agenda that aims at paving the way towards making cities and human settlements more inclusive and ensuring that everyone can benefit from urbanization.”

The World Economic Forum has been actively engaged with UN-HABITAT to strengthen the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. In its report on Harnessing Public-Private Cooperation to Deliver the New Urban Agenda, the Forum highlights the role of the private sector in the delivery of urban infrastructure and services in all aspects of the urban value chain, including policy-making, planning, design, implementation, operation and maintenance, monitoring and the financing of urban service delivery.

Gregory Hodkinson, Chairman of Arup Group in the United Kingdom, said, “To address city challenges and achieve positive transformation, city leaders and the private sector need to be engaged in an environment based on integrity and trust to encourage the private sector to commit its resources, skills and experience towards the development and operation of the efficient, liveable, resilient and prosperous cities that the world needs.”

The public and private sectors must create a structured engagement either through informal consultation or formal agreements to drive cities towards social, environmental and economic sustainability while enhancing urban equity, quality of life, social services, resiliency, trust, integrity, innovation, cohesion and inclusiveness, he said.

Mauricio Rodas, Mayor of Quito, Ecuador, said, “City authorities are closest to the citizens and ground-level realities and therefore play a key role in providing the impetus for progress. With the formal adoption of the New Urban Agenda, the Municipality of Quito has commenced the process of translating the principles of the New Urban Agenda into policies and actions, and looks forward to the participation of the private sector and the value they bring in terms of innovation, resources and expertise.”

The report recommends that the following actions be taken up by respective stakeholders:

Hazem Galal, Global Leader of Cities and Local Government at PwC, United Arab Emirates, said, “Urbanization dynamics have evolved over time and call for a transition from a business-as-usual approach to one that is highly collaborative, enabling the private sector to co-create and co-design sustainable urban transformation agendas. Government and the private sector must play their part by prioritizing their actions to reflect cities’ unique context, immediate and long-term priorities, and the created impact to achieve sustainable development.”

The World Economic Forum plans to continue the exchange of ideas on sustainable urban development among corporate leaders in infrastructure, engineering, construction and urban services, and senior level policy-makers and city officials with the aim of implementing the New Urban Agenda.

Working in collaboration with local partners, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Urban Development and Services Initiative serves as a partner in transformation to cities around the world as they seek to address major urban challenges and transition towards smarter, more sustainable cities in a rapidly urbanizing world.

Notes to Editors:

Read our blogs: http://wef.ch/agenda

Watch World Economic Forum sessions: http://wef.ch/youtube

Access photos archive: http://wef.ch/pics

Become a Facebook fan: http://wef.ch/facebook

Follow us on Twitter: http://wef.ch/twitter and http://wef.ch/livetweet (hashtag #WEF)

Follow us on Weibo: http://t.sina.com.cn/davos

Find us on WeChat: davos_wef

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.