Partners discuss the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through National Urban Policies in Viet Nam

Ha Noi, 26 April 2017— UN Habitat, OECD and the Viet Nam’s Ministry of Construction recently held a one day Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through National Urban Policies.

The event that was supported by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and UNDP was attended by more than 50 policy makers and stakeholders, with the Dialogue session beings opened by Mr. Nguyen Dinh Toan, the Viet Nam Vice Minister of Construction, and Rolf Alter, Director, Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD.

Mr. Alter stressed the importance of strong National Urban Policies and stated that “national urban policies are meant to both provide a vision but also are a call for action to ensure that cities are inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable. “
This international dialogue gathered high-level policymakers from relevant ministries on urban policy in Viet Nam (Construction, Planning and Investment, Natural Resource and Environment, Transport, Finance, Internal Affairs, etc.) as well as representatives from German and Japanese governments, in order to exchange views on Viet Nam’s urbanization challenges, policy responses, and good policy practices that could be shared with other countries. The Dialogue considered how Viet Nam can capitalize the unique opportunities the rapid urbanization process brings and what options are available for improving the current urban structure and planning and investment framework of Viet Nam. Furthermore participants discussed what role urban policies can play in achieving national green growth and addressing climate change in Viet Nam.
The afternoon session of the Dialogue brought together key stakeholders involved in the ongoing development of the National Urban Development Strategy (NUDS) for Viet Nam in order to reflect on what they consider to be the most pressing urban issues in Viet Nam and particularly to discuss what role the NUDS is playing in order to address these challenges. Representatives from UN-Habitat, OECD, GGGI, Cities Alliance, and the Asian Development Bank reflected on other ongoing urban initiatives and programmes in Viet Nam, such as the National Urban Development Programme and the National Urban Upgrading Programme, in order to highlight synergies between programmes/processes and to situate the NUDS within the context of these other programmes/processes.
As a flagship project of the National Urban Policy Programme, which was launched last October at Habitat III in Quito, OECD, UN Habitat and GGGI are currently conducting a National Urban Policy Review of Viet Nam. The study analyses the country’s urban structure and development trends in an internationally comparative framework, identifies main challenges that urban and metropolitan areas face in Viet Nam, assesses how current urban policies assist in achieving national environmental and green growth goals, and provides practical policy recommendations, building on existing ongoing international initiatives. The Dialogue session benefited from inputs from experts leading the Policy Review. The final version of the Review will be released in early 2018.
The discussion on National Urban Policies as a tool for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda will continue at the Second International Conference on National Urban Policy, May 15-18, 2017 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris. The Conference will be co-hosted by UN-Habitat and OECD and is supported by Cities Alliance, GGGI, IHS, and UCLG. It serves an important role as an advocacy event, which provides a forum to discuss and debate about National Urban Policy, but importantly, also allows policy makers and other stakeholders to come together and learn from each other’s experiences with NUP – thus providing an environment for peer-to-peer learning and exchange. For more information on the Conference, visit the website here: icnup.urbanpolicyplatform.org.

Source: Partners discuss the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through National Urban Policies in Viet Nam

UN-Habitat showcases its work at the World Assembly of Islamic Cities

Qazvin, Iran, 26 April 2017—At the latest World Assembly of Islamic Cities UN-Habitat had the opportunity to brief the delegates present on some of the work it is engaged in globally.

The World Assembly of Islamic Cities (WAIC) summit was convened late April in the Iranian city of Qazvin to discuss sustainable urbanization according to the ideals of Islam. The fifth in a series of conferences, the WAIC seeks to provide a forum for exchange of approaches to sustainable Islamic Cities from technological, scientific, managerial, cultural and spiritual perspectives.

The event was presided over by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, and Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar.

In his address, President Rouhani said, “”Houses must be a place for people to relax in, not a tool for making profit,” adding: “Cities must find legitimate and healthy source of income and the government is ready to cooperate and draft the required bills in this regard”.

On its part, UN-Habitat highlighted three key areas of its work- City Prosperity Initiative, Municipal Finance, and Youth and Livelihoods.

Marco Kamiya, the acting Coordinator of the Urban Economy Branch presented on the work UN-Habitat is doing describing that good urbanization is achieved with efficient municipal finance as a base for public policies.  Douglas Ragan, Youth Unit leader presented on the Sustainable Development Goals related with cities and Youth while Reza Porvaziry, Global Advocate for UN-Habitat presented on the New Urban Agenda and opportunities and challenges for cities.

Over 800 Iranian and international guests took part in the summit with attendance from representatives from UN-Habitat, ambassadors, governors and a number of Mayors from Iraq, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Palestine, Indonesia, China, Morocco, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prior to the meeting, the UN-Habitat delegation paid a visit to Minister of Sports and Youth, Masour Soltanifar to discuss activities on youth and livelihoods and the role of municipalities.

Source: UN-Habitat showcases its work at the World Assembly of Islamic Cities

Women’s and the New Urban Agenda at CSW

New York, 29 March 2017 – At the recent 61st Commission on the Status of Women, UN-Habitat hosted a series of multi-stakeholder events at the UN Headquarters to make certain that the role of women in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda is well understood and the realization of inclusive, economically viable and sustainable cities is achieved.

Source: Women’s and the New Urban Agenda at CSW

The recently sworn-in Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, opened the first panel of gender and development leaders by emphasizing the critical role of the New Urban Agenda in achieving the vision for sustainable and inclusive societies by 2030. “Given the megatrend of rapid urbanization, achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will depend, in large part, on whether we can make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, Ms Mohammed said.

Susceptibility to poverty traps and natural disasters, unemployment and lack of opportunities for education impede women across the globe from becoming active members of their societies, therefore halting the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Space for engagement

At the second session, hosted by the Ford Foundation, member state representatives and global and local civil society leaders discussed the fundamental need for inclusive design, planning and governing of human settlements in achieving the vision of the New Urban Agenda.

The event gave stage to the distinguished panel of global experts and leaders in the fields of gender policy, public policy and urbanism. UN-Habitat’s Deputy Executive Director, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, set the tone for the evening by reminding the attendees that: “People are looking for a sense of belonging in their city. People want their voices valued. People want to have space in their cities; space for play, for debate, for engagement with their leaders and for connecting among themselves.”

Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in Canada, discussed the critical nature of accessibility of public services, such as robust transit networks, public spaces and adequate shelter, for all urban residents.

Ana Falú, Vice Chair of the UN-Habitat Advisory Group on Gender Issues, focused on the importance of distinguishing the cultural and societal stigmas of women in the economic and social realms of cities as a crucial starting point for implementing inclusive and gender-balance urban strategies.

Cities as engines of socioeconomic empowerment

The event ignited engagement from the attendees. The representative of the Ecuador Permanent Mission to the UN highlighted the crucial nature of the New Urban Agenda for Ecuador’s sustainable urban future and urged the audience to consider the exigent need for governments across the globe to engage with the New Urban Agenda and implement inclusive and sustainable national urban policies.

Finally, the Population Council gathered a full room of scholars, policy-makers, urban leaders and urban activists to discuss the critical nature of cities as engines of socio-economic empowerment for women and girls. The event covered a wide array of topics, ranging from migration, infrastructure and social integration as they relate to girls’ successful transition to urban agglomerations and, consequently, to their vitality within the social and economic realms of their communities.

The event presented an esteemed panel of speakers, each bringing distinctive and valuable perspectives to the table. Sarah Engebretsen of the Population Council, introduced a summary of comprehensive research findings of the newly-published “Girls on the Move: Adolescent Girls & Migration in the Developing World” report, where she pointed out the important distinction between the different temporal stages of young girls’ migration to urban settlements: pre-migration stage, in-transit and early arrival stage and the settling stage.

Although each of the migration stages presents a unique set of challenges, risks and opportunities for young girls, Ms. Engebretsen asserted that a number of factors, such as safe and reliable networks, access to safe shelter upon arrival, general understanding of the available resources and access to community services and groups, can largely improve the experience of such transition.

Source: Women’s and the New Urban Agenda at CSW