10th World Urban Forum

Eighteen representatives from the University of Melbourne participated in the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi last week, including six delegates supported by travel bursaries from MSSI’s Future Cities Cluster and the Connected Cities Lab.

The Forum was attended by approximately 13,000 policy makers, urban practitioners, city government representatives and academics from more than 168 countries, sharing their practice and research into sustainable urban development. Organised by UN-HABITAT, WUF10 marked the beginning of a global Decade of Action for accelerating the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the start of a new strategic direction for the UN’s Human Settlements Programme.

University of Melbourne representatives took part as panelists in a total of seventeen sessions as part of the Forum. Team members from the Connected Cities Lab led the first ‘SDGs in Action’ session by launching the SDGs Cities Challenge, while MSSI Associate and Connected Cities Lab Senior Visiting Fellow Joyati Das took to the stage for a high level Dialogue session on Tradition and Modernity. Dr Cathy Oke, Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities, represented the University at the Researcher’s Roundtable, while Future Cities Convenor Alexei Trundle also led the launch of UN-Habitat’s latest Community Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Guide.

As UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif noted at the opening of the Forum, a key theme was just urban transformations that left no one behind. Critical to this vision was the launch of five new UN-Habitat Flagship Programmes, bringing together coalitions of partners around common areas of interest within the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prime Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama launched one of the five Flagships, titled ‘RISE UP: Resilient settlements for the Urban Poor’, emphasising that “there is a deeply-entrenched social and institutional stigma that holds back the urban poor, preventing them from being woven into our larger city fabrics”. Although he noted Fiji faced acute challenges as a Pacific Small Island Developing State, the Prime Minister also observed that these effects were being felt in all countries, and that “everywhere on earth climate impacts are amplified by urban poverty”.

Daily reports from the Forum can be accessed through the IISD Reporting Services Earth Negotiation Bulletin website, with the next World Urban Forum, WUF11, to be held in Katowice, Poland in 2022.