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Meeting the challenges of rapid urbanisation

WEF contends that most cities lack the capacity and resources to ensure that the city develops in a sustainable manner

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"Sustainable urban development is the current global priority," says Charles
"Sustainable urban development is the current global priority," says Charles
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Global rise of cities means that 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

Multi-stakeholder cooperation is essential to build transformation strategies to better shape urbanisation

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a new report 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.

 

Harnessing Public-Private Cooperation to Deliver the New Urban Agenda features an A-to-Z guide on the implementation of sustainable urban development and housing solutions. It 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.

 

WEF stresses that 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,” said Alice Charles, Community Lead, Infrastructure and Urban Development, World Economic Forum.

She added: “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. Multi-stakeholder cooperation is essential to fill this gap and build transformation strategies to better shape urbanisation outcomes and lead cities towards growth, well-being and prosperity for all.”

 

Public sector actions in the report include:

  • Engage the private sector early in the planning and design process
  • Adopt a life-cycle approach
  • Build on circular and sharing economy concepts
  • Articulate clear policies for public-private cooperation
  • Demonstrate strong, stable and visible political commitment
  • Develop appropriate legal and regulatory framework
  • Empower city leadership
  • Strengthen institutional frameworks
  • Use transparent and flexible procurement frameworks
  • Establish a reliable dispute-resolution mechanism

Private sector actions include:

  • Adopt a proactive approach
  • Approach urban services delivery projects realistically
  • Engage with local communities for long-term support
  • Build public-private cooperation that withstands tough times
  • Extend partnerships beyond the obvious

Integrated actions include:

  • Build mutual trust and integrity
  • Embrace civil society
  • Leverage technology

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 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 WEF’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 urbanising world.

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