The first International Forum on Urban Policy for Sustainable Development Goals in Seoul was successfully held by CityNet, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and UNESCAP from June 8-10 and concluded with a pledge to further work on the implementation of the SDGs.
Under the principle that “no one shall be left behind – no city shall be left behind” the three institutions issued an outcome document that emphasises five main points to implement the SDGs, namely local government leadership for sustainable development, citizen participation, smart planning, multilevel partnership, and knowledge sharing among cities.
In addition to the outcome document, CityNet, SMG and UNESCAP continue their collaboration in establishing an online urban SDG knowledge sharing platform that will serve as an online hub for cities across the Asia Pacific region and beyond to share experiences and best practices in response to the SDGs. This platform is expected to be launched at Habitat III Conference in Quito in October this year.
With the support of SMG and UNESCAP, CityNet also launched a special edition of its bi-annual magazine, CityVoices that compiles innovative solutions to specific, city-level problems focusing on the Asian Perspectives of Sustainable Urbanization, inspired by the multi-dimensional urban challenges facing the Asia Pacific region that are different from the models and paradigms of cities across Europe and the United States. Twenty-four articles demonstrate that every challenge can potentially lead to locally customized solutions, which can then serve as useful case studies for other cities.
The pioneering forum that convened more than 300 urban stakeholders to discuss how to facilitate and support cities in achieving the SDGs, particularly Goal 11 was enriched with a series of in-depth thematic discussions alongside main plenaries. A wide range of urban practitioners from local governments across the Asia Pacific region and international institutions like UN Habitat, UNISDR, UNDP, the World Bank, and Centre for Liveable Cities, among others, shared their perspectives with the audience. The topic discussed included Sustainable Urban Infrastructure, Cities Exchange on Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development, Social Economy, Implementation of the SDGs and Monitoring and Evaluation Systems, and many more.
The important role that cities play in the pursuit of sustainable development was acknowledged with the inclusion of a dedicated goal on cities (Goal 11) aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Cities will play a critical role in the implementation of the whole 2030 Agenda, as a great deal of the action required is to be taken at the local level.
This Forum will just be the beginning of the collaborative journey where opportunities for regional and international cooperation to support the follow-up of the Urban SDGs will be explored.
Overview of the International Forum on Urban Policy for SDGs (Source: 4 Angles, Arirang TV)