Policy makers, academics, business people, community leaders, artists, and urban planners are among the thousands of participants attending the world’s leading conference on urbanisation, the World Urban Forum (WUF), in Abu Dhabi in February, according to a Wednesday statement from the United Nations Information Center in Cairo (UNIC).
It will be the first time that the WUF, which is convened by the UN agency focused on sustainable urbanisation, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), will take place in the Arab region. The 10th edition of the WUF will run from 8 to 13 February.
“The world has really changed since the first World Urban Forum in 2002. Urbanisation is now recognised as one of the defining trends of the times. But ultimately the aim has remained constant – to promote transformative change to improve living conditions for everyone,” UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said.
The theme of the WUF this year is ‘Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation’. Culture which brings together knowledge, art, belief, capabilities, habits, morals, and behaviours is widely recognised as playing a key role in the growth and development of cities, said the statement.
Alongside high-level dialogues and roundtables, there are assemblies for young people, women, local and regional governments, grassroots communities, and business, as well as 400 events hosted by partners. The WUF10 features an Urban Expo with over 170 exhibitors from 66 countries, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Zone, an Urban Library, and the UN-Habitat Better Cities Film Festival.
A special session on voluntary local reviews, hosted by UN-Habitat and the City of New York, will discuss how cities can report their progress towards the SDGs, share best practices and encourage new cities to join the movement, mentioned the statement.
Some 50 mayors and governors have confirmed their attendance so far from cities in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas, said the statement, adding that a similar number of ministers along with high-level representatives from 15 UN agencies and several award-winning architects will also participate.
There are only 10 years left to achieve the SDGs. The WUF10 will be the first major UN event of the Decade of Action which starts this month and calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, said the statement.
Registration for the WUF10 is open to everyone, free of charge, and is open online until 31 January.
Notably, UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.