Abu Dhabi, UN-Habitat sign agreement to host World Urban Forum

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(Abu Dhabi) – The Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, DPM, signed an agreement, on Wednesday, with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, for Abu Dhabi to host the 10th World Urban Forum, WUF10, in 2020. This will be the first time an Arab country hosts the landmark forum.

The forum will be convened by UN-Habitat, and jointly organised with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Department, along with partners including the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and General Secretariat of the Executive Council.

The forum will provide a platform to discuss 21st century city planning with specific cultural and demographic considerations. It will showcase Abu Dhabi Plan through which the city aims to realise its long-term sustainable development vision through achievements that position the emirate as a benchmark in a region with one of the fastest rates of urbanisation in the world.

In the lead up to the forum, the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning will host the first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium in partnership with UN-Habitat in April 2019. Key decision makers, city authorities and urban experts from 22 Arab countries engaged in implementing the New Urban Agenda – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Participants will exchange views and compare experiences about urban challenges facing fast-changing Arab cities.

Commenting on the hosting of the forum, Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of DPM, said, “We are extremely pleased Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the tenth session of the World Urban Forum, particularly as it marks the first time an Arab nation has hosted this global event. Abu Dhabi has already attracted international merit for implementing urban sustainability in innovative ways, having itself experienced a phenomenal shift towards urbanisation in a relatively short space of time.”

“This forum provides an opportunity to showcase these achievements and Abu Dhabi’s role in promoting and implementing sustainable urban development as well as cementing our reputation as a global hub for innovation,” he added.

Al Ahbabi noted that hosting the forum in 2020 provides an opportunity to celebrate the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision which is based on sustainable development.

In turn, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said, “I would like to congratulate Abu Dhabi and commend the timely preparations and planning already underway by the city authorities and by the UAE Government for this important event. Abu Dhabi, like so many cities in this region, is undergoing rapid and transformative urbanisation and we commend the focus on sustainability shown by the Government.

WUF10 will lead to new partnerships and actions to meet challenges of urban areas. Key topics including human capital, resource management, education and culture, mobility, data and much more, will be discussed during the five-day conference.

The forum plays a key role in implementing the New Urban Agenda, a framework unanimously adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, laying out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable development.

Abu Dhabi strongly supports New Urban Agenda as it represents its own ideal for creating a sustainable emirate by preserving and enriching its physical and cultural identity, while improving quality of life for all its residents. Abu Dhabi’s urban development vision encompasses four pillars: economic, social, cultural and environmental.

The seminar will bring together some 20,000 delegates from more than 150 countries.