Actions to achieve Sustainable Urban Development

Why actions matter in achieving the 2030 Agenda

We have less than seven years remaining to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General called upon a Decade of Action to accelerate and mobilise solutions at local and global levels and fully engage partners, people and communities across all sectors to leverage transformative changes. Therefore, it is crucial to collect and monitor committed actions and advance the progress and achievement of the Agenda 2030.

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WUF 11 – The Katowice Declared Actions

The eleventh session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11) took place in Katowice, Poland, from 26 to 30 June 2022 under the theme Transforming our Cities for a Better Urban Future.

The theme’s relevance is stark as the world comes together to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, especially after the devastating effects of Covid-19 and the refugee situation due to the crisis in Ukraine.

The WUF11 concluded with the Katowice Declared Actions. These declared actions will carry the sustainable development agenda forward to the next World Urban Forum in Cairo, Egypt in January 2024, and beyond. They include recommendations and commitments that representatives of government, civil society and the private sector take back to their home cities for further discussion and implementation. WUF11 Katowice Declared Actions are voluntary actions and commitments that support the NUA implementation and accelerate the SDGs’ attainment. 

WUF 10 - The Abu Dhabi Declared Actions
The Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) debated issues related to rapid urbanisation, building inclusive and resilient cities, and taking steps to accelerate their work towards the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Decade of Action. WUF10 began with a call to action and concluded with the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions committed by different partners and stakeholder groups.

The Abu Dhabi Declared Actions comprises actions committed on a voluntary basis by governments, partners, individuals, communities, and the business sector from cities and countries around the world to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Actions were produced in consultation with the WUF10 Advisory Group representatives from diverse urban development partners. The Actions are strategic level goals that will result from implementing new initiatives from various institutions and actors.

For more information on the Declared Actions, please visit here.

The first report on the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions: one year of implementation was published in 2021. The report details successes and highlights actions partners are engaging in to fulfil their commitments.

Actions At-a-Glance


Research study on disability-inclusive climate resilient cities

We will research disability-inclusive climate resilient cities to produce case studies of good practice, working with partners including the Asian Development Bank. This body of work will support cities to ensure they embed inclusion as they address the impacts of climate change through both mitigation and adaptation. We can measure this by uptake of our findings and influence on the sector, in particular the breaking of silos between climate (sustainability) and inclusion.
Source: World Urban Forum

European Union Declared Actions

The EU declared actions corresponds to initiatives being implemented by the European Commission and its partners. Follow-up is ensured for their implementation by the relevant services and regular activities are organised to implement the different type of support they correspond to. The EU and its Member States are renewing the three commitments they made in 2016. All these initiatives are being extended and continued : - The EU and its Member States recently decided to renew the Urban Agenda for the EU. This is part of our commitment to fostering multi-level governance and improving the urban dimension of EU policies. - The Degree of Urbanisation, proposed together with our partners, was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission as a new global method for aggregating subnational urban data. We support countries implementing it with tools and data developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre. More and more countries are using the method for wider comparability, better measuring and reporting on the implementation of SDGs at local level. - We have also extended our International Urban and Regional Cooperation Programme (IURC), which supports cooperation between cities and regions globally. This is to enable them to work on sustainable solutions to common urban challenges, in the green and digital transitions and for recovery. • In addition, we are putting forward three new voluntary commitments to accelerate the delivery of the New Urban Agenda : - As a fourth commitment, EU support to external cooperation and partnerships. Within the framework of the Global Gateway and the external dimension of the European Green Deal, the EU will significantly scale up its engagement in, and support to, integrated sustainable urban development in EU partner countries, including enhancing access to finance through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+). The EU will work in concert with EU Member States for greater coordination, scale and impacts within the Team Europe Initiatives. - The EU and its MS wish to present the mission on climate-neutral cities by 2030 as a fifth commitment. We will support 100 European cities to act as hubs of experimentation and innovation for green, digital and inclusive transformations. In turn, these cities will serve as models and inspiration for cities worldwide, through initiatives such as the global Urban Transitions Mission that we developed with the Global Covenant of Mayors under Mission Innovation. - Finally, a new sixth commitment is introduced with the New European Bauhaus. This initiative aims to inspire a global green transformation while simultaneously addressing other global challenges -such as the digital transition- by combining sustainability, inclusion and involved multiple sectors in a creative process. The approach is innovative, transversal and human centred, and has the goal to improve all aspects of citizens’ lives, from buildings and public spaces to products, services and ecosystems, to mind-sets and behaviours.
Source: World Urban Forum

Sustainable, inclusive and resilient urban food systems transformation

FAO commits to work with UN-Habitat, the rest of the UN system and all relevant stakeholders to integrate food systems in urban policy and planning promoting multi-level governance, and contributing to bridge the gap between local and national governance levels, thereby promoting inclusive economic growth, reducing inequalities, and addressing climate change impact. This will make a direct contribution to a more just, green and healthy urban future. Integrating urban food systems in local policy and planning and supporting the creation of the enabling policy and regulatory environment to strengthen the capacities of city and local governments will improve food security, nutrition and healthy diets, making a strong contribution to sustainable, inclusive and resilient urban food systems transformation. The inclusive global Urban Food Systems Coalition provides an innovative platform for promoting multi-level governance and multi-stakeholder involvement in the urban food systems decision-making.
Source: World Urban Forum


Sustainable cities
Source: World Urban Forum

Public Space Academy: a transformative learning experience for a new approach to urban complexity built around public space

The Public Space Academy is the first, free, interdisciplinary educational program entirely dedicated to public space, aimed at establishing a new approach to urban complexity built around public space, for a more comprehensive, human-oriented understanding of our cities and societies. It is designed to investigate multiple levels of understandings and interpretations of public space, to change the mind-set of new generations of global citizens – The Public Space Academy is a transformative educational programme aimed at including public space as a priority in urban agendas of local governments, while providing expertise in the discussion with public and private institutions and local stakeholders, especially in regard of laws and policies for design, implementation, and management. The Public Space Academy is developed as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with free access. Online contents are complemented with several face-to-face activities, such as talks, public dialogues, meetings, workshops, and exhibitions, in different cities worldwide, engaging Universities, cultural institutions and NGOs affiliated to City Space Architecture’s global network. The first course will be available on a customized OpenEdX platform, managed by City Space Architecture, in November 2022. It is expected to attract significant interest since it will convey attention on public space on a more rounded perspective, at the political, social and economic level, fostering solidarity and cooperation. The Public Space Academy is pursuing three main objectives: - introduce public space complexity and the need for multidisciplinary analytical skills to analysis, design and management: public space is not merely a design activity related to landscape urbanism or infrastructure facilities, but it is more and more involved in a technical and political process dealing with land use, environment, infrastructure networks, social issues and policy making, in response also to global trends such as massive urbanization, privatization and gentrification; - expand understanding on how public space is a crucial asset for sustainable development, both as a top-down/expert-led activity and as a bottom-up/citizen-led practice; - defining a comprehensive urban strategy for local implementation, that is built around humans and their life in the public domain, putting public space as a priority in the urban agenda: well-designed and well-managed public spaces can provide opportunities for formal and informal economies by attracting investments, entrepreneurs, and services, enhancing the value of land and property, redefining urban environments with human vibrancy and livelihood, encouraging walking, cycling and play, and improving physical and mental health. The Public Space Academy provides theoretical contents and also methodologies and tools for the design of practical solutions to integrate public space strategies in local, regional and national policies. The beneficiaries are young and experienced scholars and researchers, practitioners, and representatives from local and regional governments. The learning outcomes will be assessed using a monitoring and pedagogical evaluation strategy throughout the process, engaging a highly qualified committee of academic scholars and well-established professionals.
Source: World Urban Forum

Call to Action for Sustainable Urbanisation

Our transformative impacts will be: We aim to empower Commonwealth Youth to support, contribute to, and advocate for sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth and to look at ways in which cities and human settlements can better reflect the needs of youth. Immediate impact is contributing to local plan in Belize. Build the capacity of youth, to advocate for sustainable urbanisation, shape the future of, and re-design their environment by engaging with 100 000 young people across the Commonwealth. Communicate the importance of youth-friendly and youth-aware sustainable urbanisation by actively involving 500 decision-makers across the Commonwealth. Integrate a diverse youth voice into Commonwealth policy and programmes and advocate for strengthened youth leadership and integration into decision making to support sustainable urbanisation. Generate a pipeline and entrepreneurial environment for project and provide an opportunity for young people from across different disciplines/constituencies relating to sustainable urbanisation to come together. Immediate expected results will be: Help local governments to implement to implement development plans with young people. For example, we will work with Belize City Council in 2022. We will develop a set of youth-friendly principles for sustainable urbanisation and inclusive urban development. By working with Partners we will test the applicability of youth-friendly toolkits and programmes.
Source: World Urban Forum

University of and for waste pickers tackling SDGs

Worldwide, waste pickers work under deplorable conditions and are not recognized for their environmental and community services of recovering and diverting recyclable materials from waste. Brazil has accumulated experiences of international relevance, due to the existence of a strong Social and Solidarity Economy and the creation of a National Waste Pickers’ movement. These conditions have favored the formation of new recycling cooperatives throughout the country. Research has demonstrated that when organized and supported by public policies and inclusive governance, waste pickers are able to tackle several of the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs), mainly goals number 1, 5, 8, 11 and 12 (Gutberlet, 2021) . Creating a university of and for waste pickers has the potential to make significant transformative impacts. Our vision is to create a hybrid (online and in person) university based on Paulo Freire's popular education pedagogy and “pair learning”. This university aims to expand access to knowledge and expand possibilities for reflection. We are imagining a space of excellence where one can dream, dare, innovate and be inspired by transforming ideas and achievements in the field of popular education of the social movements of waste pickers. The immediate expected results will be the formation of first pilot groups of waste pickers in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo who will participate in the first extension courses for waste pickers, tackling topics such as (1) social responsibility and the environment, (2) social entrepreneurship, (3) reverse logistics, (4) Plastics, (5) work safety, (6) waste governance, (7) Circular Economy, (8) Mental health and (9) effective communication and knowledge mobilization. Previously conducted research shows how waste picker organizations address social, economic and environmental targets, how they build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities, as well as how they are able to contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Creating an appropriate learning space for the complex socioeconomic and cultural universe of waste pickers, to promote access to and sharing of diverse knowledge is crucial. Public policies and participation in governance are instrumental in acknowledging waste picker organizations and remunerating their services to thus unlock their full potential to further the progress on the implementation of SDGs. The university of and for waste pickers (UNICATA) has the potential to support waste pickers so that they can become the champions in the transition to more sustainable development. As ways of measuring of our declared actions, we propose to generate qualitative and quantitative indicators that demonstrate successful course design, based on the creation of curricular content that is innovative and appropriate to the context of waste pickers and that promotes social, economic and environmental sustainability. We will further develop indicators to measure participation rates in teaching and attendance of classes, and finally, we will describe the qualitative outcomes related to the accumulation of new knowledge based on participation in the university of and for waste pickers. Gutberlet, J. (2021) Grassroots waste picker organizations addressing the UN sustainable development goals. World Development, 138 (2021) 105195.
Source: World Urban Forum

Climate Smart Agriculture

Bamboo Foundation has significant working ecology in two regions of the country with a large base of stakeholders particularly youths and women farmers. Bamboo Foundation will provide technical assistance and assistance for capacity building to target communities under the project and Village Development Committees and local authorities in each region will provide technical staff and the lands for the establishment of Nursery gardens and bamboo plantations. Livelihood projects as well as maintaining ecological balance for the project to be enhanced and developed. The proponents will attend national and international forum of Bamboo and other related activities The e Gambia has forest cover of 480000 hectares (about 44% of the total land area) but nearly 70% of these forests are degraded. The country has primary forest of 477,800 hectares and planted forest 9f 1400 hectares ( Forest Resources Assessments 2010) The major part of te County belongs to the Sudano Sahelian agro ecological zone with a pronounced dry season from October to May, the natural vegetation zone 8s woodland savannah. The National Forest Policy 2010 - 2019, this is currently the central policy instrument for forest management in the Gambia. The policy has the following objectives *Strengthen the institutional capacity of the Department of Forestry and non state actors involved in the management and implementation of natural resources programs *Integration of DoF into the medium and long term national development framework *Ensuring that te Department of Forestry creates multiplier effects on the forest resources management and the domestic economy in general *
Source: World Urban Forum

UrbanCare, capacity building to develop informed neighborhood public spaces (and streets) for climate and health

In developing a sustainable city, most efforts align with the goals and targets of national and regional plans. However, creating green and healthy communities requires rich sets of environmental data at the neighborhood level that is accessible and easy to understand by diverse stakeholders, especially local residents. UrbanCare is a systematic observation method to collect, analyze, and easily visualize climate and health neighborhood data. At a specific urban site, quantitative data is collected for urban heat, surface runoff, and biotope loss which negatively impact soil, water, and air quality. This urban degradation data is translated into intuitive and easily readable infographics for a diverse audience to understand regardless of age and cultural and literary background. Then the data is presented through a web-based immersive journey for participants to navigate their daily life in urban scenes such as Google Streets does, but not from a vehicle perspective but a pedestrian perspective. The immersive journey allows participants to click on icons to display the climate-related infographics at each urban scene. It helps the participant be informed and rate public transportation stops and stations, street crossings, free-seating (or the lack of), and entrances to priority destinations such as schools, playgrounds, and parks. This participatory process gathers qualitative data critical to conducting decision-making workshops and other planning practices that create evidence-based action plans. Since the Summer of 2021, UrbanCare has been used to structure cases for urban health in collaboration with institutes in different climate zones, such as the Oceanic in Gothenburg with Chalmers University, Continental in Berlin with the Technical University of Berlin, Intermediterranean in Florence with UNIFI, and the Mediterranean climate in Nicosia with the University of Cyprus. This experience has strengthened inter-institutional collaboration and initiated an innovative capacity-building approach that will renew knowledge and practical training in areas of: (i) Data Management; (ii) Environmental Health Impact Assessment; (iii) Urban Health Policy Planning; (iv) Health-centred Urban Planning and Design and; (v) Urban Health and Development Management. Our collective mission is to collaborate with institutions and individuals from countries on other continents in disseminating the lessons learned, methods, and tools used in UrbanCare to continue solving spatial issues impacting urban health at the neighborhood level. Especially for data gathering and processing in locations where information is inexistent, limited, or inaccessible at this urban scale. The UrbanCare project will continue development in the next two years as a collaborative and inclusive process that will allow participants to contribute and evaluate the learning quality experience in every step and the results from the co-creation phases.
Source: World Urban Forum

Local Green Deal Mannheim

The transformation we need to achieve will be achieved through individual measures in specific areas such as energy, mobility or housing. go beyond these. These measures must be integrated into rooted in a new systemic thinking and approach. rooted. This process can only be achieved with the active engagement of our citizens and stakeholders. stakeholders. We therefore propose that both our local Green Deals as well as the European Green Deal are based on on the following five fundamental systemic systemic changes for which we are committed to Commit to Action: Transforming our current local infrastructure and systems. We will apply agile and innovative solutions to transform our local infrastructure and service systems for a post-carbon society. This will include smart digital technology and green and blue infrastructure. In doing so, we will improve the quality of our public spaces, support adaptation to climate change, promote biodiversity and improve public health Health and quality of life. Local development beyond growth and competition We will create local and regional economic cycles that help protect the climate, natural natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystems biodiversity and ecosystems in economic priority in economic development and health and quality of life of current and future future generations. Cooperation, solidarity and integration We will shape society at the urban and regional levels on the principles of participation, transparency, inclusion and non-discrimination, in order to make our cities and regions an attractive, safe and healthy and healthy living environment for all residents*. A lifestyle and culture of frugality and optimization We will ensure that our infrastructure, services, production methods and business models are not primarily about efficiency and maximization of output, but rather circularity, adequacy and optimization. support. In this way, we preserve the value and value and utility of our assets to promote quality of life for all. In doing so, we would like to emphasize that culture is an important engine. It supports dialogue and cohesion in the development and implementation of local sustainability strategies. Refocusing on the common good We will implement governance models at local and regional governance models at local and regional level that strengthen the common good through co-design and social innovation. We will public service approaches and new forms of social social enterprises and investments, and public-private public-private partnerships. At In this way, we will increase the resilience of our local economies and societies in line with our in line with our sustainability agenda.
Source: World Urban Forum