Actions to achieve Sustainable Urban Development

Why actions matter in achieving the 2030 Agenda

We have less than eight 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) will take 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 will conclude with the Katowice Declared Actions.

These include the 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.

More information on how to propose a declared action for WUF11 will be made available shortly.

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


Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project

The project aims to contribute to balanced, sustainable growth by reducing urban poverty in Bangladesh and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals b...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

Green Technology Application for the Development of Low Carbon Cities (GTALCC)

With funding support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNDP is working together with our partners the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technolog...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

Asunción Green City of the Americas – Pathways to Sustainability

The project aims to improve the quality of life in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Asunción (AMA) and grant multiple benefits with equity criteria, through...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

World Blind Union (WBU) and City Space Architecture publication of a Special Issue of The Journal of Public Space with focus on universally accessible public spaces for all

World Blind Union (WBU) and City Space Architecture declared our action to develop and publish a special issue of The Journal of Public Space with a s...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

Community engagement and inclusion

I committed to over time keep raising awareness around accessible and inclusive urbanization in Nairobi through writing blogs and articles in newspape...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

World Blind Union (WBU) & UN-Habitat implementation of 2020-2023 agreement to mainstream disability inclusion, universal design, and accessibility

As part of the MoU implementation since WUF10, WBU and UN-Habitat has worked on co-organisation of Expert Group Meeting on Inclusive Cities focusing o...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

The Urban Forest, towards a greener Madrid

The Urban Forest project aims to create a 75-km long green forest ring around the city, helping to remedy some of the negative effects of urban sprawl, such as heat islands, poor air quality and loss of biodiversity. The ring will connect large existing parks with new forests and native green areas, following the concept of green infrastructure. It will consist of 450,000 trees, new parks and leisure areas and greed bridges over some of the main motorways that surrounds the city. This green infrastructure will be composed of native species and adapted to the city’s specific characteristics, with the objective being to generate quality spaces, reduce the effects of climate change and pollution, and promote sport and healthy activities in the immediate surroundings of residents The Urban Forest is a long term project but the first phase is currently ongoing. During its development, Madrid is implementing various initiatives to encourage the participation of citizens and companies in this ambitious project.
Source: Other

Making Cities Resilient by 2030 (MCR2030)

In partnership with UCLG, ICLEI, the World Bank, UN-Habitat, IFRC, the World Council on City Data and the Global Resilient Cities Network (Rockefeller...
Source: Abu Dhabi Declared Actions

Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation

1. We, the participants of the tenth session of the World Urban Forum, represent national, subnational and local governments, international and regional organizations, parliamentarians, civil society, older persons, women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, grassroots groups, indigenous peoples and local communities, professionals, the private sector, foundations and philanthropies, academia, professionals and other relevant stakeholders. Together we gathered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to dialogue on the theme “Cities of Opportunities, Connecting Culture and Innovation.” Now, at the conclusion of this World Urban Forum we declare our voluntary actions and commitments for the next two years and beyond. We do so in support of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in this Decade of Action. 2. We recognize that an increasingly urbanized world constitutes a transformative force which can be harnessed and steered for more sustainable development. Cities have the opportunity to take the lead to plan and design as well as manage transitions towards inclusion, resilience, sustainability, economic growth and shared prosperity. At the same time, cities are addressing many global challenges including poverty, gender inequalities, human rights violations, unemployment, health emergencies, loss of social cohesion, threat to cultural heritage and cultural diversity, environmental degradation, migration, disaster risk and climate change. 3. We, the participants of WUF 10, are convinced that culture is an integral part of the solution to the challenges of urbanisation and achieving the New Urban Agenda. The urban environment, in turn, has an influence on culture. Culture is a core component of local identity including heritage, creativity and diversity and urbanisation need to be planned, designed and managed to enhance this. Culture is considered by some constituencies as the fourth pillar of sustainable development and must be a stronger strand of global solidarity. Culture and heritage are essential in the context of peoples’ empowerment as well as their universal access to services, and ownership of regeneration and social cohesion strategies. Urban heritage—both cultural and natural—is an asset and enables sustainable urban development. Revitalising cities whilst respecting urban heritage allows us to celebrate the past while embracing a sustainable future. It limits the negative impacts of city sprawl while also reducing waste, infrastructure needs and transportation costs. Strategic integrated urban planning provides the tools to ensure the integration of urban heritage, culture, local economic needs, environmental considerations, biodiversity, low carbon development and climate resilience to ensure the creation of sustainable, prosperous, liveable communities. Attention to the urban rural continuum and to nature in cities is essential. Participatory community engagement and innovation are key means to achieve this. 4. We believe that cities are centres of creativity and innovation as well as places with valuable cultural heritage and identity. The culture and creative industries are rapidly expanding sources of employment and economic development in cities and urban areas globally. Innovation and cultural heritage must at the foundation of how urban centres operate, with strong support from national governments, a strengthened role for subnational and local governments and systematic collaboration with civil society. Cities that are well-planned and well-managed, grounded in cultural heritage, have more opportunities for sustainable urban development. Supported by people-centred technology, smart city initiatives and fit-for-purpose land governance, culture and innovation become creative drivers for sustainable growth, shared prosperity and inclusive development. 5. We also believe that cities are incubators of social, economic, environmental, political and cultural progress. They are equally the guardians of cultural heritage and identity which must be safeguarded to pass on to future generations. Subnational and local governments play an integral role in enhancing the diversity of urban life, through the adoption of rights-based approaches to cities and, in particular, with the promotion of gender equality and equal access to opportunities for all. They provide solutions for decent work, housing, and transport, the provision of basic cultural services such as libraries, tangible and living heritage, and community centres and adopt inclusive, accessible, and transparent participatory processes. 6. The New Urban Agenda acknowledges the importance of culture, cultural diversity and cultural heritage in all its forms as resources that enrich humankind, making an important contribution to sustainable urbanization and the development of inclusive safe cities and human settlements, empowering all people to play an active role in development initiatives. 7. We celebrate cultural heritage as a valuable resource to be protected and safeguarded in its diversity of expression and forms. These assets inspire innovation and creativity in cities and human settlements, creating and implementing new knowledge and solutions to improve living conditions for all. We emphasize that women and girls are key agents of transformative change in their cities. Culture offers a perspective on leaving no one and no place behind as it enables women and girls to identify with their heritage and make their voice heard through creative means. Women and girls must have effective and equal ways to participate through cultural expressions as well as innovative and inclusive decision-making. 8. We encourage stronger commitments to safeguarding culture heritage and finding related innovative solutions to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and other global frameworks. 9. We recognize the need for an integrated approach to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda by all levels of government and by various stakeholders. This includes enhanced coordination and coherence supported by institutional, social and technological innovations which protect tangible and intangible cultural heritage. This is crucial for the achievement of sustainable urban development and the overall prosperity of cities and human settlements. 10. We also recognize that innovation and advances in science and technology are critical for implementing the NUA, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and other global development frameworks relevant to sustainable urbanization. 11. We draw attention to the importance of data and knowledge as a fundamental starting point to understand gaps and needs. We acknowledge the need to critically link data to evidence-based policy formulation, development of action plans and sources of funding. In this regard we welcome the New Urban Agenda monitoring platform, City Prosperity Initiative, and other platforms such as the Culture 2030 indicators. In this respect, the global people-based definition of cities and settlements (Degree of Urbanization), will be a crucial instrument for collecting comparable data and facilitating harmonised reporting in the implementation of the SDGs. 12. We encourage stakeholders to declare their actions towards strengthening investments and efforts in developing better data platforms to support evidence-based policies and investments and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 13. We believe that together sustainable urbanization, culture and innovation are fundamental in supporting the Decade of Action. We aim to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals which call for sustainable and inclusive solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges. Cities represent an entry point for all 17 SDGs and create a window of opportunity for sustainable urban development. Service provision, density and economies of scale are factors that bind all development goals together. 14. We encourage all development actors gathered in Abu Dhabi to mobilize their respective capacities in this Decade of Action. We will continue to call for actions and mobilisation and track progress through a monitoring and reporting mechanism. At the global level, this requires strong leadership, more resources and smarter solutions. At the local level, this includes shifts in policy, budget, institutions, and regulatory frameworks to make cities safe, resilient and sustainable, grounded in cultural heritage and creative practice. At the people level, we call for a movement of youth, civil society, media, private sector, academia and others to advocate for social and economic transformations. We want to raise awareness of all stakeholders: the cities we build today are tomorrow’s heritage. 15. We thank the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the City of Abu Dhabi, and UN-Habitat for convening the Forum. And we commit to providing continuous cooperation to the next hosts, the Government of Poland and the City of Katowice.
Source: World Urban Forum