The Asia Pacific Urban Forum is a multi-stakeholder meeting and is organized every 4-5 years by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and The Pacific (UNESCAP). This forum is meant to provide a platform for urban policy actors in Asia Pacific to discuss the emerging and critical issues relating to urban development that are shared in the region. Through this forum, the stakeholders and actors are able to share their experiences, good practices and approaches on the urban development issues as well as encourage the formation of new stakeholder partnerships.

A crucial aim of APUF is the catalyzing of regional and global processes and development objectives. This year, APUF-6 was guided by the theme “Sustainable Urban Development in Asia-Pacific: Towards a New Urban Agenda” and took place at a key point in the development of international urban policy: APUF was held closely following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and one year prior to the Third United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat III). The discussion of persistent and emerging issues related to sustainable urban development in Asia-Pacific, and in particular priority areas for the implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda will therefore be core focus areas of the forum.

The outcomes of APUF-6, in the form of an APUF Call for Action, was circulated and presented at the Habitat III Regional Meeting to inform member State discussions. The outcomes of both APUF-6 and the Habitat III Regional Meeting for Asia-Pacific will feed into the Habitat III preparatory process and inform the drafting of its outcome document.

APUF-6 brought together participants, including ministers, mayors and other government officials, representatives from academia, urban professionals, the private sector, civil society, grassroots leaders, older persons, youth, and international organizations, to discuss persistent and emerging issues related to sustainable urban development in Asia and the Pacific, and in particular priority issues to be considered in the “New Urban Agenda” to be adopted at Habitat III, and in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This three days event was consist of plenary sessions, parallel sessions and side events.

The plenary sessions were:

  1. Mayors' Roundtable: "Implementing the SDGs and New Urban Agenda - The Role of Local Governments"
  2. Plenary Session – "Financing the Sustainable Urban Development Agenda"
  3. Plenary Session – "Towards a People-centered Urban Future"
  4. Plenary Session – "Climate Smart and Resilient Cities"

The 16 parallel sessions were:

  1. “Cities and Global Sustainable Development Frameworks: How to Measure Progress?” by UNEP / UN-Habitat / Cities Alliance / ICLEI / OECD
  2. “Inter-Municipality and Multi-Stakeholders Partnerships for Sustainable Urban Development in Asia Pacific Region” by Government of Indonesia / Kemitraan Habitat / UN-Habitat
  3. “Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Urban and Terrirorial Planning for Asia and the Pacific” by ISOCARP / UN-Habitat / UNEP
  4. “Valuing Wste, Transforming Cities” by ESCAP / Waste Concern / ISWA
  5. “Stengthening Comitment Towards Integrated Resource Management in Cities” by ESCAP / GIZ
  6. “Putting Local and Regional Governments in the Driver’s Seat for Financing Sustainable Urban Development” by UCLG ASPAC / CDIA / ADB / PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur
  7. “Poverty Allevation through Integrated Urban Development” by Gvernment of Indonesia
  8. “Integrated Urban Water Solutions for Sustainable Cities in Asia and the Pacific” by UN-Habitat / ESCAP / AIT
  9. ”Institutionalizing Inclusive Local Economic Development” by Cities Alliance / CDIA / Oxfam / UNDP / UCLG-ASPAC
  10. “Handling Land Towards the New Urban Agenda in Asia-Pacific” by GLTN / UN-Habitat / ESCAP / International Federation of Surveyors / World Bank / ANGOC-Land Watch Asia / Habitat for Humanity / UCLG / ASPAC / FAO
  11. “City-wide Upgrading and Participatory Planning Techniques” by Asian Coalition for Housing Rights / Uplink Indonesia
  12. “Resillience 1: Building Resillience in Cities in the Asia Pacific” by UN-Habitat / ADB / ADPC / Oxfam / UNISDR / Urbam Development Directorate, Bangladesh
  13. “Climate Change Mitigation in Asia’s Cities: Low Emissions Development, Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Production and Consumption” by UNDP / UNEP / GIZ / ICLEI
  14. “Sustainable Urban Transport Infrastructure & Service in Asia and the Pacific: Solutions for Implementation of the SGDs and the Habitat III Agenda” by Clean Air Asia / Institute for Transportation and Development Policy / The Volvo Research and Education Foundations
  15. “Safer Cities and Public Spaces for Women’s Empowerment” by Huairou Commission / UCLG / UN-Women / UNICEF
  16. “Resillience 2: Building Inclusive Urban Resillience in Asia Pacific Cities” by ACCRN / RMIT / ISET / TARU India / 100 Resilient Cities

The side events were:

  1. Launch of: “Naturban. A rediscovered relationship between city and nature” & “Revitalisation Strategies for Informal and Low-Income Communities” by National University of Singapore
  2. Launch of: "The State of Afghan Cities 2014/2015" by UN-Habitat
  3. The 10th Asian City Journalist Conference by UN-Habitat
  4. Governing Urban Green Growth – the Case of Indonesia by OECD, UCLG-ASPAC
  5. FIABCI’s Role in Promoting Sustainable Real Estate Development by FIABCI
  6. National Urban Policies in the Asia-Pacific by OECD, UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance
  7. Launch of: “Land Tenure Scoping Study in Asia and the Pacific” & “2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land” by UN-Habitat / Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) / Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development

All the session descriptions could be reached through the link.

Participants engaged in a multi-stakeholder dialogue through plenary and parallel sessions and side events, formulated the following key recommendations in the form of a ‘Call for Action’.

  • A people-centred urban future is integral to the transformation of cities and human settlements in the Asian and Pacific region.
  • It is essential to re-focus attention on the building of effective partnerships spanning national and local government, as well as private sector and civil society.
  • Greater balance needs to be found on the responsibilities and roles of different levels of government in the management of urban areas and surrounding towns. Partnerships must be based on the principle of subsidiarity.
  • All levels of government must take action to improve female representation in elected administrative and appointed office, in particular at the local level.
  • Local government needs to be more effectively supported and empowered to carry out its mandate and responsibilities, including those derived from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • In order to support urban planning, greater attention needs to be paid to the information base, including standardized collection, analysis, monitoring, and its dissemination.
  • Reducing the vulnerability and contribution of cities to climate change and natural hazards calls for a reconsideration of the way cities are planned, transformed and infrastructure is developed, including by adopting compact, mixed-use urban form, green urban growth and green city development models, as well as resilience strategies that are people-centered, pro-poor and inclusive.
  • All levels of government have a responsibility in facilitating and safeguarding the building of resilience.
  • Meeting current and future natural resource demands in cities, in particular for energy, water and food, as well as housing and basic services, requires the adoption of a nexus approach and a shift from sectoral to integrated and ecosystem-based planning, from competitive to collaborative governance among neighboring municipalities and across departments, including financing mechanisms.
  • Governments need to urgently usher in a paradigm shift in waste management, from downstream and end-of-the pipe to upstream waste-to-resource, by forging partnerships with communities, waste pickers, academia, CSOs and the private sector.
  • Implementation of water and sanitation-related development goals requires the adoption of a systems-based framework established on integrated urban water management, inclusive of policy regulations, diverse technologies and financing sources, water and sanitation markets, and with community participation.
  • Countries should develop, adopt and implement national sustainable urban transport policies, as an integral part of development policies, through participatory process as part of the New Urban Agenda.
  • Financing is a universal issue across the Asian and Pacific region. Finance is a supply (sourcing) and demand (bankable projects) challenge for both national and sub-national government.
  • In considering urban finance needs, a broad agenda including green infrastructure and social inclusion is necessary. Financing options for cities require a coherent intergovernmental financing base and must provide for a range of mechanisms such as land-based financing, revolving funds of various kinds, community financing, private sector financing, and public private partnerships (PPPs).
  • Sub-national governments should be more proactive in the financing of sustainable urban development by strengthening an enabling framework required to prioritize, prepare and finance their urban infrastructure investments.