First Cambodia Urban Forum to discuss key urban priorities towards smart, sustainable and inclusive cities

25 November 2019, Phnom Penh – As Cambodia is going through rapid urbanization at an unprecedented pace, the First Cambodia Urban Forum will bring together national and international stakeholders in Phnom Penh on 27 November to take stock of the current situation of urbanization in the country and identify key priorities towards smart, sustainable and inclusive urban development.

The Forum is to be co-hosted for the first time by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC) and the United Nations system in Cambodia. It will offer a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue to discuss and agree on coherent policy, strategic, and programmatic priorities towards a better urban future in Cambodia.

Urbanization in Cambodia

Cambodia today is seeing unprecedented speed and scope of urbanization. In the last two decades, the Cambodian economy has grown at an impressive rate of over 7.7 per cent per year.(※1) Projections suggest that by 2030, around one third of the Cambodian population will have migrated and reside in urban areas.(※2)

Challenges in expanding urban social services and infrastructure to match an increasing population may exacerbate poverty, environmental impacts and economic risks. Cambodia’s development prospects, therefore, will increasingly depend on how its cities and urban areas are managed. This situation calls for a new set of urban solutions for the country.

The Cambodia Urban Forum will be a milestone for the country towards achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive urban development.

※1. World Bank Group (2018) The World Bank in Cambodia-Overview
※2. UN DESA (2018), World Urbanization Prospects 2018

Key stakeholders to discuss the best way forward

The one-day event will be presided over by H.E Pen Sophal, Secretary of State, the Representative of H.E Chea Sophara, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and Minister for Land, Urban Planning and Construction, together with Ms. Pauline Tamesis, Resident Coordinator of the UN in Cambodia.

At the Forum, over 200 urban development experts and key stakeholders, including government leaders, policy and programme experts, business leaders, civil society representatives and youth, will participate in five thematic session focusing on urban financing, capacity development, urban innovation, coordination and strategic partnerships.

The Forum will also be an important opportunity to prepare coordinated inputs to the follow-up and review processes for the global development agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly, Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities – and the New Urban Agenda, building on the work already done by Cambodia with the Habitat III National Report and under the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2019-2023.

Launch of the Future of Asian and Pacific Cities Report

On the sidelines of the Forum, the Future of Asian and Pacific Cities Report 2019 jointly developed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN-Habitat, in close collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Union (EU), Singapore’s Centre for Loveable Cities, the Rockefeller Foundation and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), will also be launched.

The report proposes critical policy pathways that are essential to ensure a better urban future in four thematic priorities: urban and territorial planning; urban resilience; smart and inclusive cities; and urban finance. To access the report, please go to

Mr. Vanna Sok, UN-Habitat Programme Manager Cambodia ( )
Mr. Lars Stordal, Regional Partnerships and Monitoring Officer Asia-Pacific )

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