13 February 2023, Kathmandu – Speakers from 15 countries convened in Kathmandu to discuss the progress made on national spatial planning in development countries in Asia and Africa. At the occasion of the 5th Spacial Planning Platform Meeting, the speakers compared challenges and solutions for territorial planning to guide integrated, inclusive and resilient development at national and sub-national level.
The Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD), Government of Nepal, co-hosted the conference on “National Spatial Planning for Integrated and Climate Resilient Urban Development” together with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Government of Japan, and UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP).
The Platform was established by the Government of Japan in 2018 as a network of stakeholders aiming to achieve the formulation and implementation of more effective spatial plans at all territorial levels. Governments are facing challenges in developing national and sub-national spatial planning policies and instruments due to spatial, demographic, and economic shifts, increasing natural disasters, climate change, and other challenges.
In collaboration with UN-Habitat, the SPP contributes to the global implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the application of the International Guidelines for Urban and Territorial Planning. The platform brings together experiences and learnings from countries where spatial and territorial planning support the delivery of services and investments, ensuring the judicious use of land and natural resources as well as balanced and functional urban systems.
There was in-person participation of high-level officials and experts from 14 countries including Bhutan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, India, Japan, Mozambique, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Vietnam, and from UN-Habitat headquarters in Kenya.
The conference commenced with an exposure visit organised by the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority (KVDA) to demonstrate the territorial approach of urban planning undertaken by the government of Nepal in the Kathmandu Valley. The formal programme was inaugurated by Bikram Pandey, Minister of Urban Development.
In his remarks, he said, “I am confident that the SPP conference will present various dimensions and perspectives of urban development and demonstrate how it can be adapted in the context of Nepal. I believe that the learning and knowledge gained from this discussion will pave the way for climate change adaptation and build integrated, sustainable, and climate-resilient cities and settlements in future.”
The technical sessions focused on sharing spatial planning experiences from the participant countries for strengthening land governance and national urban systems, and a territorial approach for climate change adaptation. The poster presentations and brainstorming studio on Nepal engaged the participants in hands-on learning and discussions on the issues and prospects for Nepal to roll out the national urban development strategies in the new federal structure.
Addressing the program virtually, Minoru Kimura, Director General, MLIT committed to continue and deepen the cooperative relationships with SPP as a robust knowledge-sharing platform, in supporting the formulation of national land and regional plans.
The SPP Conference concluded with a MOUD and participant commitment to derive the learnings from the SPP and international experiences for evidence-based policy formulation, use of fit-for-purpose planning tools with an integrated approach through sub-national spatial planning, and forge collaboration/coordination between sectors, administrations, and stakeholders, delivering sustainable solutions to drive sustainable urbanization.
The Conference concluded a week-long engagement of UN-Habitat Nepal with the Government of Japan and UN-Habitat ROAP, on Green Building solutions for vulnerable communities facing severe health, energy, and climate challenges. Pilots and tests were set up in Gadhawa and Mahalaxmi municipalities in Nepal and a regional workshop was hosted by UN-Habitat Nepal on 31 January 2023. The week-long programme exposed a wide range of challenges and the potential for inclusive, innovative solutions, at all levels.
National Spatial Planning for Integrated and Climate Resilient Urban Development – 5th Spatial Planning Platform Conference