The Pacific Urban Forum (PUF) is a regional event presenting a platform for urban stakeholders to debate what creates a sustainable urban future for the Pacific. Held every four years, the PUF brings together various urban stakeholders with diverse backgrounds such as national and local governments, policy makers, urban development practitioners and urban planners, civil society organizations, traditional leaders, local and international academia, private sector, development partners, among others.
Driven largely by rural-to-urban migration, Pacific Islands Countries are facing rapid urbanization trends. The growth of urban populations leads to socio-economic and environmental challenges such as an increase in unemployment, rising inequalities, a growing pressure on urban service delivery and a great demand for affordable housing.
Intertwined with these issues are the region’s high levels of vulnerability to climate change and disaster risk, which threatens traditional livelihood resources, marine and low-lying island areas and poverty alleviation.
Following the adoption of the Pacific New Urban Agenda (PNUA) and a renewed recognition of the many opportunities and challenges for the Pacific, the PUF aims to develop action plans, provide recommendations for urbanisation strategies and elicit voluntary commitments from different stakeholders in order to successfully anchor and implement the PNUA. The PUF provides the opportunity to:
- Raise awareness of the role of Pacific cities and towns for achievement of national and regional policy frameworks and agendas;
- Increase action and engagement amongst relevant stakeholders for implementation, review and monitoring of the PNUA;
- Improve the mechanisms for collection and exchange of knowledge and data on sustainable urbanization in the Pacific through open and accessible platforms for debates, sharing lessons learnt, best practices and good policies;
- Develop new partnerships to support an enabling environment for urban development in the Pacific;
- Be a call for action and define coordinated inputs for the next Asia Pacific Urban Forum and the World Urban Forum.
The first PUF in 2003 gave rise to the Pacific Urban Agenda (PUA) which was endorsed by the United Nations ESCAP Commission in 2004 and by the Pacific Island Forum Leaders in 2005. The PUFs in 2007 and 2011 reaffirmed commitments to the PUA, with the fourth PUF held in 2015 adopting the Pacific New Urban Agenda. The fifth PUF, focussing on “Accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Pacific” was held in July 2019 in Nadi, Fiji, and attended by over 200 participants from 25 countries, including high level representation from 13 Pacific Islands countries.
PUF5 also saw the establishment of the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda (PP-NUA), recently rebranded “Pacific Urban Partnership” where eight organisations working on urban issues in the Pacific are collaborating to accelerate the implementation of the Pacific New Urban Agenda through a multi-stakeholder partnership. The partners include:
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
- United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (UNESCAP)
- Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF Pacific)
- ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI Oceania)
- Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Human Settlements (EAROPH)
- Home in Place
- Monash University Sustainable Development Institute
- University of Melbourne Centre for Cities
Each partner brings specialist skills and capacity to the collective effort to achieve sustainable urbanisation in the Pacific region.
In 2021 the partnership organized a Virtual Pacific Urban Forum which further defined the workplan of the partnership and the priorities for the Sixth Pacific Urban Forum (link to documentation) Since 2019 the Partnership has been actively contributing to local, regional and international forums on sustainable urbanisation.
Sixth Pacific Urban Forum
The Pacific Urban Partnership Steering Committee is currently planning for PUF6. The event is proposed to be held over three days, in-person with opportunities for online participation, during the period June to September 2023.
PUF6 will focus on the four pillars of the Pacific New Urban Agenda:
- Environment, resilience and infrastructure
- Social equity and urbanisation
- Urban economy
- Urban governance
Significant emphasis will be on climate action including strategies towards green and resilient recovery from COVID-19 and other global challenges. Pacific Island nations rightly view climate change as an existential threat and, as confirmed by the Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ meeting in Suva, July 2022, addressing this issue has greater priority than any other challenge that they face. The devastating impacts on island communities are already being seen and resulting in displacement of populations. It is time to use the evidence as a basis for planning action.
The programme will include a series of plenary and parallel sessions, and roundtables, focussing on the four pillars and a full-day session focusing on Climate Action. The outline of the programme will be:
Day 1 –
Morning: Official opening and plenaries
Afternoon: Parallel sessions on PNUA pillars
Day 2 –
Full day: Focus on climate action and local resilience (including green and resilient recovery)
Day 3 –
Morning: Parallel sessions on PNUA pillars/specific issues
Afternoon: Conclusions, voluntary commitments and official closure
There may also be pre and post event sessions for specific purposes and constituency meetings as required. These may be held in the evenings.
Call for Proposals
Expressions of interest are now invited for hosting the sixth Pacific Urban Forum. National and Local Governments from Pacific Island Countries are encouraged to apply to host the Pacific Urban Forum; applications from neighbouring countries will also be considered.
Following are the minimum requirements for hosting PUF6:
1. Ability to host the event over three days during the period June to September 2023;
2. A conference venue capable of holding the event. The venue should have:
a. a main conference room able to accommodate around 200 participants,
b. at least two additional breakout rooms capable of accommodating 75 participants each,
c. audio-visual and sound equipment
d. facilities (at least in the main conference room) to enable online participation
e. catering capacity for morning and afternoon refreshments and lunch
f. Wi-Fi internet availability (free for participants)
g. a separate exhibition space capable of accommodating at least 10 exhibitions
h. a space for holding a reception
i. a dedicated conference secretariat room with meeting space, workstations, computer, printer, etc.;
3. Hotel accommodation for at least 200 participants in single rooms, either within the conference venue or nearby;
4. An international airport with frequent flights in and out of the country and transportation available to the conference hotel/s;
5. Provision of logistical support to the planning and conduct of the event, including but not limited to, designated staff, local transportation, liaison as required with relevant local agencies and organisations, security, health and other information;
6. Chairing the PUF6 Organising Committee together with Pacific Urban Partnership Steering Committee representatives;
7. Provision of protocols support for VIP participants;
8. Assistance with visa applications (if required).
The host country/city is also encouraged to provide financial or in-kind contributions for PUF6 activities such as provision of venue, hosting a welcome reception, services and requirements for registration, site visit/s to urban development projects, information on other activities for visitors and related logistical needs.
Information on the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda and previous Pacific Urban Forums
The Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda website contains information on previous Pacific Urban Forums: https://pacificurbanpartnership.org/resources/
How to Apply
Please prepare a short application addressing the requirements above and your vision for PUF. This should be sent by an authorized national or local government official or should contain an endorsement letter from government.
Expressions of interest should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 October 2022.
Please feel free to contact Bernhard Barth from UN-Habitat (Bernhard.Barth@un.org) or Karibaiti Taoaba from CLGF (Taoaba@clgfpacific.org.fj) should you wish to discuss your interest in hosting the event prior to submitting.