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UN-Habitat joins forces with the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda at the 2021 Virtual Pacific Urban Forum

On Thursday, 26 August 2021, UN-Habitat joined seven Pacific development partners and eight country delegations for the 2021 Virtual Pacific Urban Forum (VPUF). Building on the progress of the Fifth Pacific Urban Forum (PUF5) held in 2019, the 2021 VPUF aimed to: assess the status of national urban development commitments across the Pacific region; to share updates on key urban priorities, progress and challenges by country representatives; and to formally launch the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda (PP-NUA).

The forum had four main sessions: 1. a Pacific regional urban development overview; 2. individual country updates and presentations; 3. the launch of the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda; and 4. an interactive discussion session and panel. The event was joined by over 100 participants including 20 speakers from across the region. In the last two years since PUF5 the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the accelerating impacts of climate change have imposed increasing pressure on Pacific towns and cities. The economic impact of reduced remittances, international tourism and import/exports are pronounced across the region, risking greater inequality and impeding progress towards urban-related SDGs. A long-term and sustainable vision of urban development in the Pacific region is of vital importance.

Country delegations provided updates across five interconnected working areas: social equity and urbanisation, environmental resilience and infrastructure, urban governance, urban economy, and COVID-19 impacts and recovery. National government stakeholders from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu presented updates. This included a wide range of case studies, from new investments in climate resilient infrastructure projects across the Cook and Solomon Islands, to slum upgrading programmes in Fiji, to the development of new policies and institutions to manage urban development in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The formal launch of the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda brought together 8 regional organisations to accelerate action on sustainable urban development. UN-Habitat is joined by ESCAP, the Commonwealth Local Government Association, Compass Housing Services, EAROPH, ICLEI Oceania, Melbourne University and Monash University. The partnership will provide resources to support national urban stakeholders to achieve their New Urban Agenda commitments. Partners will leverage their respective work programmes and support the integrated delivery of actions across the five working pillars.

The Pacific New Urban Agenda is an important tool to guide socioeconomic development in cities and presents a strong framework to achieve progress. Ensuring sustainable governance, cooperation and partnerships is important to accelerate knowledge sharing and action in the Pacific.

Materials from the event are now available on the website of UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The recording can also be found on the UN-ESCAP youtube channel.

For more events by the Pacific Partnership for the New Urban Agenda, EAROPH are leading an upcoming workshop on 26 September 2021 - What Does Climate Justice Look Like?

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