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United Nations ESCAP Pacific Office,

Level 5, Kadavu House, 414 Victoria Parade, PMB, Suva, Fiji

Tel: +679 323 7700 Email: registry.epo@un.org

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Focus areas of the Pacific Operations Centre
Pacific Urban Agenda

 

UN-HABITAT and UNESCAP Pacific Partnership

 

Approximately 2.3 million people live in Pacific cities and towns. Annual urban population growth rates of over 3-4% in some Micronesian and Melanesian countries means populations double in 15-25 years. Many urban populations are growing at twice the rate of national populations. Urban growth is expected to persist because of high rural-to-urban migration and high levels of fertility. As urban populations grow and rural-urban migration continues poverty continues to urbanize.

Maravu settlement, Suva, Fiji

Millennium Development Goal 7, target 11 requires by 2020 to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. The Pacific Urban Agenda addresses this global concern within the Pacific context.

Regional Response
The Pacific Urban Agenda was first developed at an ESCAP sub-regional workshop in 2003, and adopted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific at its sixtieth session held in 2004. Pacific Islands Forum Leaders subsequently endorsed the Pacific Urban Agenda in 2005 and it was included in the Pacific Plan. In April 2007 the second sub-regional Pacific Urban Agenda workshop was convened by the ESCAP Pacific Operations Centre in collaboration with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum Pacific Office and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The 2007 workshop noted that urban and rural development issues need to be addressed in tandem since migration from rural areas, especially by youths in search of employment, is driving urbanization within many countries of the Pacific. In recognition of this phenomenon, urban development has been integrated in national sustainable development strategies in some countries. It is important that urban planning and management policies focus on the benefits of urban development on local people and carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the perceived solutions to urbanization The 2007 workshop made a wide range of recommendations to address pressing urban management, planning and development concerns.

At a further regional workshop of Pacific planners convened by the Planning Institute of Australia, AusAID and UN-Habitat in October 2007, the Pacific Urban Agenda was refined to a Regional Action Framework which identified ten areas to implement the Pacific Urban Agenda and three high priority areas for implementation within five years.

Informal settlement, Funafuti, Tuvalu

Regional Support
ESCAP together with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat PIFS and United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) have agreed to work together to implement the ‘Regional Action Framework’ over the next five years in support of national initiatives. The support of other development partners will also be crucial. The ‘Regional Action Framework’ also calls for the establishment of a ‘Pacific Urban Management Support Facility’ which would organise and convene regional forums to share information, develop capacity, collect data, develop awareness and provide technical support as required.

The 2007 Pacific Urban Agenda Workshop identified the potential value of an urban management programme which would support countries to analyse and address management and development issues, so urbanisation could positively contribute to national socio-economic development – as it has done elsewhere in the world. Much of this work is based on the assumption that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable urbanization. This will require an effective urban planning and management support programme.

Many countries in the Pacific are rapidly urbanizing. Given the changing urban environment, governments in the Pacific are increasingly recognizing the importance of managing urban development. The Pacific Operations Centre seeks to assists Pacific island countries and territories in urban planning and management through the implementation of the Pacific Urban Agenda as the integrated framework in line with the Pacific Plan. More

Key partners of the Centre are the Commonwealth Secretariat Local Government Forum , Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat PIFS, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and United Nations Human Settlement Programme.

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Sustainable
Development
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Pacific
Urban Agenda
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in the Pacific
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