Asia-Pacific cities called on to increase action for sustainable development at UN urban forum in Seoul
With Asia-Pacific’s urban population projected to increase from 1.8 billion to around 2.8 billion by 2030, city and national government officials were urged to scale up action and responsibility for sustainable development, including tackling climate change and achieving resilience, at the International Forum on Urban Policy for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Seoul, Republic of Korea today.
“The 17 Sustainable Development Goals offer solutions and opportunities for sustainable urban development,” said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in her opening address.
“For cities to be responsive to these Goals however, there is need for strong leadership, better implementation, innovation and financing, as well as the building of data capacities,” added Dr. Akhtar.
The Forum, held from 8-10 June and co-organized by ESCAP, Seoul Metropolitan Government and CityNet, is the first-ever to be dedicated specifically to the role of cities in the Asia-Pacific region in implementing the SDGs.
“There is a need for municipal governments to be more effectively supported and empowered to carry out their mandate and responsibilities, including through broad-based partnerships and enhanced information,” emphasized Mr. Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.
While the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a global initiative, its success will be largely determined by local action. Local government representatives at the Forum will explore the need for increased innovation, technical assistance, cooperation, financing, capacity building and knowledge sharing to support cities in implementing sustainable development initiatives at local and regional levels.
The Forum will provide a multi-stakeholder platform to address these issues, and will exchange experiences and knowledge sharing on the broader role of cities in achieving sustainable urban development. During the Forum, ESCAP and its partners will also present the development of a new Urban SDG Knowledge Platform. This online portal will aim to support city-to-city urban policy sharing and cooperation, facilitating the transfer of innovations, solutions and models for sustainable urban development.
The Forum and the Urban SDG Knowledge Platform are new programmes initiated by ESCAP and its partners in response to the 2030 Agenda, which recognizes the important role that cities play in the pursuit of sustainable development with the inclusion of Goal 11 aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”