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Cities across the Asia Pacific region are experiencing rapid growth, which has accelerated urban development and provided opportunities for increased access to the diverse goods and services available in urban areas. However, despite significant progress in many areas, some indicators in SDG 11 reveal regression in the region since 2000, including in key areas such as inclusion, safety, equality and environmental impact. Challenges include providing housing and tenure security (with absolute numbers of slum dwellers still rising), lagging infrastructure needs and services for the rapidly increasing urban populations. Reversing increasing exclusion and inequality, and turning cities into safe spaces for women and girls is paramount. Significant action needs to be taken to make cities more resilient to the impacts of natural disasters and climate change, and to promote resource efficiency and circular economies to reduce pressures on natural resources and eco-systems. According to the Asian Development Bank, cities in Asia and the Pacific generate roughly 80% of the region’s GDP output1. If mobilized effectively, such economic strength and diversity in combination with cities’ quality education and proximity to power has the potential to foster innovative solutions not only to support local needs, but to meet the targets of Goal 11 and support the achievement of many other Sustainable Development Goals. For this it is necessary to mobilize broadbased support for ‘localizing’ the SDGs – involving urban stakeholders in local implementation, in the process of national strategies development and in monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

Environment and Development Division +66 2 288 1234 [email protected]