World Urban Campaign Assembly calls for stronger partnerships and advocacy to support action to accelerate the implementation the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs
Nairobi, 14th October 2021 – The World Urban Campaign (WUC) Partners gathered yesterday in its annual virtual WUC Assembly Meeting to gather committed organizations. Led by Sri Husnaini Sofjan (Huairou Commission) and Sandeep Chachra (ActionAid India), elected Chairs of the WUC Steering Committee, the assembly attracted more than 60 organizations to delve into the successes and actions of the past year and reflect on future activities.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, conveyed her vision of the World Urban Campaign to better support the mission and mandate of the agency. The Executive Director commanded the fact that the WUC is thriving on partnerships, with partners complementing each others rather than competing in order to build synergies to catalyze actions. She urged the WUC to engage multiple audiences to campaign on sustainable and inclusive recovery and long-term resilience in cities. ‘The campaign should promote city changers that have made an impact on their communities and provide solutions to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals’ she said. ‘The coronavirus pandemic is a stark reminder that urban areas need to be prepared for a dynamic and unpredictable future, resulting in devastating setbacks to advance inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities’ she said. This raises key questions about the future of cities. ‘You need to ask what kind of cities are needed to support the future of humanity? How do we envisage and reimagine the future of cities? What do we want our cities to look like by focusing on Transforming our Cities for a Better Urban Future, the theme of the 11th session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Katowice in 2022’. She also requested the WUC partners to reflect on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and localizing the Sustainable Development Goals, towards the United Nations High-Level Meeting to be held in April 2022 to review the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
Sri Husnaini Sofjan, elected WUC Chair, emphasized the need for the global campaign to be driven by ambition, collaboration, partnerships and results. She also highlighted how the WUC needs to come up with messages to adapt to multiple scales and spaces. ‘When it comes to transforming cities for a better urban future, we are facing a diversity of actors and spaces with different externalities at play in terms of action. As campaign partners we operate at many levels and we need to start localizing our actions immediately in order to collectively turn actions into practice.”
Sandeep Chachra, elected WUC Chair, also concurred on the need to move to action and give space to everyone by including the most powerless voices and the most marginalized groups in cities and communities. ‘The WUC is a collective that should represent our urban diversity at every level. We also need new campaigns that can invigorate public action, to encourage and inspire actions. We cannot just be a campaign in theory, we need to act on all levels, get on the ground and include underrepresented groups to bring new facets to change the prospect of cities’.
Sandeep Chachra also welcomed the Partners Constituent Group (PCG) Chairs and Co-Chairs: Christian Huebel from the City of Mannheim (Local and Subnational Authorities), Circe Gama Monteiro from INCITI Recife (Research and Academia), Ben Wong from Compass Housing Australia (Civil Society Organizations), Malick Gaye from ENDA Tiers-Monde (Grass Roots Organizations), Limota Goroso Giwa from the Huairou Commission (Women), Robert Gillen from World Vision (Children and Youth), Tanya Huyzer from Arcadis NV (Business and Industries) and Ishthiaque Zahir Titas from the International Union of Architects (Professionals). They commented on the role that their constituencies can play in advocating and engaging others towards the global campaign goals and actions, with UN-Habitat.
An open assembly dialogue allowed new interventions by participants who converged on the need for action and impact at the local and regional levels and on how to amplify the voices of all constituencies in order to implement the New Urban Agenda under the Decade of Action. With just nine years to go to meet the SDG targets, the WUC needs to have ambitious goals commensurate with the global effort needed to deliver the 2030 promise under the Decade of Action. There is an increasing urgency to collaborate as one rather than independently. We need to promote this spirit to build synergies as we have a future at risk and do not have more time to waste.
With the new action campaign entitled ‘The City We Need NOW!’ to be launched by the end of 2021, the WUC partners will commit to double their efforts to campaign and engage towards action in a spirit of collaboration. This campaign should remind the world that cities are places of opportunities where solutions can be found to face and address the multiple crisis. It will ask people how they can drive change in their cities. The campaign will promote city changers that have made an impact on their communities and solutions for cities to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. Cities have solutions and are accelerators for the implementation of the SDGs. Cities are where a new social contract can emerge to accelerate climate action, ensure peace and health for all.