More than 20,000 participants gathered in Kuala Lumpur for the 9th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) to deliberate on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. During the Forum, held from 7 to 13 February, World Urban Campaign partners held a large number of events, promoting key messages and urban solutions to support sustainable urbanization. In particular, partners have presented the results of Urban Thinkers Campuses, an initiative by the World Urban Campaign geared to action in order to implement the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the SDGs through strategic alliances of partners. The ninth session of the WUF offered an ideal platform to discuss results and the way forward.

The World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, during its 19th Meeting which was held on 11 February 2018, reaffirmed the role of Urban Thinkers Campuses as a mechanism to support UN-Habitat in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. The Steering Committee further approved 27 applications to host a new round of Urban Thinkers Campuses in 2018, which were received during the most recent Call for Proposals (22 December to 20 January 2018). The new round of campuses have been approved to take place during Phase 3, to start 1 March and end on 7 December 2018.

In 2017, 59 Urban Thinkers Campuses were organized by WUC partners globally. The analysis of the outcomes is ongoing, but already reveals exciting opportunities for future engagement. The Campuses held after the Habitat III Conference (Quito, October 2016) are all geared towards action, with the aim of developing implementable action plans and commitments.


The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) model is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, conceived as an open space for critical exchange between all stakeholders and partners aims to promote sustainable urbanization. It is also envisaged as a platform to advocate for enlightened planning and design, community engagement, good urban governance and management of our cities as advocated in The City We Need (link) and propose urban solutions in addressing urbanization challenges to urban futures.

Since the first Urban Thinkers in Campus organized in October 2014 to start engaging civil society and the private sector through an open process, the model has evolved and attracted a large participation from all urban stakeholders.   The first phase (29 June 2015 to 20 February 2016) included 26 campuses and the participation of  7,847 men and women from 124 countries and 2,137 organizations, representing fourteen constituent groups: Local and Subnational Authorities, Research and Academia, Civil Society Organizations, Grassroots Organizations, Women, Parliamentarians, Children and youth, Business and industries, Foundations and Philanthropies, Professionals, Trade Unions and Workers, Farmers, Indigenous people and the Media. That process led to the formulation of The City We Need 2.0, approved in March 2016 by the WUC Partners, conceived as an action oriented manifesto towards the Habitat III Conference, with key messages, principles and drivers of changes for achieving sustainable urbanization.

After Habitat III in Quito, the WUC steering Committee decided to continue engaging stakeholders in the post-Habitat III era by launching Urban Thinkers Campus Phase 2 (UTC 2.0). The UTC 2.0 was envisaged to be action oriented which will focus on developing actual action plans and implementable road maps in order to implement the New Urban Agenda. Similarly, the UTCs to be held in Phase 3 will continue to broaden and strengthen the engagement of urban stakeholders on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda; define priorities and means of actions; gather individual organizations commitments and agree to roles and responsibilities in the implementation of specific actions. They shall also define action plans combining all priority actions and commitments of stakeholders engaged in the priority actions and agree on an implementable road map with key milestones towards the implementation of priority actions to deliver the New Urban Agenda. Finally, they will be required to share their commitments, action plans and road map publicly through the WUC outreach channels.

Please note: all information on the upcoming UTCs will be made available online on the WUC website on this page (as and when provided by UTC organizers): http://www.worldurbancampaign.org/urban-thinkers-campus

Article by: World Urban Campaign (WUC).