The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and CityNet jointly hosted an international forum in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 8 to 10 June, 2016 to discuss key issues in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to cities.

The United Nations projections show that for the first time, more people in our region will be living in cities than in rural areas in 2018. This proportion is set to rise to two-thirds in as few as 35 years. Cities will thus play a crucial role in pursuing sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region.

On their part, local governments are challenged by several difficulties in carrying out sustainable development initiatives in areas of financing, governance, access to appropriate and affordable technologies, and data availability. In this regard, discussions on how to facilitate and support cities in achieving the SDGs, particularly Goal 11 which seeks to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” and identifying practical approaches and programs for sharing policy experiences, best practices, as well as innovative technologies among city stakeholders were held during the International Forum on Urban Policy for the Sustainable Development.

More specifically, the Forum served as a venue to:

  • Discuss the role of cities in achieving the SDGs and share experiences in sustainable urban development through focused discussions on selected targets under the urban Goal 11 and other goals and targets relevant to urban issues.
  • Provide a venue to share urban policy examples on various areas including urban planning, transportation, water management, environment and climate change, housing, e-government, safer cities.
  • Explore opportunities for regional and international cooperation to support the action, follow-up and review of the SDGs, and in particular, Goal 11.
  • Present and discuss the concept of an Urban SDG Knowledge Sharing Platform to support local action for the achievement of the SDGs.
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