The Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) 2018 concluded today at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok as participants gathered to commemorate World Cities Day.
The two-day meeting organized under the theme Advancing Urban Innovations to Achieve SDG 11 and New Urban Agenda drew over 400 participants from more than 40 countries to conclude the observance of Urban October. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities is a cornerstone of localizing the 17 SDGs.
High-level stakeholders expressed commitments to support sustainable and resilient cities through innovation, green growth and well-designed policies to maximize the benefits of local actions. As a highlight of the Forum, the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA) Ceremony 2018 was presented to 36 winners. Prominent awards included the Global Green City given to Hua Hin, Thailand, the Global Green District to Qingdao Sino-German Ecopark, China, and Daintree National Park, Queensland, Australia bagged the honor of Global Low-Carbon Ecological Scenic Spot, among others. The awardees have significantly contributed to sustainable cities and human settlements at the community level.
Opening the Forum, ESCAP Officer-in- Charge Mr. Hongjoo Hahm emphasized innovation as a strategic investment offering benefits to all stakeholders. “Our vision of future cities can be powerful. We recognize that cities, supported by strong partners, can foster innovation and build great communities.”
While the SDGs are global, uniting diverse stakeholders is integral to making them a reality and determining the future of urban environments. “If we are successful in working toward the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda, we will reshape the cities of the Asia-Pacific region, so they look and function very differently than they do today,” Mr. Hahm continued.
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS and former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative highlighted that the magnitude of urban challenges can be overcome to foster parallel opportunities. “If cities are hubs of dynamism, change and opportunity, they are also places of exploitation, disease and unemployment. As world leaders, we are committed to Sustainable Development Goal 11 in the 2030 Agenda – to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Urbanization offers unprecedented opportunities for higher living standards, life expectancy, literacy levels, efficient resource management and employment opportunities for women.”
The Forum concluded by calling for greater efforts to speed up the transition to green growth through developing a circular economy, scaling-up financing for sustainable urban infrastructure, sustainably managing urban water, applying innovative technologies for smart cities, building enhanced partnership and creating international green model cities.
The Forum was organized by the Global Forum on Human Settlements with support from ESCAP, in cooperation with Global One Belt One Road Association (GOBA), the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and other organizations.
Mr. Ricardo Dunn, Chief, Strategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAP
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