World Urban Forum Recap
By admin February 18, 2020

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With increasing concern about the global climate crisis and unprecedented urbanization, this year’s World Urban Forum theme of “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation” was especially apt. Over 540 events occured, with 13,000 participants discussing the importance of using cities in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

This year’s outcome, the Abu Dhabi Declared Actions, contained commitments from governments, international organizations, civil society, international organizations and academia to further support the SDGs. Participants discussed the opportunities found in cities, including the opportunities for creativity, innovation, and culture, and that “culture is an integral part of the solution to the challenges of urbanization and achieving the New Urban Agenda.” 

The event explicitly mentioned climate change, with many participants agreeing that local governments must play a role in creating resilient and adaptive communities. However, many local governments lack financial support to implement projects such as water management, road maintenance, drainage, land-usage planning, rural irrigation, and disaster risk management. As such, there was a call to action to localize climate finance. 

A notable event was the announcement of the Global Resilient Cities Network, a successor to the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program that was defunded in 2019. Chief Resilience Officers from 100 Resilient Cities have helped design this new network, which will be smaller and take a different approach to city partnerships. The network will have a similar model, providing funding for the Chief Resilience Officers salaries, but is encouraging cities to come up with their own funding and partnerships. As a whole, the network will aim to drive mass collaboration and urban resilience amongst cities in order to address various global climate challenges. 

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