by Prapti Verma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) jointly convened the Forum as a regional contribution to the Follow-up and Review of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the localisation of the SDGs and the review of SDG11 in the context of the 2018 review of the SDGs by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. This Partners Forum aimed to bring together early good approaches to the implementation of the NUA and localization of the SDGs. Water Youth Network was invited to this event to make sure that the voice of youth is heard in strategizing the implementation of NUA and bringing the SDGs to local levels. WYN has also been part of the HABITAT III process previously, where the NUA was first introduced.
The forum had an introductory session, which was followed by Break Out group sessions wherein participants were teamed up into groups to discuss issues and challenges, implementing ideas and upcoming innovations. The sessions had different agendas, such as Emerging National Strategies in Localising SDGs and the NUA, Local Action for the SDGs and NUA, and Effective Implementation of the NUA and SDGs in cities.
The major issues and challenges that were identified in implementation of NUA were, lack of inclusive models of decentralised financing, lack of detailed data collection & management, need of an enabling environment to scale up best practices, capacity building, people participation as consultations, monitoring and evaluation, and the need to mainstream the SDGs in national as well as local plans. Delegates at the forum also pointed out that the needs of the people have to be considered as priority. Delegates from Philippines, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia gave examples of implementing ideas as well as incentives that have helped stakeholders to work towards making their cities more sustainable and resilient.
An Interactive Gallery Walk followed the sessions, during which session it was emphasised that there is a need for institutionalization of democratic spaces, giving community a voice, promoting accountability and public participation. Further, the role of Women along with the informal sector should be seen as the means and end of how the SDG or NUA is implemented. Finance questions and mechanisms need to be explored to enable effective implementation including the role of the private sector and local community. Implementation of complex agendas take time and are forever evolving but need to be persistent and go back to the ground to build on ideas and concepts.
The Regional Partners Forum shall produce a Partners Guidance with strategies and priorities to better ensure the full implementation of the NUA in a coordinated way with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The results will be taken forward for broader consultation at the World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (7-13 Feb 2018) and the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok, Thailand (28-30 Mar 2018). The context-tested guidance will also feed into the first Global Report on the Implementation of the NUA, which is due at the next UN General Assembly session of 2018-19.