New York, 7 September 2017. In continued efforts to ensure a better, more sustainable urban future, the UfM held in New York City the High-Level Roundtable “Towards implementing the New Urban Agenda in the Mediterranean Region” on 7 September 2017 after participating in the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) on 5 and 6 September. The UfM Urban Agenda represents an action-oriented roadmap to address the challenges of the region at both local and regional levels.
The UfM Roundtable, co-chaired by Ihab Fahmy, UfM Deputy Secretary General, and Joan Clos, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, brought together representatives of key regional and international partner organizations as well as international financial institutions including the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, UNECE, UNESCO, UNIDO, UN Women, UNOPS, UN Environment as well as United Cities and Local Governments, the Cities Alliance, the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, the International Association of Public Transport and Réseau des Villes Euromed.
This Roundtable comes a few months after the adoption of the UfM Urban Agenda by the 43 UfM Ministers at the Second UfM Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development in Cairo in May 2017. It also comes almost one year after the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which resulted in the New Urban Agenda.
During Habitat III, the UfM Secretariat held a networking event jointly with UN-Habitat, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank with the aim of paving the way for an urban agenda for the Mediterranean region.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said that: “Some of the oldest cities of our history are found in the Mediterranean region. They have traditionally used urbanization as a tool for commerce, cultural exchanges and prosperity. Today, more than ever, urbanization can also be used as a powerful engine for youth employment, peace and stability. The New Urban Agenda is an opportunity for the Mediterranean.”
UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy commented that: “Today’s meeting represents a good occasion to build upon synergies amongst key Euro-Mediterranean and global actors, confirm the need to amplify our collective efforts, and exchange best practices on ways to effectively address the root causes of the multi-faceted challenges in one of the most strategic sectors and a key driver for sustainable development in the Mediterranean region, thereby advancing the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Mediterranean region.”