10 December 2020. The second meeting of the UfM Regional Platform on Sustainable Urban Development took place on 10 December 2020 and saw the recommendation by consensus for the adoption of the UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan 2040 for sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities and communities in the Mediterranean and of the UfM Action Plan for Sustainable and Affordable Housing. The meeting concluded with finalised the deliverables of the multi-stakeholder consultative process for the implementation of the “Union for the Mediterranean Urban Agenda”, with the participation of almost 90 representatives from UfM Member States, intergovernmental organizations, universities, NGOs, international financial institutions and donors.
The UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan 2040 and its Housing Action Plan constitute a bridge, between common political, economic, social and ecological goals, between prevalent and emerging challenges and opportunities, between north and south, between Governments, civil society and business, between science and policy, and between policy and action, that promotes synergy, harmony and solidarity in integrated policy planning, policy making and policy implementation within the framework of the overall goal of enhancing peace, stability, security and shared prosperity in the region.
The Regional Platform Meeting was opened by the European Commission’s Deputy Director-General for Regional Policy, Normunds Popens, and concluded by UfM Secretary General, Nasser Kamel. UfM SG stated: “The very complete UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan is the result of a three-year intense collaboration between the European Commission and all 42 UfM Member States. It presents the UfM a collective vision and key principles for actions that are aiming to support more resilient and inclusive cities in the Euro-Mediterranean Area through place-based, integrated policies and investments. The UfM Strategic Action Plan will undoubtedly provide a common space for practical cooperation and knowledge sharing in the area of urban development. I am confident that with this Strategic Action Plan we will further move towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the delivery of both the UN New Urban Agenda and the UfM Urban Agenda, while being inspired from the experience of the Urban Agenda for the EU” throughout the process.
Normunds Popens, Deputy Director-General for Implementation, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission highlighted: “We look forward to joining forces with our current and future partners in promoting and implementing our Strategic Urban Development Action Plan and its Housing Action Plan, through joint activity plans and programmes.”
UN-Habitat Coordinator of the Urban Planning and Design Branch, Shipra Narang Suri, delivered a keynote speech in the meeting: “The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the importance of sustainable urbanization; the need to focus on reduction of inequalities – whether in terms of access to housing and basic services, digital connectivity, livelihoods and opportunities; and the criticality of effective multi-level governance. UfM’s Strategic Urban Development Plan 2040 presents a unique opportunity to mainstream sustainable urbanization in development policy and practice across the region, and to support local, subnational and national governments in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. UN-Habitat stands ready to support the Plan and the UfM in several ways – through our work on National and Sub-national Urban Policies, our capacity development instruments, tools that support participatory inclusive governance, as well as mechanisms for harmonized monitoring and reporting, such as the Global Urban Monitoring Framework and the Voluntary Local Reviews.” Ph.D Shipra Narang Suri, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division, UN-Habitat
Deliberations of the UfM Working Groups on urban regeneration, affordable and sustainable housing, evaluation, monitoring and reporting, as well as discussions in the urban projects Committee paved the way for the conception and drafting of the UfM Strategic Urban Development Action Plan 2040 and its Housing Action Plan.
The two Action Plans were devised by an academic team from the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the Delft University of Technology, with the support of the Dutch Government. The World Heritage Centre at UNESCO contributed to the drafting process as an institutional partner.
The UfM will continue to label and promote potentially viable and bankable projects and initiatives that could be showcased as best practices under the UfM Strategic Action Plan 2040 and its Housing Action Plan.