Countdown Begins to the World’s Premier Gathering on Urban Issues

WUF10 Handover

NAIROBI 9 January 2020 - It is the final countdown to the Tenth Session of World Urban Forum (WUF10) which takes place in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates from 8-13 February 2020. This is the first time an Arab Nation hosts the world’s premier gathering on urban issues. The Forum is a high level, open and inclusive platform for addressing the challenges of sustainable urbanization.

The Forum is convened by UN-Habitat, the United Nations focal point for sustainable urban development in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, General Secretariat of the Executive Council, and the ultra-modern Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

“It is important to highlight that after nine sessions the Forum comes to the Arab Region for the first time. Sustainable urbanization strategies will be critical to addressing the social and environmental challenges facing the region and will help ensure lasting peace and prosperity,” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif during the signing of the hosting agreement.

“Like so many cities in the region, Abu Dhabi is undergoing rapid and transformative urbanization and we commend the focus on sustainability shown by the Government. This open, inclusive Forum, with its high-level participation, is a unique opportunity to focus on how urban development can be implemented in a sustainable way around the world,” she concluded.

The Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF 10) whose theme is Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation is the first major global event to take place following the call by United Nations Secretary – General Antonio Guterres for a decade of action to deliver the SDGs by 2030.

The call for a decade of action stems from a request made to the Secretary-General in the political declaration of the SDG Summit, which was adopted on 24 September 2019 by the heads of state and government in attendance. The text asks the Secretary-General to “engage Governments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders in generating solutions and accelerating action to address systemic gaps in implementation, as we embark on a decisive decade for the 2030 Agenda. We also call upon the Secretary-General to organize an annual moment to highlight inspiring action on the Goals, in the context of the general debate of the General Assembly” As part of this, the UN Secretary – General will convene an annual platform to drive the decade of action with the first one scheduled to take place in September 2020, as part of the UN’s commemoration of its 75th anniversary.

Convened every two years, the World Urban Forum provides the ideal complementary platform for a wide range of stakeholders in sustainable urban development to take stock of progress by cities and human settlements towards achieving the SDGs every two years.

Several heads of state and governments are expected to grace the event in addition to government ministers, heads of UN entities and over 200 mayors and governors. Participants will also include representatives of civil society organizations, local government, the private sector, academic and research institutions, inter-governmental organizations, United Nations entities, foundations, media and parliamentarians. 

Six Dialogues Sessions at the WUF10 will take stock of emerging innovative approaches and practices in harnessing culture and innovation as drivers of sustainable urbanization and provide greater insights into linkages between urbanization, culture and innovation as a basis for achieving inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements.

The Forum will provide a platform to discuss 21st century city planning within a context of complex and rapid urban development with specific cultural and demographic considerations. It will also showcase the Abu Dhabi Plan through which the city aims realize its long-term sustainable development vision and positioning the Emirate as a benchmark in a region with one of the fastest rates of urbanization in the world.