Referring to the result of the Surabaya conference, Climate Change Centre Reading a local stakeholder from UK acting as a climate change advocacy on sustainable urban opportunities (not development), please consider our thoughts on the New Urban Agenda;

From another strong Habitat III meeting, before and after the PrepCom3 conference should completely merge foundational basic elements one #Agenda2030 consensus especially with #Goal11 in sustainable cities.

There has been growing consensus about the devastating impacts that climate change will have on urban areas. Concurrently, urban planning has a role to play in mitigating against climate change, which  are expressed in a number of governmental reports, national planning policies and evolving international legislations; including the new draft urban agenda of 2016.  Urban areas are recognized as key sources of greenhouse gas emissions; however, they can also assist in initiating actions to both reduce emissions and confront the anticipated effects (Krellenberg et al., 2010). Hence the proposed policies being purported in the New Urban Agenda are critical.

Overall, the document is comprehensive and it took a majority of the issues affecting urban centres into consideration. However, it is a high level document that will have to be tailored when being implemented to suit particular context and country settings. The following are the comments I have based on the review that was done.

  1. Throughout I found a greater emphasis on national governments, however, most urban centres worldwide are governed by local governments or municipalities, hence emphasis should also be placed on the role these organizations will play in implementing policies and plans and educating the population on urban climatic issues and impacts.
  2. Policy proposal 22: Under this section there will be a need to target communities, specifically through educational programmes etc.
  3. Policy proposal 28: “regardless of migration status”, Is the urban agenda independent of other policies on migration? Especially in England/Europe where there is now a migration problem and how will this will be addressed? This has to be discussed and refined further.
  4. Policy Proposal 51: “we commit to recognize the working poor in the informal economy” The informal economy has long been a part of cities. These economies play a critical role in cities, but can negatively hinder effective governance; throughout cities worldwide the need to practice good governance often trumps this aspect. However, in achieving this and to ensure inclusivity, the six priorities of inclusive cities (urban population growth, infrastructure provision, legal reform, access to support services, privatisation of services and citizens involvement in decision making) should be followed.
  5. Policy Proposal 54: The notion of “decent job” is being promulgated a lot in development documents, however, what constitutes decent job is not known or understood by the poor and marginalized. This needs to be addressed as finding and accepting jobs by the poor, especially in countries in the global south is often not met with such scrutiny.
  6. Policy Proposal 57: “environmentally sound planning”, A definition of this concept will have to be developed based on context to be used by respective urban managers, within specific urban centres.
  7. Policy Proposal 60: “Containing urban sprawl” with a thrust to reduce the use of fossil fuel and the emission of Carbon dioxide, It is pertinent to give consideration to increasing densities vertically instead of horizontally and leaving more green paces to assist with both the mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts.
  8. Policy Proposal 66: Commitment to develop renewable and affordable energy sources should be taken a bit further and include options to let the remaining fossil fuel stay in the ground (in oil producing countries).
  9. Policy Proposal 67: “Sustainable and resilient buildings” there is need for inclusion of required guidelines in local government policies that has to be met before planning and building permission is granted by the relevant agencies.
  10. Policy Proposal 68: The lack of good governance in some countries encourage and perpetuate the development of slums and informal settlements, however, there needs to be effective policies to address the creation of these and where existing to regulate them.
  11. Policy Proposal 77: “Approaches to urbanization”, This would have to consider the policies that are existing and how they can be strengthened, again based on context. What is the aim? to temper or encourage urbanization?
  12. Policy Proposal 79: Proper checks and balances has to be implemented to ensure that all the relevant guidelines and procedures are adhered to.
  13. Policy Proposal 85: I particularly like this policy statement and it is to be incorporated in all aspects of the management of all cities as inclusivity and promoting rights to the city is key to guaranteeing that all the other aspects work.
  14. Policy Proposal 88: This policy statement will also be critical in contributing to the reduction of fossil fuel use and the emissions of carbon dioxide. Whether this will be enough to push us towards the target decided on in the Paris climate Agreement is left to be seen, however it is a start.
  15. Policy Proposal 89: This needs to be broken down further to include actual evacuation plans for urban centres/cities and an aspect to educate the residents about these plans.
  16. Policy Proposal 91: I would suggest creating a Geographic Information System that will be able to accommodate and incorporate all the aspect to readily undertake an analysis.
  17. Policy Proposal 94: “Shifting from predominantly private ownership to rental and other tenure options” “to prevent segregation” Is this purporting that government will be renting through subsidies etc? Needs to be clarified as this would be contradictory as renting through the private sector will not address segregation it will further promote it.
  18. Policy Proposal 97: This needs to be further broken down to include the mandatory inclusion of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures to reduce the effects from the expected impacts.
  19. Policy Proposal 103: “Support better coordination between transport and urban… Is this referring to the designated transport authority and/or ministry etc.? Needs to be clarified
  20. Policy Proposal 106: “Sustainable water management systems” Any urban water management system must make allowances for reducing precipitation and increased temperatures, complete with the solutions to address how short fall from these these will be accounted for.
  21. Policy Proposal 108: The addition of waste to energy should be factored in as well.
  22. Policy Proposal 111: Life and lifestyles in urban centres are often eclectic therefore preservation of heritage should be at all levels and should include cuisine as well.
  23. Policy Proposal 127: This could be done through public/private partnerships
  24. Policy Proposal 130: Mention is made about the Green Climaet Fund, however, there might be need to access other financial avenues.
  25. Policy Proposal 131: “collaborating with insurance and reinsurance institutions”Is this leaning towards climate insurance? If yes, how will it be implemented in urban centres in most countries in the Global south and how will it be financed and what role will developed countries lay in this regard?
  26. Policy Proposal 149: “It should avoid duplication” There should be a mandatory policy which speaks to integration and coordination in this regard, as for too long urban centre management has suffered from duplication, which is also a deterrent to effective management.
  27. Policy Proposal 153: This is setting out a timeline for review and reporting on progress, however, in policy proposal 147, there is mention of this being voluntary? This needs to be revisited and a mandatory review and reporting set that should be agreed by everyone concerned.


Ms. D Miller, Reading University

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