Abu Dhabi Signs Agreement with UN-Habitat to Host 10th World Urban Forum in 2020

Abu Dhabi Signs Agreement with UN-Habitat to Host 10th World Urban Forum in 2020

UAE will be first Arab country to host landmark United Nations Forum

ABU DHABI, 17 October 2018: Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities signed an Agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) for Abu Dhabi to host the tenth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) in 2020. This will be the first time an Arab country hosts the landmark Forum.

WUF10 will be convened by UN-Habitat and jointly organized with the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, along with partners including the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and General Secretariat of the Executive Council.
Established in 2001, WUF is the world’s premier gathering on urban issues. The Forum examines the impact of rapid urbanization and its implications for social, economic and environmental policies in communities, cities and towns. UN-Habitat, the convener of the Forum, is the United Nations focal point for sustainable urban development working for an inclusive and prosperous urban future.

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

In the lead up to the Forum, the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities will host the first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium in partnership with UN-Habitat in April 2019. Key decision makers, city authorities and urban experts from 22 Arab countries engaged in implementing the New Urban Agenda – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, will be invited to exchange views and compare experiences about urban challenges facing fast-changing Arab cities.

H.E Mr. Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, said: “We are extremely pleased Abu Dhabi has been chosen to host the tenth session of the World Urban Forum, particularly as it marks the first time an Arab nation has hosted this global event. Abu Dhabi has already attracted international merit for implementing urban sustainability in innovative ways, having itself experienced a phenomenal shift towards urbanization in a relatively short space of time”.

“This Forum provides an opportunity to showcase these achievements and Abu Dhabi’s role in promoting and implementing sustainable urban development as well as cementing our reputation as a global hub for innovation.”

“I would like to congratulate Abu Dhabi and commend the timely preparations and planning already underway by the city authorities and by the United Arab Emirates Government for this important event,” said UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. “Abu Dhabi, like so many cities in this region, 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.”

H.E. Mr. Falah Al Ahbabi, added: “We are delighted and eager for the opportunity to discuss solutions that are being tested by pioneering cities around the world while also showcasing our city, country and renowned Emirati hospitality. Hosting the World Urban Forum in 2020 also provides the opportunity to celebrate our late Founding Father, His Highness Sheikh Zayed’s vision which put us firmly on the path to sustainable development, as well as recognising our young country’s achievements in what will be the 49th year since the union of our emirates”.

WUF10 will lead to new partnerships and actions to meet the challenges of urban areas. Key topics including human capital, resource management, education and culture, mobility, data and much more, will be discussed during the five-day conference.

The Forum plays a key role in implementing the New Urban Agenda, a framework unanimously adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), laying out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable development. Abu Dhabi strongly supports the New Urban Agenda as it represents its own ideal for creating a sustainable Emirate by preserving and enriching its physical and cultural identity, while improving quality of life for all its residents. Abu Dhabi’s urban development vision encompasses four pillars: economic, social, cultural and environmental.

The Forum will bring together some 20,000 delegates from more than 150 countries. It will provide an opportunity to strengthen relationships and engagement and demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating sustainable and context based practices in developed and developing countries.


About the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM)

The Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM) was established by Law No. 5 of 2018 and is the entity responsible for supporting the growth and urban development of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The expert Authority guides, regulates and monitors urban development activities, improves municipal work to provide comprehensive services and creates higher living standards for residents through the supervision and management of the municipalities and municipal councils.

The DPM ensures the use of best practices in all aspects of its business, and provides advice on urban development and municipal services, in line with the highest international standards. One of the DPM’s top priorities is to fulfil the vision of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, which draws on the vision of our UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Abu Dhabi will host the 10th World Urban Forum (WUF10) in 2020. This will mark the first time an Arab country will host the landmark conference. In close collaboration with UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), the DPM will organize the conference at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).


About UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat is a United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable cities and communities   and provide adequate shelter for all. It works to ensure that cities become drivers of economic prosperity and social development for all.

UN-Habitat has 40 years of global experience in cities and human settlements ranging from working on the highest levels of policy to specific technical issues on the ground.  UN-Habitat has gained universally acknowledged expertise in all urban areas and is the UN’s focal point on urban issues.

For more information go to www.unhabitat.org
Download Press release WUF10 20181017 – Eng

Are Insects the Best City Planners?

Are Insects the Best City Planners?

No offence to all the city planners and urban designers out there, but there is a lot we could learn from the little creatures of the world when it comes to planning an efficient settlement, says sustainable professional Celeste Morgan.

She states that nature has had the time to try out the different things and find out what works best. Moreover biomimicry, which is the practice of matching strategies and patterns seen in nature to solve problems and challenges humans face, has recently helped great in understanding how we can plan cities. Morgan looks at a few examples:


1. Size your city to match your means

Ants have their own community where they work and live in, just like us humans. But they are experts in housing large populations and keeping a balance between density, land use and resources. They know how big a ant nest should be by taking into account of size, available resources and distance to neighbouring settlements.

Of course we also try plan this. For instance, on a sunny day in a park we carefully choose a spot to sit which is a polite distance from others. And as it becomes more crowded we still do the same action even until we have to sit right next to someone (searching for the optimal space). However ants do this as a means for building settlements. Additionally, they are self-sufficient while we get resources from all over the world.


2. Interweave and connect landscapes amongst the city

As bees need a healthy network of vegetation to pollinate, we humans need green infrastructure for our health. But bees,  which could create pollinator habitats in cities that would benefit both bees and urban landscapes, are declining. They would ensure well-distribution across the urban environment. An example of this is being put into action in Portland city in Maine whom recently made a Pollinator Vision Plan to re-plan green corridors and open spaces. The social and ecological benefits are said to be of equal measure, which would contribute to creating a well-scaled mix of large parks and community gardens.


3. Develop the next suburb creating active links with existing suburbs

When ants establish a new nest they trail from the new nest to the existing settlement, and they have a food source available to provide support for the new settlement to blossom. In doing so the new nest has access to the existing resources in the area and infrastructure to the neighbouring settlement.

If we draw parallels to city planning the ants approach to new development ensures well-planned infrastructure which can accommodate growing settlements. This principle applies to social infrastructure, transport and utilities: “connect new communities to existing infrastructure until capacity is exceeded, before building new infrastructure when the new population grows to support it in its own right.”


Of course this doesn’t mean we don’t have any need for city planners. The article gives some attention to how we can learn about city planning from nature which is our greatest resource. By studying nature we have found some core principles of urban planning. However, unfortunately we do not always follow these principles. City planners often lost sight of the masterplan in the work, and compromises are made. Looking from a bug’s perspective might just be the best way to ensure our sustainable future.