Weekly Urban News Update
In This Update
ANordic region will be first to implement New Urban Agenda

The Stockholm-based think tank Global Utmaning has declared that Nordic countries will be the first to implement the New Urban Agenda, making the case that adoption is essential to meeting the more ambitious objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This opinion has been a constant in Nordic and greater European positions throughout the negotiations of the NUA, and Sweden specifically has been spearheading Nordic efforts to get the agenda off the ground. Global Utmaning intends to lead civil society in pushing for the incorporation of the SDGs and the NUA in Nordic Policy, and they hope to make their experiences applicable on a broad scale.

Read the full report here.
BOp-Ed: diplomats must learn from urbanists- and vice versa

Former senior advisor for global cities at the U.S. Department of State and deputy U.S. negotiator for Habitat III Ian Klaus pens a piece for Citiscope, reflecting on lessons learned from his experiences as a negotiator and answering some unresolved questions from Quito. Klaus looks back at the admittedly rickety negotiations leading up to the Habitat III conference in October, and notes that issues stemmed from disconnect between the three forms of knowledge needed for the NUA: urban dynamics, United Nations politics and practices, and larger geopolitical issues, from climate change to migration. Since being an expert in a single one of these fields is a tall order, Klaus urges that educating diplomats on urban issues is only a part of the problem; urbanists are not multilateral diplomats, and so are no more equipped than diplomats to negotiate such a broad spectrum of issues. Each would do well to learn from the other's perspective going forward with the New Urban Agenda. As an organization that strives to be a connection between civil society, government and the private sector, IHC Global encourages these objectives.

Read the full article  here.
Rise of cities a challenge to sustainable urban development

This article gives an update on the current state of cities, and the strides that have been taken by governments, civil society and the private sector to adopt the New Urban Agenda and meet the challenges each city presents. Nearly 1.5 million people become urban dwellers every week, and by 2050 the urban population will account for more than two-thirds of the world population. With these harrowing statistics in mind, it is important to set the New Urban Agenda off to a good start. The article goes through some of the steps that have already been taken- The World Economic Forum has been actively engaged with UN-Habitat on implementation; city authorities like Mayor of Quito Mauricio Rodas have pledged their participation; and members of the private sector like Arup group have begun to bridge the gap with civil society. 

Read more updates on the New Urban Agenda implementation  here.
Two EU: Urban developing world requires urban responses

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted an opinion Wednesday, stating that "The European Union should increase its cooperation with local and regional authorities in the developing world if the United Nations is to achieve its goal of making cities more 'inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable' by 2030." The opinion aims to be a contribution to the European Union's continuing review of the European Consensus on Development, which was adopted in 2005 and is being revised to include the SDGs. The opinion accommodates many of the current issues facing the European Union, and calls for the EU to involve more lower level governments, multinational organizations and private partnerships to invest in more initiatives in the Global South. This opinion comes out in preparation for a meeting In July 2017, hosted by the CoR and the European Commission- the Assises of Decentralised Cooperation for Development - with local and regional authorities from developing countries to explore how to develop city-to-city and region-to-region cooperation on issues such as climate action, economic development and migration.

Read the EU report  here.
NewsIn the news and around the web
  • Citylab reflects on hard lessons learned from Chicago's public housing reform here.
  • Michael Berkowitz of 100 Resilient Cities calls attention to a new era of climate action here.
  • See why Planet Earth II's episode on cities is so startling here.
  • Is Zuma's ANC ruining the South African dream? Find out here.
  • A devastating fire ran through a shanty town in Manila early this week, costing nearly 15,000 people their homes. Learn more here.

People take videos of a flag-raising ceremony during smog at Tiananmen Square after a red alert was issued for heavy air pollution in Beijing, China on December 20, 2016. China's smog problem is becoming more alarming, affecting ecosystems and the health of millions of people. Source: Business Insider
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