1st Experts’ Workshop – Communitas Coalition for Sustainable Cities & Regions

On 5-6 December 2013, in New York, nrg4SD participated at the first Experts’ Workshop of the Communitas – Coalition for Sustainable Cities & Regions in the New UN Development Agenda. Nrg4Sd is a core partner in this initiative, together with ICLEI, Tellus Institute and UNHABITAT.

Communitas Coalition has established a participatory platform to elaborate and provide practitioner and expert input to UN intergovernmental process that is going to define the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be valid post-2015. More specifically, Communitas is paying close attention to the developments of UN’s Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, which has been holding thematic sessions in preparation of a proposal on SDGs for the UN General Assembly.

The Coalition consists of 6 workgroups aiming to discuss and propose solutions, targets and indicators that clearly have a territorial impact, namely:

  • 1) Integrated urban planning & design for city-region connectivity & efficiency and inclusive public space
  • 2) Participatory democracy, poverty & inequalities reduction
  • 3) Prosperity & jobs for all within planetary boundaries with a focus on youth & women
  • 4) Universal access to affordable & quality social services & public utilities incl. shelter, water & sanitation, transport & energy
  • 5) Linkages with rural development, including food security & resources provision
  • 6) Resilience through risk prevention & management & environmental sustainability

Building upon MDG’s experience, and based on the concrete practice of local and subnational governments, the group has been discussing the relevance of sustainable urbanization as a key component in the future UN Development Agenda.

Therefore, Communitas is part of the campaign for an #urbanSDG, as in the project description it seeks to: “(i) contribute to the technical development of an urban Goal on sustainable urbanization with targets related to the economic, social, environmental, spatial and cultural dimensions of sustainable development and a basket of relevant indicators; (ii) ensure the presence, as appropriate, of an urban dimension in the final set of SDGs to be agreed upon.”

During the New York’s workshop, governments, experts, Major groups and Stakeholders, UN Member States and system gathered to reflect and discuss the intergovernmental process that is defining SDGs, with a focus in addressing sustainable urbanization and the role of local and subnational governments in this future framework.

The meeting held six thematic panels for each of the workshop, featuring a presentation by the lead experts followed by a very interesting and technical level discussion on suggestions of sustainable urbanization goals, targets and indicators, and also the best approach to advance the agenda in the SDGs process.

Urbanization is a phenomenon that concerns all levels of government and stakeholders, due the foreseen trends in increasing urban population, expected to achieve two thirds of global population by 2050. In this regard, Nrg4SD advocates and represents the role of subnational governments towards an integrated approach to face urban challenges and in building sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities and regions.

Regarding the contribution of local and regional, Communitas has compiled a booklet of real-world experiences, from questionnaire responses of ICLEI and nrg4SD members, and Communitas Advisory Committee members.

Besides, Communitas also focuses on the complexity of regional/subnational governments, which lead to the understanding that urban and rural development, as well as a city-region approach, must be considered in a holistic and synergetic manner.

As a result of the workshop, Communitas lead experts concluded thematic Issue Papers, with the support of Communitas’ Advisory Committee. It was also released a Executive Summary, with suggestions for a stand-alone Urban SDG, and other proposed targets for each theme.

For a detailed report of the Workshop discussion, please refer to the Outcomes Report.

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