“Our struggle for sustainability will be won or lost in the cities.”
Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, 2012

Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Urban Development In Asia and the Pacific, 2-3 December 2014, UNCC, Bangkok, Thailand

The United Nations has recognized the importance of urbanization. The Expert Group Meeting on “Sustainable Urban Development in Asia and the Pacific: Towards a New Urban Agenda” was organized to identify priority issues that could be deliberated at the upcoming 6th Asia Pacific Urban Forum (May 2015) and leading into Habitat III (October 2016).

News in 2014

Expert Group Meeting on Sustainable Urban Development In Asia and the Pacific



“our struggle for sustainability will be won or lost in the cities”
Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, 2012
2-3 December 2014, UNCC, Bangkok, Thailand

The United Nations has recognized the importance of urbanization and will be convening the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016. A “New Urban Agenda” will be adopted then. Habitat III will be the first United Nations global summit after the adoption of the “Internationally Agreed Development Goals” in 2015. UN Secretary General when addressing a delegation of mayors in 2012 said, “our struggle for sustainability will be won or lost in the cities”.

The Asia-Pacific region is still predominantly rural but urbanizing rapidly and with it, social, environmental and economic implications. What’s staggering of the region is the numbers or statistics – the region currently has an urban population of more than 2 billion that includes 14 megacities with a population of over 227 million and is expected to reach the 50% level of urbanization in 2018. Megacities, cities and towns in the region has vast and growing ecological footprints and economic growth and urbanization has been accompanied by growing environmental challenges such as air pollution, waste generation and congestion. Sustainable urban development will play a critical role in the pursuit of sustainable development in Asia-Pacific, home to 53% or the world’s urban population.

The Expert Group Meeting on “Sustainable Urban Development in Asia and the Pacific: Towards a New Urban Agenda” was organized to identify priority issues that could be deliberated at the upcoming 6th Asia Pacific Urban Forum (May 2015) and leading into Habitat III (October 2016).

The Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF) is a multi-stakeholder forum organized periodically every 4 – 5 years by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) with the aim to provide a regional platform for urban actors to –

  • Discuss emerging and critical urban development issues from the perspectives of different stakeholders;
  • Share experiences on good practices and approaches; and
  • Explore cooperation opportunities and links to regional and global processes and development objectives.

The Expert Group Meeting is a multi-stakeholder meeting providing for open dialogue and discussion that reflected regional concerns and priorities. The EGM was organized with the following objectives:

  • Identify and discuss emerging issues related to the sustainable urban development in Asia and the Pacific reflecting key inputs from stakeholders working in the urban sector;
  • Identify and discuss priority issues for the region in relation to the post-2015 Development Agenda and Habitat III, which could be discussed at APUF-6; and
  • Substantially engage key regional partners in the organization of APUF-6 as a multi-stakeholder forum, specifically through an inclusive participatory process.

The Director, Environment and Development Division (EDD), ESCAP, Mr. Rae-Kwon Chung welcomed all the participants when he spoke at the Opening Session of the EGM.

FIG, represented by its President, participated and made a presentation outlining the importance of land and secure tenure rights in addressing the sustainable urban development challenges and aspirations in Asia and the Pacific.


The first APUF was held in Bangkok in 1993. The Sixth APUF will precede the High-Level Regional Preparatory Meeting to Habitat III for Asia-Pacific aiming to –

  • Discuss persistent and emerging issues related to sustainable urban development in Asia Pacific, and in particular priority areas that should be addressed in the Post 2015 Development Agenda; and
  • Provide recommendations to the High-Level Regional Preparatory Meeting for Habitat III for Asia-Pacific in terms of priority issues for the region to be considered in the “New Urban Agenda” to be adopted at Habitat III.

The outcomes of both APUF-6 and the High Level Regional Preparatory Meeting are expected to feed directly into the Habitat III process.

TEO CheeHai
FIG president
December 2014

11 December 2014


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