The 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9) will be held in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. The World Urban Forum is an important conference for governments to discuss and address urban issues. WUF9 will focus on implementation of the New Urban Agenda and using the New Urban Agenda as a tool for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. This is an opportunity to examine the overlaps between the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. No.11 of the SDGs “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is especially relevant to the New Urban Agenda. Holding WUF9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will also help push the progress in building “cities for all” forward since with the efforts of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific , Southeast Asia sets an example for other regions of the world in implementing inclusive policies for persons with disabilities. Besides member states, the General Assembly of Partners will participate in WUF9 to influence the policy making and implementation process as well. Other stakeholders from various sectors that have their own vision on inclusive cities such as the Special Olympics should also be included in the process.
The conception of an inclusive city by the Special Olympics focuses on four aspects for persons with intellectual disabilities: attitudes, access, opportunities and social inclusion. While the definition of persons with disabilities in the SDGs and in the New Urban Agenda is broader, persons with intellectual disabilities are included in this definition. The Special Olympics recognizes the challenges posed by growing urban population and aims at improving inclusivity and accessibility of cities through their games and programs. For example, since the Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2019, Abu Dhabi is one of the four pilot cities for the inclusive city initiative of Special Olympics. While the Special Olympics is seeking ways to make a positive impact on the Middle East and North Africa region, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia has a lot of space for improving accessibility and inclusivity of cities in the region. Knowledge transfer and experience sharing with other regional agencies of the UN can move things forward. But multistakeholders such as businesses and NGOs can also provide valuable insights on building “cities for all” in MENA region. Therefore, on international governance platforms like the WUF9, participation of stakeholders from different sectors is indispensible and should be encouraged.