Under the United Nation’s Habitat, the World Urban Forum is an international conference dedicated to urban issues across the glove. The Forum has 3 objectives:
- Raise awareness of sustainable urbanization among stakeholders and constituencies, including the general public.
- Improve the collective knowledge of sustainable urban development through inclusive open debates, sharing of lessons learned and the exchange of best practices and good policies.
- Increase coordination and cooperation between different stakeholders and constituencies for the advancement and implementation of sustainable urbanization.
The WUF has gained international attention and has become one of the most inclusive forums within the United Nations. It’s next session, WUF9 taking place in February 2018 in Malaysia will focus on inclusive sustainable urban development. This forum follows the notion that it is a right for all citizens to have equal access to the services and benefits a city provides. Within many urban settings, access to resources is stratified not only across class but also across abilities. For instance, this forum will discuss inclusive transportation. There is a call for the expansion of public transportation to span across the entirety of the city, instead of centralizing busses and rails to certain parts. However, there is a large push for an increase in accessibility across other spectrums. There is a need for not only handicapped-friendly public transportation, but also transportation with audio for those who are blind and visually impaired, and accommodations for the elderly. The creation of inclusive mechanisms fully allows a city to reach a new level of development.
Another aspect of the WUF9 is their dedication to collaboration and coordination amongst various stakeholders and constituencies. In 2014 the Urban Thinkers Campus endorsed the idea of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) in which acts as representative groups of the general assembly, all members of the United Nations, within the major international forums such as WUF. GAP will play a large role in the collaboration and coordination efforts within WUF9. They will actively advocate for marginalized groups, whether it be the disabled, elderly, indigenous groups, women and children etc. Having these representative groups present at WUF9 allows for conversation to be directed back to the needs of those marginalized and holds them accountable for implementing effective strategies for making sure all citizens have access to the benefits and services of a city.
Overall, the efforts set forth by GAP and WUF9 have actively worked to involve all types of people into the conversation of development and allow cities as well as its citizens to flourish.