What is the World Urban Forum?

The World Urban Forum focuses on improving urban environments and is a sub-category under the UN Habitat. WUF9 focuses on implementing the New Urban Agenda that was adopted in Habitat III. The conference will take place in Kuala Lumpur in 2018 and the theme of WUF9 will be sustainable urbanization and it incorporates the SDGs and the NUA. It is the first WUF to directly work with the New Urban Agenda. WUF9 allows for different stakeholders to come together to talk about issues surrounding urbanization and how it can be made more sustainable and inclusive. For example in WUF9 there will be four major assemblies during the conference. They center around gender equality, businesses, children and youth rights, and the grassroots movement. All of the assemblies focus on initiatives that strengthen the rights of their constituents in the increasingly urbanized world. Past WUF conferences have focused on multiple issues surrounding urban spaces. WUF7 focused on quality in urban areas and WUF6 highlighted the challenges for an urban future and how to incorporate the SDGs into advancing that urban future. All of the WUF conferences have centered around the problems that come with an ever advancing urban world. The WUF shows that cities and States must come together to make concrete plans to secure urban areas and make sure that everyone is considered when these mega urban centers are being created.

Given that the WUF falls under the consideration of Habitat III, then the GAP plays an important role in the outcome of WUF. I think that the addition of the GAP in the WUF allows for different constituencies to be able to come to the table and discuss what they hope to see out of urbanization. On the other hand, because WUF works within the boundaries of Habitat III, it is possible that center groups that are not apart of the GAP are then left out of the discussion. However, the GAP encompasses 16 different groups, all of which are clearly named and given equal representation in the eyes of Habitat III. Due to the more inclusive nature of the GAP, I do not foresee there being an issue of one group getting left out of the discussions. One issue that could present itself is that because there are so many groups trying to advance their own viewpoints, it could become difficult to reach a consensus. The GAP and WUF are beneficial in that everyone is given a spot at the table to come together and look for ways to solidify and inclusive urban future.