Abu Dhabi, UN-Habitat host first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium

ABU DHABI, 27th March, 2019 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, DPM, has announced that it will host the first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium, PAUDS, in partnership with United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, on Sunday, 31st March 2019.

The event will see 100 key decision makers, city authorities and leading urban experts from the Arab countries will be charting a forward-looking agenda to represent Arab cities at the tenth World Urban Forum, WUF10, in 2020.

This follows the signing of an agreement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MOFAIC, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities with the UN-Habitat for Abu Dhabi to host the tenth session of the World Urban Forum.


PAUDS will provide the central platform for the exchange of strategies to make Arab cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and for experts to discuss the challenges facing fast-changing Arab cities. One of the key components of the Symposium is an ‘Idea Lab’ which aims to generate a set of 20 core considerations that, if addressed, will accelerate transformation of, and shape the priorities for, the way Arab cities tackle urban sustainable development in the future.

Participants in the Ideas Lab will identify and rank the most important priorities relating to the four pillars of urban sustainable development – social, economic, environmental and cultural. The final list of the 20 most important priorities will be posted on the website of the Symposium, together with an invitation to the network of cities, partners and stakeholders of UN-Habitat to crowdsource solutions. The most promising solutions will be part of the agenda that will be presented by DPM at WUF 2020.

Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, said, “Creating and promoting PAUDS in close collaboration with the regional office of UN-Habitat will be a significant opportunity for Abu Dhabi to act as a hub for innovation and exchange, connecting experts from different Arab cities. Our region is predominantly urban, with growing rates of urbanization and uneven patterns of urban planning.

“Supporting our leadership vision, we need to ensure that the shift towards accelerated urbanization is meticulously planned. Advancing with a common agenda for sustainable cities is a key priority for urban stakeholders across the Arab world. I firmly believe that the success of any significant initiative for the future of sustainable Arab cities will depend on a strong network of local and regional multi-stakeholder alliances.”

“One of the core themes that will be discussed during PAUDS will be how collaboration and ‘big data’ can be used to help shape the future of sustainable urban development. It is more important than ever to understand the consequences and uses of data, particularly how to capitalize on the emerging opportunities it presents to improve the quality of life for our citizens and enable them to thrive,” he explained.

The World Urban Forum plays a key role in implementing the New Urban Agenda, a framework unanimously adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), laying out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable development.

Abu Dhabi strongly supports the New Urban Agenda as it is closely aligned with its own vision for creating a sustainable Emirate by preserving and enriching its physical and cultural identity, while improving quality of life for all its residents. Abu Dhabi’s urban development vision also encompasses the four pillars of economic development, social development, cultural development and environmental protection.

WUF10 will be convened by UN-Habitat and jointly organised with the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, along with partners including MOFAIC, the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

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