As part of its continued efforts to ensure a better, more sustainable urban future, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has held a High-Level Roundtable titled ‘Towards implementing the New Urban Agenda in the Mediterranean Region’. The event took place in New York on 7 September 2017, following the UN High-Level meeting on the New Urban Agenda and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
With the Mediterranean region characterised by one of the fastest urbanisation rates in the world – almost 60% are already living in urban areas – the UfM Urban Agenda represents an action-oriented roadmap for the future, aimed at ensuring urban sustainability and resilience with a greater socio-economic impact on the ground, thus improving the quality of life of the peoples of the Mediterranean region.
The roundtable brought together representatives of key regional and international partner organisations such as the European Commission and relevant UN agencies, as well as international financial institutions including the European Investment Bank (EIB), the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
UfM Deputy Secretary General Ihab Fahmy described the meeting as a good occasion to build on synergies among key Euro-Mediterranean and global actors, adding that it confirmed “the need to amplify our collective efforts… to effectively address the root causes of the multi-faceted challenges in one of the most strategic sectors and a key driver for sustainable development in the Mediterranean region.”
Pointing out that the Mediterranean was home to some of the world’s oldest cities, UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos said the region had traditionally used urbanisation as a tool for commerce, cultural exchanges and prosperity. “Today, more than ever, urbanisation can also be used as a powerful engine for youth employment, peace and stability. The New Urban Agenda is an opportunity for the Mediterranean,” he said.
Last week’s roundtable comes a few months after the adoption of the UfM Urban Agenda by the 43 UfM Ministers at the Second UfM Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Urban Development, in Cairo in May 2017.