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More than $152m raised for urban development goals at UN-Habitat

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | | Updated: 2019-05-31 15:54

Development partners on Wednesday pledged to contribute over $152 million aimed at financing the UN-Habitat's urban dimensions of the sustainable development goals, especially goal 11 that seeks to make cities inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

This was announced during a side event at the ongoing UN-Habitat Assembly, with the funding commitment being made by 38 governments, 10 local governments and 32 other organizations including seven companies.

Speaking during the event, Maimunah Sharif, the executive director of UN-Habitat, outlined her strategic plan aimed at helping countries to reduce spatial inequality and poverty as well as enhance the prosperity of cities.

This is in addition to strengthening climate change action, improving the urban environment, and mitigating and responding to the urban crisis.

She said the plan will be guided by the principles of social inclusion and human rights for all including women, children, youth, elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable groups.

Sharif said one of the UN-Habitat's roles will be acting as a center of excellence, providing a point of reference on data, norms, standards, legal frameworks, policies, strategies and urban innovations.

Lars Gronvald, head of cities section, directorate general for international cooperation and development at the European Commission, said sustainable development is currently at the forefront of the European Commission's development strategy because of its link to the transformation of society and sustainability.

Gronvald stressed the need for different types of partnerships to implement the urban agenda.

Armand Roland, mayor of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, said there is a need for integrated development encompassing security, housing, health, mobility, land, waste management, environmental protection and equitable access to urban social services.

Roland said the will to mobilize resources, tools and capacity building was important for managing emerging cities. He termed UN-Habitat as an important partner for local governments.

Alexandre Pinho, Microsoft Global lead for the UN, said the private sector plays an important role in providing technologies for sustainable urbanization.

Pinho said cities are important hubs of opportunity where the digital dimension is critical in planning innovative and sustainable urban development.

"Start with the outcomes and then build the partnerships that you need to create larger impact," he said.

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