Exactly a year after the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, the first Urban Breakfast in Asia-Pacific was organized by UN-Habitat Philippines and held in Quezon City.
An advocacy activity initiated in the lead-up to Habitat III, Urban Breakfasts are conducted in collaboration with various esteemed partners. They’re aimed at creating illuminating and refreshing dialogue between key speakers and the audience to reflect on challenges facing sustainable urban development and key considerations in implementing the New Urban Agenda.
The Urban Breakfast in Manila, held on 17 October, kicked off the first training workshop for national government partners of Building Climate Resiliency Through Urban Plans and Designs, a German government funded project with UN-Habitat Philippines as the lead implementor in partnership with national government and five partner cities.
The breakfast, locally dubbed Kapihan at Usapang Urban (Coffee and Urban Conversation), focused on the upcoming 9th World Urban Forum (WUF) as a key platform to review progress cities have made in implementing the New Urban Agenda since its adoption in 2016 and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking about the WUF was Lars Stordal, Regional Partnerships and Monitoring Officer at UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. He highlighted the forum as a good place to facilitate and set up new partnerships and synergies across sectors working towards sustainable urban development, while strengthening existing ones. He also included that 25,000 participants were expected to attend the WUF. While several Philippine mayors and civil society groups have been regular WUF attendees, the discussion on the upcoming forum, slated for February 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was especially interesting and informative in view of its role as a follow-up to the New Urban Agenda and as the first global convening of urban actors and governments after the Habitat III Conference.
The second speaker for the breakfast, Attorney Avelino Tolentino, Deputy Secretary General of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in the Philippines, was a key government official in the preparation of the country’s National Urban Agenda and a delegate to the Habitat III preparatory process as well as the Conference. Attorney Tolentino spoke on the Philippine experience in the development of the New Urban Agenda and its journey on the path to sustainable urban development through localizing the New Urban Agenda principles of better, greener, and smarter cities for local material advocating a more inclusive Philippines, strengthening the rationale behind Philippine participation at the World Urban Forum and ultimately underscoring how Kuala Lumpur was the natural next stop in this journey. “We are in the process of forming the national delegation for the WUF,” Tolentino added.
The Urban Breakfast, moderated by UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager Cris Rollo, was attended by around 50 key personnel from national government agencies, and seamlessly transitioned to the training workshop proper with technical presentations made by Climate Change Adviser Laids Mias-Cea and Urban Planning Adviser Thomas Stellmach, both of UN-Habitat.
The Urban Breakfast was streamed live on Facebook to enable access to the discussion by a wider audience and may be viewed here.