UN-Habitat, partners highlight efforts to achieve resilient human settlements at #ICHSPD2021

UN-Habitat and partners joined hundreds of organizations and individuals at the 2nd International Conference on Human Settlements Planning and Development, held on October 20-22, 2021.

The virtual conference, organized by the Department of Community and Environmental Resource Planning, University of the Philippines – Los Baños (UP-DCERP), focused on the efforts and practices on managing wicked problems and global risks towards achieving sustainable and resilient human settlements.

This is the second time that UP-DCERP has partnered with UN-Habitat for the ICHSPD. This year, it is also part of the country office’s Urban October celebration.

Setting the stage for the entire conference, UN-Habitat Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) Mr. Atsushi Kurosawa provided the keynote address and shared UN-Habitat’s perspectives on “Resilient and Sustainable Human Settlements amid Global Risks.”

Mr. Kurosawa highlighted the impacts of global heating and climate disasters that we are experiencing around the world and stressed that cities, while responsible for much of the green house gas emission, are also the key in achieving both net-zero emission and climate adaptation goals. He also shared the different cities and climate change initiatives UN-Habitat is supporting in cities and communities across the region, including the Building Climate Resiliency through Urban Plans and Designs (BCRUPD).

Through its projects, Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI) and BCRUPD, UN-Habitat explored and demonstrated innovative solutions to pressing human settlements challenges particularly on marine plastic litter (MPL) and urban resilience.

In the session organized by HOCCI titled “Marine Litter in the Urban Agenda”, experts provided different perspectives on the challenges on and solutions to MPL.

Human Settlements Officer for UN-Habitat ROAP Bernard Barth discussed the intersect of MPL and Sustainable Development Goal 11, with focus on the wellbeing of cities. Dr. Vesna Lavtizar, Policy Research from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, outline the global impacts of plastics on oceans; while Dr. Nanne van Hoytema, Marine Ecologist from Arcadis, discussed how cities and towns can protect the marine life from litter.

Providing the Philippine perspective, Ma. Delia M. Valdez, Solid Waste Management Division Chief of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau, shared the Philippine government’s strategy to address marine litter articulated in the recently launched National Action Plan on Marine Litter. EnP. Bhen Aguihon, City Coordinator for HOCCI and BCRUPD, followed this with his discussion on how to localize the NPOA-ML in consideration of spatial planning dimensions.

In the organized session “Developing Resilient and Green Human Settlements Framework: Sharing National and Global Perspectives in Promoting Resilient and Pandemic-Ready Urban Systems,” DHSUD presented the framework and took the opportunity to initiate public discourse and solicit inputs from various experts from the housing and urban planning sector.

These experts were Carmeli Chavez, Professor at the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning; Bert Smolders, Honorary Chair of the World Urban Campaign; and Congressman Jose Francisco “Kiko” Benitez, Committee Chair of Housing and Urban Development at the House of Representatives. They provided recommendations to enhance the framework such as focusing on the vulnerable sectors, integrating a systems-thinking approach, and taking lessons from the pandemic to adopt a more human-centric approach to urban development, to name a few.

In its draft form, the framework adapts the vision of the Philippine New Urban Agenda and the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Being in the early stages of formulation and considering the inputs raised in the conference, the framework will undergo further enhancement through expert group meetings, and inter-agency consultations before going to the approval and rollout stage.

UN-Habitat also engaged in other parts of the conference namely the Plenary Discussion on Urban Resilience where Climate Change Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Laids Cea served as Panel Reactor, and the virtual exhibition where UN-Habitat shared information about its programs and projects.

Click here to know more about #ICHSPD2021.

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