The process: New Urban Agenda and engagement of persons with disabilities

Participants at WUF 10

Fulfilment of the sustainable development goal 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. cannot be achieved until the cities are suitable for all users including persons with disabilities. By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world will live in urban areas, making urbanization one of the twenty-first century’s most transformative trends posing massive sustainability challenges in housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety among others.

The New Urban Agenda (NUA) is the key document adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016 that proposes ways of readdressing the way cities are planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed to help end poverty and hunger; reduce inequalities; promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieve gender equality; improve human health and well- being; foster resilience; and protect the environment.

To follow up of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the first review of the New Urban Agenda in 2020, the 6th UCLG Congress: World Summit of local and regional leaders was organised in Durban during which the Inclusive and Accessible Cities policy paper was adopted by the United Cities and Local Governments (UCGL). The policy document provides recommendations and priority actions for local and regional governments and other urban stakeholders to build cities for all by structuring policies around non-discrimination, participation, accessibility, inclusive urban policies and programs, capacity development.

In addition, the World Urban Forum (WUF) has been a biannual platform of the UN-HABITAT to create awareness, share best practise and knowledge and create collaborations amongst different stakeholders on sustainable urbanisation. Organisations of persons with disabilities have been participating in this process, however, it was the WUF 10 organised from 8-13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi saw an unprecedented participation and meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities throughout the forum as a result of the work undertaken and a MoU signed between the World Blind Union and the UN-HABITAT. Persons with disabilities are represented in the general assembly partners (GAP) as one of the seventeen partner constituency groups (PCG). This has significantly contributed to providing persons with disabilities the voice that is required to voice their concerns related to urbanisation and claim their space in the process and in their cities.

The persons with disabilities were specifically mentioned in the inauguratory speech of Under General Secretary Maimunah Mohd Sharif. There was a specific roundtable on persons with disabilities the report of which was considered in the outcome document. Persons with disabilities were also speaking at several side events and assemblies. Finally, it was only a representative from persons with disabilities group who represented the GAP PCG at the closing ceremony.

Roundtable on persons with disabilities

With the existence of strong global frameworks such as the NUA and the UCLG policy paper, coupled with the most encouraging engagement of persons with disabilities at the WUF 10 it is time for national and local disabled peoples organisations used these framework to hold their national and local governments accountable to creating more accessible and inclusive cities.

With the under General Secretary UN-HABITAT

side event on inclusive mobility

Side event on inclusive mobility

Glimpse of the training session

A glimpse of the training session

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