Overpopulation has become a major concern for sustainable development since the turn of the century. Today, the Arab region is going through an unprecedented urbanization boom, with significant variations in urbanization levels between countries. This presents challenges that should be carefully managed to meet the needs of growing urban populations and achieve sustainable urban development.
ESCWA is mandated by its member States to support the regional implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accordingly, and making use of its global and regional knowledge platforms, ESCWA supports its member States to integrate urbanization in their national development planning, which will significantly contribute to the implementation of NUA and SDG 11. Fully harnessing the urban potential strongly depends on national and local governments’ capacity to develop strategies that include cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder integration, which can operate on multiple levels and scales of intervention.
ESCWA supports member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and evidence-based national urban policies by working with national, subnational and local governments to strengthen their policymaking processes, while promoting a participatory and inclusive approach. It increases policy coherence among member States and builds institutional capacity towards the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and NUA. ESCWA also supports member States in producing knowledge on harnessing smart solutions for urban resilience and recovery, and strengthening country capacity at the national, subnational and local levels to build urban resilience, which has proven crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UN-Habitat, UNCDF, other United Nations regional commissions, Ministries of national planning, Ministries of local development, and relevant urban stakeholders.
ESCWA is addressing different facets of urban development in the Arab region. In addition to galvanizing an inclusive and scaled-up implementation of the New Urban Agenda and SDG 11, it is facilitating enhanced multi-actor, multisectoral and multi-level coordination and collaboration to better integrate knowledge exchange within the complex and multi-faceted dimensions of sustainable urban planning and development.
ESCWA is supporting member States in developing integrated cross-sectoral urban plans and coherent urban policies for inclusive and sustainable urban development, in line with the implementation, monitoring and reporting requirements of the New Urban Agenda and the localization of the SDGs. It is also fostering inter-regional cooperation and sharing best practices for the regionalization and subsequent localization of globally set agendas and commitments for an accelerated implementation of the SDGs.
ESCWA also supports local governments in Arab cities to build urban economic resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This is done through assessment and capacity-building, stakeholder engagement, economic resilience planning, exchange of related good practices, and knowledge sharing.
ESCWA is one of the implementing partners of the Building urban economic resilience during and after COVID-19 project, supported from the residual funds of the United Nations Development Account (UNDA) 13th tranche. Target Arab cities include Alexandria, Egypt; Kuwait, Kuwait and Beirut, Lebanon.