Samoa represented at Pacific Urban Forum
Samoa was among more than 200 participants from over 25 countries, including high level delegates from 12 Pacific Islands Countries, who convened in Nadi, Fiji for the Fifth Pacific Urban Forum (P.U.F.5).
The three-day meeting centered on the theme “Accelerating implementation of the New Urban Agenda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Pacific”.
P.U.F.5 concluded with a call for action and on deployment of all efforts, means and resources available towards the implementation of the “New Urban Agenda for the Pacific”, statement said.
Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), following the opening of the meeting highlighted the need for a regional approach to urbanisation.
“If we act with foresight and get our responses to these challenges right, urbanization can become a powerful force for the sustainable development of our Pacific countries.”
Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama also stressed the need for more sustainable urban development to tackle inequality and climate vulnerability.
“And the impact of our actions, the boldness of our decisions and the strength of our cooperation of this forum and beyond will determine whether those urban centers emerge as engines of sustainable development, or bastions of inequity and climate vulnerability.”
The meeting produced an action plan including commitments with regards to the four pillars of PUF5 – “Social Equity”, “Environment, Resilience and Urbanisation”, “Urban Economy” and “Urban Governance”.
According to the statement, all stakeholder groups and country representatives recognised the importance of urbanisation for sustainable development and agreed on long-term national planning for urbanisation through national sustainable development plans, urban policies and sector plans to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.Gs) in the Pacific, in particular to support sustainable cities and communities and the New Urban Agenda.
Furthermore, it said, P.U.F.5 provided contributions and inputs to global and regional platforms for sustainable urbanisation and a roadmap towards upcoming stakeholder meetings such as the Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting in August, the Seventh Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (A.P.U.F.7), the Tenth World Urban Forum (W.U.F.1.0.) and the U.N E.S.C.A.P. Commission in May in Thailand.
During the closing, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sosana Sopoaga, committed to support the successful political anchoring of the Pacific New Urban Agenda.
“As incoming Chairman of the P.I.F., I will be happy to place in the P.I.F. Leaders’ discussions the outcomes of this [Pacific Urban] Forum, if so decided by the Forum here. I also encourage the outcomes to be taken to the broader region at the 7th Asia-Pacific Urban Forum hosted in Penang, Malaysia this October and the 10th World Urban Forum convening in February next year in Abu Dhabi.”
The Fifth Pacific Urban Forum was hosted by Fiji and supported and co-organised by a range of partners, including UN-Habitat, Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Monash University, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and Compass Housing Services.
P.U.F.5 was attended by different stakeholder groups such as local and national government officials, relevant regional organisations (C.R.O.P.s), non-governmental organizations, community-based organisations, traditional leaders, professionals, research institutions and academies, private sector, relevant development partners and financial institutions as well as media representatives.
Moreover, two important partnerships resulted as an additional outcome of the meeting, the statement highlighted.
First, a plan to develop affordable housing for low and middle- income families in Port Moresby was signed between the Government of Papua New Guinea and the International Finance Cooperation (I.F.C.).
Second, the Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Human Settlements (E.A.R.O.P.H.) International, E.A.R.O.P.H. Australia, the Commonwealth Association of Planners (C.A.P.) and the New Zealand Planning Institute (N.Z.P.I.) agreed on a stronger collaboration to achieve sustainable development in the region. The Forum therefore strengthened the exchange and dialogue within the Pacific among various urban stakeholders.
Representatives from the following attended the meeting - Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, , Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu. Among these country representatives were six ministers.