about the initiative
Commonwealth partners, working together, have formulated strategies to tackle the urgent challenges of climate change and rapidly growing cities by promoting sustainable urbanisation.
By 2050, an additional 2.5 billion people will live in the world’s urban areas, with almost 50% of that growth forecast to be in the Commonwealth. Commonwealth cities and towns will face enormous challenges as they deal with the combined pressures of climate change and rapid urbanisation, compounded now by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Commonwealth partners came together to develop and promote the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth as part of preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, originally planned for 2020 but postponed until June 2022.
The importance of urbanisation was formally recognised at the CHOGM and at its completion, Heads of Government adopted a Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation which acknowledges the need for integrated strategies to deliver safe and sustainable urbanisation and to support cities to mobilise resources to develop scalable programmes to address key challenges while reducing risk and vulnerability. The CHOGM Communique further recognises the intrinsic value of sustainable urbanisation to harness structural transformation for the world’s urban populations. Further information on both documents can be found here.
This page outlines further information on the Call to Action, as well as the activities which have been undertaken since the Initiative was launched, including the resources which we aim to build upon and develop as we continue to move forward.
memorandum of understanding
The partners in the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative have strengthened their commitment to supporting sustainable urbanisation through a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU formalises the strategic partnership and establishes a framework for the partners to work together in a coordinated and mutually beneficial manner to achieve their shared goals and objectives and to further leverage the power of the Commonwealth to deliver change and innovation.
Read the full press release here.
In anticipation of the COP27 Climate Change Conference, focused on the theme “Delivering for people and the planet”, the CSCI partners are delighted to share messages which:
- Highlight the commitments made by Heads of Goverment at the recent CHOGM 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda, most notably the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation.
- Emphasise the critical link between cities and the climate change agenda.
- Focus on the immediate needs, including strong leadership, funding and capacity building.
- Demonstrate collaborative ways of working as part of multi-disciplinary partnerships.
call to action
The Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth has been developed jointly by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), in collaboration with the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) and The Prince’s Foundation, with support from other Commonwealth organisations, governmental, professional and technical partners. To read and download the full version of the Call to Action click here.
- UN-Habitat World Urban Forum 11, June 2022: As part of WUF11 in Katowice, Poland, partners hosted a networking event focused on the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation by Commonwealth Heads of Government, and the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary, multi-level way. Click here for more details and to read highlights of the proceedings.
- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, June 2022: During an intense week of activity in Kigali, Rwanda, key stakeholders came together to promote the Call to Action. On completion of CHOGM, Heads of Government issued a Communique and adopted a Declaration to prioritise a greater focus on sustainable urbanisation to address the impacts of rapid urbanisation and climate change in the Commonwealth, and to ensure liveable cities, towns and villages for all Commonwealth citizens. Click here for more details on the programme of events and outcomes.
- UN High-level Meeting on the Call to Action, April 2022: On the eve of the UN High-Level Meeting, Commonwealth partners hosted a virtual side event in support of the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth. Click here for more details and to watch the recording.
- High-level Event Pre-COP26, October 2021: This event explored the ways in which the Commonwealth can respond to the ‘triple threat’ of climate change, rapid urbanisation and the Covid-19 pandemic, and the need for collaboration. Click here for more details and to watch a compilation video of proceedings.
- Building Better Data: The Commonwealth Association of Architects, in collaboration with the International Growth Centre, Ordnance Survey and Nesta Challenges, hosted three inter-linked online events on 05, 06 and 07 July 2021 in support of the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth. Click here for more details and to view the recordings.
- Online Programme: between 24 June and 02 September 2020, the partners curated an programme of 11 online webinars, which explored the potential for greater inter-disciplinary, cross-sector collaboration to address the challenges posed by climate change, rapid urbanisation and the recovery from Covid-19. Click here for the full list of sessions and live recordings. A compilation of clips from the key note speakers from the opening and closing sessions follows:
UN Habitat estimates that 65% of the of the targets underlying the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are linked to territorial and urban development, and built environment professionals are central to the design of cities and human settlements that meet the requirements of Goal 11 to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. But how well equipped are the built environment professions to meet this challenge? This is the question which the four Commonwealth associations representing architects, engineers, town planners, and surveyors set out to answer in the Survey of the Built Environment Professions in the Commonwealth; the first such joint survey ever to have been undertaken. For details of the survey, click here.
the CPD programme
In order to help promote knowledge exchange, mutual understanding and greater awareness on issues related to climate change and rapid urbanisation together with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Commonwealth Association of Architects has developed a lecture series for professionals, comprising a pilot programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). While targeted at qualified built environment professionals, we hope that this series will be of interest to policymakers, city leaders and students alike. For further details of the programme, click here.
the data platform
As part of its response to the findings of the Survey of the Built Environment Professions in the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Association of Architects has created a data platform, the aim of which is to serve as an accessible source of information for all those with an interest in the subject of sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth. Click here to learn more and to gain access to the platform.
the good practice platform
To supplement the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation across the Commonwealth, a Good Practice Platform has been created to exemplify the sort of innovative and collaborative work already being undertaken locally to help advance sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth. The intention is to illustrate how, with a sharper focus and appropriate resources, the Commonwealth can come together to more effectively tackle the challenges of climate change, rapid urbanisation and the recovery from Covid-19. These examples have been shared by a number of organisations working in the field of sustainable urbanisation. If you would like to submit an example, please email: email@example.com.
If you are interested in learning more or becoming involved with a Call to Action on sustainable urbanisation across the Commonwealth, or any of the activities referred to on this page, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The organisers would like to extend their thanks to all the contributors for their support in the creation of the online programme.
All images are credited to: Johnny Miller, https://unequalscenes.com/