Session 11


Towards a Call to Action, Next Steps and Programme Close

held on

Wednesday 02 September 2020 at 12:00 UTC, 13:00 BST, 14:00 CAT


The programme of events associated with a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth was launched on Wednesday 24 June 2020 under the leadership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, with support from The Prince’s Foundation and the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure.

This was the concluding event in the current programme, and was hosted jointly by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, with support from the Government of Rwanda and The Prince’s Foundation. It provided an opportunity to review the key issues emerging from the series and discussed how to leverage the Commonwealth and its networks to enable and support sustainable urbanisation. 

The session was chaired by Dr Greg Munro, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum. Dr Greg Munro was due to be joined by his co-chair Ms Dyan Currie AM, President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners however due to illness was unfortunately unable to participate and was wished a speedy recovery in the opening remarks.

The first part of the session included the following speakers: 

  • Mayor Mr Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol City Council 
  • Dr Nancy Odendaal, School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town 
  • Mr Aromar Revi, Director, Indian Institute of Human Settlements 

This was followed by an interactive Q&A section, during which there were live questions from the audience and the panel was joined by:

  • Ms Olafiyin Taiwo, Convenor, Commonwealth Association of Planners, Young Planners Network 
  • Ms Samantha Cohen CVO, CEO Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council
  • Prof Eris Schoburgh, Professor of Public Policy and Management and the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica

In the second part of the session, a high-level panel brought together the views of a cross section of stakeholders to call for action on sustainable urbanisation in the Commonwealth. The closing panel included:

  • HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN Habitat
  • Hon Prof Shyaka Anastase, Minister of Local Government, Rwanda
  • HE Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General

The event attracted over 348 attendees from 59 countries with circa 39 also watching the Vimeo livestream. The live recording of this session is available to watch by clicking on the image at the top of this webpage.

key messages

  • Dealing with rapid urbanisation is a central issue for many Commonwealth countries
  • Effective planning is essential in preparing for and responding to rapid urbanisation 
  • City led and empowered leadership with support for decentralisation is key 
  • The Covid pandemic has brought localisation to the fore 
  • Aligning with the SDGs, and climate responses, is key for sustainable urbanisation 
  • Sustainable urbanisation responses must be fully inclusive 
  • Local economic development drives local sustainability 
  • Infrastructure development must support community resilience 
  • Sustainable urbanisation affects us all, large or small 
  • The Commonwealth has a pivotal role to play

further information and resources

Bristol One City approach
Bristol’s response to COVID-19
Bristol’s Economic Renewal Statement of Interest

A copy of the map that illustrates the statistics and key messages from the Online Programme can be found here.

If you are interested in the issues raised in the programme and/or would like to become involved in a Call to Action, then please contact us at