Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative at WUF11

As part of the Eleventh Session of the World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland between 26 and 30 June 2022, the CSCI partners hosted a Networking Event on 27 June related to the Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation.


Closely aligned with the theme of WUF 11, Transforming our Cities for a Better Urban Future, the CSCI event focused on the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kigali, Rwanda during the previous week, and considered the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary, multi-level way to close capacity, data, governance, and finance gaps.

The event was moderated by Ms Eleanor Mohammed, President Commonwealth Association of Planners. Background on the Call to Action was shared by Ms Lucy Slack, Secretary General, Commonwealth Local Government Forum. The panel included:

  • HE Prof. Anastase Shyaka, Ambassador of Rwanda to Poland
  • Mr Davis G. Mwamfupe, Mayor of Dodoma, Tanzania
  • Ms Olafiyin Taiwo, Chair of the Young Planners Network, Commonwealth Association of Planners, UK
Speakers cut the ribbon to open WUF11
Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera

key messages

  1. There is a need to involve, empower and build the capacity of youth and young professionals in the field of sustainable urbanisation.
  2. As well, there should be ongoing training and capacity building of politicians and technical staff.
  3. Training should consider ways in which the capacity of professional staff can be rapidly enhanced to respond to the challenges of rapid urbanisation and climate change, without necessarily requiring 4-year degrees.
  4. Existing capacity is undermined by a lack of effective coordination.
  5. Sharing of data and experience is needed to facilitate robust and relevant policy development and decision making, linked to a stronger emphasis on planning.
  6. Local governments are on the front line of service delivery and addressing local issues, hence strong local leadership is critical.
  7. Effective local leadership requires decentralisation to local governments and people.
  8. Decentralisation must be supported by a clear division of responsibilities between central and local governments.
  9. The interests of those who suffer the most from unsustainable urbanisation should be the focal point for action on sustainable urbanisation.
  10. Service delivery must be part of a wider agenda focused on the transformation of society.
  11. The relationship between UN Habitat and the Commonwealth should be strengthened through practical collaboration.
  12. Mutual understanding is required for more effective engagement and partnership between the public and private sectors.
  13. There is a need for funding for technical cooperation projects, and a focus on private sector firms involved in community wealth building, linking to the circular economy.
  14. There has been enough talking; it is time to act.

join us

If you are interested in learning more or becoming involved with the Call to Action on sustainable urbanisation across the Commonwealth, please contact us at: info@commonwealthsustainablecities.org


The organisers would like to extend their thanks to all those supporting our activities at WUF, be that moderators, panellists and participants.

Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera