PwC Middle East recently hosted a session titled "Financing and Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda in Cities" at the tenth UN-Habitat World Urban Forum (WUF10), co-organised by the UN Habitat and the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities & Transport (DMT).

PwC hosted and moderated this compelling session with the participation of a community of practitioners, sharing experiences about the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. The session occurred at the World Urban Forum, which provides a platform for the exchange of views for academics, government, businesses and experts on the creation of sustainable urban development and smart cities of the future.

The main objective of the session was to explore how to close the funding gap and support cities in the implementation and localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in line with the standards and principles of the New Urban Agenda (NUA). The agenda followed a “4C” approach, namely Cascading SDGs and NUA, Co-Creating Investment Opportunities, Collaborating and Closing the Investment Gap. The approach leveraged the WUF10 focus on culture and innovation as an enabler for sustainable development to enrich the discussion.

During the session PwC provided a platform for a dialogue among urban experts on SDG financing for cities including; Alice Charles (Lead, Cities, Infrastructure & Urban Services, World Economic Forum), Aziza Akhmouch (Head of Division on Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development, OECD), Mauricio Rodas (Former Mayor of the City of Quito, Ecuador, and former World Co-President of United Cities and Local Governments  and current lecturer at Penn Institute for Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania), Eugenie Birch, (Director of Penn Institute for Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania) and moderated by Hazem Galal (PwC Global Cities and Local Government Leader, PwC Middle East).

Alice Charles, Lead, Cities, Infrastructure & Urban Services, World Economic Forum, Geneva Switzerland, said: “The future of cities largely depends on the way urbanization is managed and how public-private collaboration is leveraged to implement the SDGs and New Urban Agenda. Government, Business, Civil Society and Academia need to work together to create the enabling environment necessary to develop a pipeline of bankable projects capable of attracting investment, with the ultimate objective of delivering sustainable urban development in cities around the world.”

H.E. Mohamed Al Khadar, Executive Director of Strategic Affairs and General Coordinator of WUF10, Department of Municipalities and Transport said: “It was of great value today to discuss the international commitment to the New Urban Agenda and to collectively develop concrete recommendations and actions to advance sustainability in modern urban development. Through strong coordination, innovation and technology, we can make positive steps to advance a decade of action in making cities resilient by 2030. Through such international knowledge exchanges and coordination, we can successfully implement the New Urban Agenda.”

Aziza Akhmouch, Head of Division on Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development, OECD, Paris, commented: "Money is important, but not enough for cities and regions to fit for the future. We need to radically change the way we produce, consume, and how and where we live. The SDGs provide a framework to rethink drastically local planning, policies, strategies and investments from the ground up. It’s not only a compliance agenda, it’s a strong catalyst for long-term transformation.”

Hazem Galal, Cities and Local Government Global Leader at PwC ends: “In order for cities to deliver on the SDGs, they need to build multiple internal capabilities, including access to finance. At this edition of the WUF we looked, together with multiple stakeholders, how cities can localise the implementation of the SDGs and address the major challenges faced by them, including access to finance. Cities can adopt innovative solutions and build partnerships with the private sector, multilateral IFIs and other sources of finance to fund their critical socioeconomic development and infrastructure projects.”

Source: Newgate Communication