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Public and private sectors must cooperate to tackle ‘unprecedented’ risks of urbanisation

Cooperation between governments and the private sector will be vital in addressing the challenges posed by urbanisation according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

03 FEB 2017 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
Unprecedented transition from rural to mainly urban living ©Shutterstock
Unprecedented transition from rural to mainly urban living ©Shutterstock

Its Harnessing Public-Private Cooperation to Deliver the New Urban Agenda report reveals that nearly 1.5 million people move to cities every week, and that the urban population will account for two-thirds of the world’s people by 2050.

It argues that public and private sectors must create a structured engagement to address the challenges of policy-making, planning, design, implementation, and maintenance.

UN-Habitat executive director, Joan Clos, said: “The world is experiencing an unprecedented transition from predominantly rural to mainly urban living, with more than 55% of the world’s population already living in urban areas and this figure is set to rise to 70 percent by the middle of 21st century.

“While rapid and spontaneous urbanisation has presented the world’s cities with major environmental, economic and social challenges, cities also provide a positive force underpinning social, political and economic transformation.

“The future of cities largely depends on the way urbanisation is managed and public-private collaboration is leveraged to advance sustainable urban development.”

In recognition of the challenges facing cities, an action-oriented plan providing a global strategy for sustainable urban development and housing over the next two decades was devised by the UN General Assembly in October last year.

The WEF report intends to help implement this strategy, called the ‘New Urban Agenda’, by recommending the following actions to be taken up by the respective stake holders:

Source: WEF
Source: WEF

Arup Group chairman, Gregory Hodkinson, said: “City leaders and the private sector need to be engaged in an environment based on integrity and trust to encourage the private sector to commit its resources, skills and experience towards the development and operation of the efficient, liveable, resilient and prosperous cities that the world needs.”

“The public and private sectors must create a structured engagement either through informal consultation or formal agreements to drive cities towards social, environmental and economic sustainability while enhancing urban equity, quality of life, social services, resiliency, trust, integrity, innovation, cohesion and inclusiveness.”