Agenda | Thematic Sessions | Speakers

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May 15 @ 8:00 am – 8:30 am
Opening Plenary
May 15 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am

National Urban Policy (NUP) has been recognized as an essential tool to harness the dynamics of urbanization and to implement the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, among other global agreements.

Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, and Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, will open the Conference and will highlight the importance of a collaborative approach to promote NUP in order to facilitate the implementation of a global urban agenda for sustainable development. High level representatives of the Minister – French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Cities Alliance will continue the discussion with their views and experiences on NUP process.

Mayors and Ministers Dialogue
May 15 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Fora for dialogue between different levels of government on urban issues are a rarity at the international level. This session brings together Mayors and Ministers to discuss the value, processes and features of NUP for strengthening the role of cities in sustainable development.

With the approval and ongoing implementation of both Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda, among other global agreements, the formulation of a NUP provides a preeminent opportunity for countries to localize global urban development goals while integrating national and local government policy initiatives and priorities in cities. The session therefore aims at sharing experiences around the NUP process and at identifying common issues and good practices for developing a NUP, in a concerted effort, across different tiers of government. The panel discussion will be moderated and complemented by a Q&A session in the plenary.

National Urban Policy in Five Continents: A Regional Dialogue Session
May 15 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

The Regional Dialogue Session will investigate how the promotion of NUP can benefit not only single countries but also an entire region. Building on existing experiences, such as the UN Habitat Region Programme on National Urban Policy in the Arab States, the session offers a learning opportunity on how regional programmes on NUP could be set up, foster exchanges, and strengthen country level support for NUP.

The Dialogue Session will invite regional representatives to a moderated panel discussion on the challenges and lessons for NUP in their region and the opportunities for and potential benefits of regional programme(s) on NUP. Opportunity for questions from the plenary will be provided prior to the closing of the Dialogue Session.

Stakeholders Panel on National Urban Policy
May 15 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

A NUP entails a participatory process that must be built with the inputs and engagement from different stakeholders in a given society. The Stakeholders Panel on NUP brings together representatives from different stakeholder groups that are interested and engaged in NUP. The session aims at sharing experiences and efforts from these stakeholders – NGOs, academia, and civil society, for example – in order to discuss their respective roles in developing a NUP and action oriented ways of securing broad stakeholder engagment in the development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of a NUP.

The panel discussion will be moderated and complemented by a Q&A session in the plenary.

Keynote Address: Shlomo Angel
May 15 @ 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Due to the multi-faceted nature of urban challenges, urban policy issues are investigated and queried from different perspectives, angles and disciplines. However, it is essential that a successful NUP must be evidence based and therefore aligned with the foremost knowledge on urban topics. The key note speaker will address current topical urban issues, in particular urban growth management, and the tools and practices available for governments to shape urbanisation.

Keynote Speaker

Shlomo Angel

Shlomo (Solly) Angel is a Professor of City Planning at the Marron Institute. He leads the NYU Urban Expansion based at the Marron Institute and the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. Angel is an expert on urban development policy, having advised the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He currently focuses on documenting and planning for urban expansion in the developing world.In 1973, he started a program in Human Settlements Planning and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. He taught at the Institute from 1973 to 1983, while researching housing and urban development in the cities of East, South, and Southeast Asia. From the mid-80s to mid-90s, he worked as a housing and urban development consultant to UN-Habitat, the Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Thailand. In 2000, he published Housing Policy Matters, a comparative study of housing conditions and policies around the world. From 2000 onward, he prepared housing sector assessments of 11 Latin America and Caribbean countries for the IDB and the World Bank.Angel earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a doctorate in city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

Networking Cocktails
May 15 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
National Urban Policy Thematic sessions
May 16 @ 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

A NUP can act as a policy “umbrella” to integrate and create synergies between sectoral policies that shape towns and cities of all sizes, therefore working to address key opportunities and challenges in cities. The thematic sessions will aim to demonstrate the important linkages and intersections between NUP and different thematic areas and will focus on some of the key areas and topics that can be addressed through NUP.

Examples of these key topics are: the promotion of smart cities, land management and markets, climate change and green growth in cities, data generation on cities and population dynamics, the implication of the Agenda 2030 for cities, urban-rural linkages, gender, youth, diversity and migration, slum upgrading, etc. The sessions will be held in parallel and led by key experts and partner institutions and will facilitate peer to peer exchange and learning on selected thematic topics.

NUP Experiences Sessions
May 16 @ 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Peer to peer learning and exchange is one of the most effective ways for policy makers and practitioners to get an overview on the opportunities of NUP and of the concrete forms that NUP can take. The aim of the Country Experiences Sessions is therefore to allow country representatives that are currently undertaking the same phase in the NUP development process to present their country experiences, listen to peers, and discuss their mutual challenges and successes when it comes to that particular phase of NUP.

The sessions will be held in parallel and will be led by representative(s) from a country that has already undergone that particular NUP phase. The country representative(s) will open the session by sharing their experience(s) and explaining how they overcame challenges presented and capitalized on opportunities in that phase. The session will be attended by representatives from other countries that are currently also in that particular NUP phase, and their ongoing experiences will be presented. The Session(s) will enable participants to meet and connect with other Conference participants.

National Urban Policy Phases:

Feasibility: The Feasibility Phase is the first phase in the NUP process and should be used to gain an initial understanding urban development and make the case for the need of a NUP. In this sense, a Feasibility study can include the measurement of current weakness and opportunities of urban development in that particular country context. What factors are key to make a feasibility study? Who are the key stakeholders to be involved? What are the key outputs of a Feasibility study?

Diagnosis: The Diagnosis Phase is the phase where key data and evidence on population dynamics, urban growth trends, etc are collected. This data will act as the foundation for decisions made regarding the priorities of a NUP, the implementation of the policy and its monitoring and evaluation.

Formulation: The Formulation phase includes the prioritization of policy problems, the drafting of the NUP, and associated legal and financial strategies, in order to ensure the implementability of the policy. Why is important to include stakeholders in Formulation process? How to identify and include the stakeholders?

Implementation: The Implementation Phase is the phase in which the policy and policy plan developed in the Formulation Phase is actioned. How is it possible to effectively implement a NUP? Which kind of entity should ideally lead the process and how is it possible to ensure other stakeholders are involved?

M&E: Considering that the implementation of a NUP and its associated impacts are usually on a long term time scale, monitoring and evaluating a NUP can be undertaken throughout the policy implementation process. How is it possible to evaluate the outcome and impacts of a NUP? Which indicators should be used to measure NUP goals? How can baseline data for NUP be effectively collected?

Conference Dinner: Hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
May 16 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

By invitation only.

Paris Field Tour
May 17 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

The main aim of this one day Field Tour is to allow international participants to learn from the French experience of urban planning and policy, specifically regarding best practices and lessons learnt from selected urban development projects. The Field Tour will give participants the opportunity to reflect on the French urban experiences and ultimately allow this information to inform the development of a NUP in their country.

The participants will be shown examples of how the Government of France has managed to address issues related to urban development and management and will be given the opportunity following the Field Tour to discuss their impressions and consider how what they have seen could inform the development of a NUP in their country.

Capacity Development for National Urban Policy
May 18 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Current challenges of urbanization requires coordination that needs policy makers with particular skills. In order to gain these skills, capacity building is essential to achieve sustainable development and ensure planning and implementations are done following good practices and addressing at the same time the specificities of each region.  

The Capacity Development sessions will aim to enhance different capacities that policy makers and practitioners require in order to successfully develop, implement, and monitor and evaluate a National Urban Policy. Organizers will engage participants both before and after the session in order to promote institutional change and the transfer of knowledge back to participant’s institutions following the Conference. Ultimately the sessions will aim to strengthen the capacity of policymakers to understand the opportunities and challenges of National Urban Policy in their country context and begin to understand how to develop, implement, and monitor and evaluate a National Urban Policy.

The participants will be divided in small groups where experts from UN Habitat, OECD and other organizations will lead capacity development sessions on specific topics regarding the development process of National Urban Policies. Details of the specific sessions will be released at a later date.