More than 900 representatives from national and local governments, civil society and community based organizations, research and training institutes, the private sector and international organizations last month participated in the Fifth Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-5).
|Meeting with the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva jointly with four Asian housing ministers during the Ministerial Dialogue. ©ACHR
The Forum, under the theme "Cities of opportunity: Partnerships for an inclusive and sustainable future" was jointly convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) and 31 partners in Bangkok from 22 to 24 June. As a key partner, UN-HABITAT played a significant role in APUF-5 by mobilizing stakeholder participation from across Asia-Pacific to organize and support the Forum's many breakout sessions and side events as well as associated events.
Prior to this, UN-HABITAT supported two associated events on 20-21 June in Vientiane, Lao PDR and Bangkok, Thailand. The meetings were on "Regional seminar on South-East Asia Emerging Cities and Urbanization" and "Internal Meeting on Gender and Field Operations in Asia-Pacific" respectively.
The highlight of the Bangkok event was the meeting with the Thai Prime Minister, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva jointly with four Asian housing ministers to exchange views, during the Ministerial Dialogue on "Citywide Upgrading in Asian Cities" hosted by the Thai counterpart, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and co-organized by the Community Organizations Development Institute (CODI), the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) and UN-ESCAP.
Throughout the APUF-5, UN-HABITAT was involved in the various breakout sessions and side events.
The meeting also saw the launch of the flagship report, "State of Asian Cities 2010/11". This joint publication with ESCAP reviews and documents the trends in inclusive and sustainable urban development throughout Asia-Pacific region.
Dr. Toshi Noda, Regional Director of UN-HABITAT presented key findings of the Report, stating that: "Asia is urbanizing rapidly with 42 per cent population living in urban areas. Asian cities are engines of economic growth that are contributing with 80 per cent of region's GDP, and although Asia-Pacific region is leading the reduction of overall poverty in the world, economic growth has not benefited all urban dwellers equally." Partners' remarks were made by Mr. Stefanos Fotiou, Regional Coordinator, UNEP Bangkok, Thailand and Mr. Krishna Prasad Jaishi, Co-President UCLG ASPAC, Jakarta, Indonesia. The launch event featured special presentations of the Report to the ministers.
Following the launch of the Report, Focus Group discussions highlighted the urban challenges in the five sub-regions of Asia and the Pacific, which are Pacific, North and Central Asia, South-East Asia, South and South-West Asia and East and North-East Asia.
Over the three days of the Forum, UN-HABITAT also held an exhibition displaying various projects it is undertaking in the region.
|UN-HABITAT Exhibition visited by numerous APUF participants ©UN-HABITAT