A group of international experts gathered in Paris, France, late last month for the first face-to-face meeting to advance the drafting of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP).
The experts discussed and approved the draft outline, structure and possible elements of the contents of the IGUTP. Further, participants accorded on a practical road map that will lead to the submission of the Guidelines for consideration at the 25th UN-Habitat Governing Council in April 2015. The high level experts were nominated by their respective governments and institutions. The experts represented national and local governments, international development agencies, research and academia, professional and civil society organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The meeting was convened, sponsored and hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign affairs and UN-Habitat, in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).
Mr Marc Trouyet of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that ‘Urban planning is indeed critical to promote an inclusive urban growth, to prevent the development of slums and enhance access to basic services for all. Urban planning is also essential to promote a compact and environmentally sustainable city in preventing urban sprawl and pollution.’ He further noted that urban planning and local governance are key priority areas for the French government, hence their interest in supporting the IGUTP initiative.
On behalf of UN-Habitat, Mr Raf Tuts underscored the need to anchor the discussion in the context of ongoing post-2015 development agenda and 2016 Habitat III. He also noted that the process of developing the Guidelines should take note of the previous experiences in developing international guidelines, particularly on decentralization and basic services.
The main purpose of the meeting was to implement the UN-Habitat Governing Council resolution 24/3 on “Inclusive and sustainable urban planning and elaboration of international guidelines on urban and territorial planning” requesting UN-Habitat to undertake the following: ”… in consultation with the Committee of Permanent Representatives, to initiate the elaboration of International Guidelines on Urban and territorial planning…” and to “… present the Draft Guidelines to the Governing Council during its 25th session for approval.” Following the spirit of the resolution, the proposed Guidelines will provide a global framework for improving policies, plans and designs for more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change.
The next meeting of the Experts will take place in Medellin, Colombia in April 2014. The last meeting will be held in Fukuoka, Japan in the second half of 2014.