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Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat, Executive Director speaking at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning and Municipalities, together with UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to make a special announcement at a press conference titled ‘Rethinking Urban Governance- Photo Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The UAE will host the 10th World Urban Forum for the first time in Abu Dhabi in February 2020. The forum will bring together some 20,000 delegates from more than 150 countries.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities signed an agreement in the capital with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), for Abu Dhabi to host the World Urban Forum’s 10th session.

This will be the first time that an Arab country is hosting the forum in the region. It is the world’s premier gathering on urban issues to examine the impact of rapid urbanisation and its implications for social, economic and environmental policies in communities, cities and towns.

In the lead up to the forum, the department will host the first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium in partnership with UN-Habitat in April next year, to exchange views and compare experiences about urban challenges facing fast-changing Arab cities.

Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, said: “We are delighted and eager for the opportunity to discuss solutions that are being tested by pioneering cities around the world, while also showcasing our city, country and renowned Emirati hospitality.”

Key topics — including human capital, resource management, education and culture, mobility, data and much more — will be discussed during the five-day conference.

The forum will be convened by the UN-Habitat and jointly organised with the department, along with other partners.

Maimunah Mohammad Sharif, UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, said: “Abu Dhabi, like so many cities in this region, is undergoing rapid and transformative urbanisation and we commend the focus on sustainability shown by the government. This open, inclusive forum, with its high-level participation, is a unique opportunity to focus on how urban development can be implemented in a sustainable way around the world.”

It will provide an opportunity to strengthen relationships and engagement, and demonstrate the feasibility of incorporating sustainable and context-based practices in developed and developing countries.

UN-Habitat is a United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable cities and communities, and to provide adequate shelter for all.

It works to ensure that cities become drivers of economic prosperity and social development for all.