The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) and the Royal Scientific Society organized a workshop on Wednesday, 3 April 2013, entitled: “Proposed Sustainable Development Goal: Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements” as a part of the Post 2015 National Consultation process lead by the UN Resident Coordinator in Jordan.
This workshop aims at enhancing the dialogue with national and local authorities, civil society organizations and the private sector in order to translate one of the sustainable development goals for post 2015 that was proposed by UN conference for Sustainable Development in Rio, a goal that commensurate with the national and regional framework in Jordan. The Jordanian consultations results contribute to the formulation of the International Development Goals / SDGs. This goal includes 11 priorities that had been discussed during the workshop, including: National Urban Policies, Community Participation, Urban Safety, and Urban Energy, among others.
During her address, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms Costanza Farina highlighted the role Jordan has played-and will be playing-within the Post 2015 consultations at different levels: “Internationally, Jordan has been invited, and has accepted, to co-host, with Switzerland, the Netherlands, Liberia and Mozambique, the global thematic consultation on Water; key issue in this country”.
“Jordan is also represented in the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons appointed by the UN Secretary General last July to advise on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah has graciously accepted to be member of it and is taking a strong leadership role. Regional and sub-regional consultations see Jordan in the spotlight as well. Next week Amman will host a two-day Arab Development Forum dedicated to the Priorities for the Post 2015 AgendaThis forum will offer members of the civil society from all over the Arab World the opportunity to express their views on issues that the next development framework should address”.
During the opening session, Dr. Tarek El-Sheikh, Chief of UN-Habitat in Jordan said: “How can the future we want ignore cities and a historic milestone was achieved in 2007 when the global population living in cities and towns reached the 50 percent mark, making urban centers the dominant habitat for humankind”.
The discussion stressed the many challenges and issues that Jordan is facing as far as urbanization is concerned. It is therefore imperative to efficiently implement the existing regulations and projects as well as developing new and more efficient urban planning. Urbanization is not an isolated theme, but it is strongly linked to other issues such as energy, employment and poverty and this is why it has to be mainstreamed in all policies and regulations.
“It is essential to have comprehensive collaboration among all stakeholders of society in order to find holistic solutions for a more efficient urban planning”. Taking into consideration that pressure on national resources is increasing because of several factors such as the ongoing flow of Syrian refugees, it is critical and urgent to focus on the poor and marginalized areas where services are not always adequate.
The workshop was attended by a group of experts and professionals in the sectors of housing, transport, economy, business and energy.