Sustaining Peace In An Urban World

High-level UN officials, representatives of member states, and think tanks and academics working on urban issues and peacebuilding came together on 14 December 2016, at the United Nations Headquarters for the event "Sustaining Peace in an Urban World". Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of the Australian Mission Caitlin Wilson, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Izumi Nakamitsu of UNDP, ASG for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, and CIC Director Sarah Cliffe addressed the opening segment of the event. DPR of the Netherlands Lise Gregoire and OCHA's Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch gave closing remarks. These high-level remarks focused on various urban challenges and opportunities for development, peacebuilding, and humanitarian action, and the importance of connecting the New Urban Agenda with the recent sustaining peace agenda for innovative and creative solutions.

The two substantive panels, moderated by CIC's Gizem Sucuoglu and IPI's Jimena Leiva-Roesch, brought together experts looking at the intersection between sustaining peace and urban issues from various perspectives. ​Gizem Sucuoglu argued that while the sustaining peace agenda and the new urban agenda share very similar goals​ -​ national ownership, inclusive and resilient communities, and transformative approaches​ -​ the two agendas rarely merge​d​ in discussions. ​Today's discussion was about exploring ways in which the two agendas could supplement each other, towards the goal of achieving peaceful, inclusive and resilient cities. ​ ​

The event focused on current urban trends from the angle of sustaining peace. Participants identified opportunities and risks for healthy urbanization in cities affected by conflict, humanitarian emergencies, and development challenges, with a view to exploring how urban perspectives can bring about more peaceful, inclusive and safe cities. Sarah Cliffe, Director of CIC, argued that the rapid pace of urbanization​​ would lead to major risks and challenges if the urban agenda does not move ​forward strongly​​, whereas the successful implementation of an inclusive urban agenda would lead to a decline in urban violence worldwide ​and create new opportunities for cities. David Steven, Senior Fellow at CIC stated that 621 million people who live in urban settlements were at risk of not meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals​.​ He added that the Sustainable Development Agenda, together with the New Urban Agenda and the sustaining peace framework, could bring forward transformative approaches for delivery that could address the needs of the most vulnerable urban dwellers by 2030​. ​

The event was organized by NYU's Center on International Cooperation and Terreform, Center for Advanced Urban Research, and co-sponsored by the Dutch and Australian Permanent Missions to the UN, the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and HABITAT, the Global Alliance for Urban Crises, the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the think tank Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST).

The full program can be download here.

T​he webcast of the event can be watched below:

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Dec 14, 2016 - 03:00 pm to 06:00 pm
United Nations