On 05 June 2023, at the Second UN-Habitat Assembly, three Commonwealth Associations signed an agreement to cooperate towards a joint research agenda, advocacy, capacity building and outreach events for cities, encompassing urban law, human rights and climate justice. This cooperation responds to the Commonwealth Declaration of Sustainable Urbanisation adopted by Heads of Government at CHOGM last year.
The partnership comprises the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA), the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) and will focus on addressing urban vulnerabilities and positively impacting resource-poor communities in least developing, low-and middle-income countries. The new partnership will help build the capacity of national and local governments in promoting effective, climate smart and rights-based law, and will contribute to strengthening the SDGs in cities.
The collaboration will build on the work undertaken by UN-Habitat, concentrating its efforts on the following actions to drive change in cities, where it counts most.
- Developing a legal checklist for cities as a user-friendly diagnostic tool to build the capacities of lawmakers, planning authorities, government officials and organisations, and identify areas for law reform for the achievement of sustainable and climate-focused SDGs.
- Promotion, dissemination, and advocacy of existing UN-Habitat, CLA, CAA and CAP tools and data sources such as UrbanLex across Commonwealth regions beyond Africa.
- Participating in joint research agendas on urban law, human rights and climate justice and piloting existing and future normative toolkits and methodologies.
- Participating in joint outreach events during internationally recognised forums dealing with issues around sustainable cities and climate change
- Spreading awareness, skills and knowledge of best practice legal methodologies, participating in joint training events and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events on thematic urban law and climate justice topics.
- Collaborating with the Commonwealth Secretariat and other UN bodies with a view to sharing knowledge and building capacity and coordinating activity.
UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif said, “We are confident that the collaboration will be fruitful and of mutual benefit for achieving our goals for strengthening SDGs in cities and believe that this cooperation could form the basis for a project to be jointly prepared, and a strategy for the long-term mobilization of funds to be designed.”
CAA President, Peter Oborn, said, “The CAA recognises the vital importance of urban law as a key driver of sustainable urbanisation, not only in terms of legislation but also in terms of implementation, and the Commonwealth provides the perfect platform for delivering real impact at scale. We look forward to working with partners to advance this important agenda.”
Published: 05 June 2023