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Regional Multi-Stakeholder Symposium On Inclusive Cities Held In New Delhi

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“If a Smart City does not include the poor, it will fail to be smart.” With this, the Honorable Minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu (Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs of the Government of India) expressed the need for shaping cities more inclusive during his opening message at the multi-stakeholder symposium “Towards Inclusive Cities in Asia” held in New Delhi, 23-24 February 2016. Susanne Dorasil, Head of Economic Cooperation & Development from the German Embassy, stated that the symposium was an excellent opportunity to learn from each other – to identify the actions that worked and didn’t work – and determine which ones are applicable to the proper context.

Representatives from eight countries including governments at the national and subnational levels, public agencies, civil society, community-based organizations, development financing agencies, and academia gathered to discuss case studies on inclusive approaches in Asian cities and metropolitan regions. The event was organized by CDIA, the Cities Alliance, the GIZ Inclusive Cities Partnership Programme, the GIZ Sector Network Governance Asia and the GIZ Inclusive Metropolitan Environments for the Urban Poor Project.

The sessions featured presentations and discussions from several experts on Urban Policy and Governance, Land and Urban Planning, Slum Upgrading and Infrastructure. In the last session on the second day, participants reflected on the learnings from the presentations and discussed in detail the role of various urban stakeholders, the challenges and opportunities of inclusive urbanization, and transformative urban innovations. The working groups came up with a set of recommendations for the New Urban Agenda and Habitat III process leading to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

There was broad consensus among the discussants that inclusive urban approaches should focus on integrated planning, formulating a national urban policy, and including the private sector as well as poor and disadvantaged people in the planning and decision-making process. It was emphasized that it is equally important to redefine the notions of informality, urbanization and inclusion.

Photo by Arpan Mazumder, GIZ-ICPP
Shankar Camp, Rangpuri Pahadi,
Near Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
6 February 2016

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