Press Release

PAUDS in Abu Dhabi Identifies Common Agenda that Arab Urban leaders Will Raise at WUF 10

The Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM), today presents the results of the first Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium (PAUDS) in partnership with the Regional Office for Arab States of UN-Habitat (ROAS) through the publication of the PAUDS Report. In preparation for the tenth World Urban Forum (WUF10) Abu Dhabi hosted the first edition of PAUDS, which provided a platform for 85 leading experts in urban planning from around the region to discuss the most critical challenges and opportunities currently facing Arab Cities and to ensure they will be all considered at WUF10.
H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of DPM said: “The Pan-Arab Urban Development Symposium conveyed a clear message – it is time for Arab Cities to be ambitious and to take a more influential role in the global conversation about how to solve our sustainability challenges. In particular, Abu Dhabi aims to lead by example by balancing economic growth with social harmony, consideration for the environment and cultural vitality for sustainable urban development.”

The PAUDS Report, published today by the DPM, highlights 12 key priorities established during the PAUDS event. Forming the backbone of PAUDS was an ‘Idea Lab’ where participants from across the Arab region collaborated to identify and rank the most important priorities relating to the four pillars of urban sustainable development (social, economic, environmental and cultural). Following the Ideas Lab, the DPM analyzed the results to extrapolate and publish its conclusions.

Grouped together under 6 themes (Empowerment & Participation, Co-design & Engagement, Governance & Bureaucracy, Inclusion & Opportunity, Services & Infrastructure and Sustainability & Balance) a list of 12 priorities for the future of Arab urban development were established. Following their publication in the PAUDS report, the DPM and UN-Habitat is working with its network of cities, partners and stakeholders to crowdsource solutions for these 12 priorities and the most promising solutions will form part of the agenda that will be presented by DPM at WUF10 in Feb 2020. 

H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, Chairman of DPM added: “At PAUDS we demonstrated that the wider Arab community is working together closely to explore pioneering approaches and solutions to our common challenges. Specifically, it clears that our approach to sustainable urban development needs to evolve through greater engagement with citizens in all communities, the creation of more organic, human-centric solutions. Furthermore, the PAUDS report published today shows that the most interesting and critical challenges as the ones that are at the intersection of four pillars of urban sustainable development. The PAUDS report also illustrates Abu Dhabi’s overall commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to finding innovative solutions to the challenges; we face in the Arab world. As the generation that took on the mantle of the SDGs, it’s of our assigned responsibility to dedicate resources and ingenuity to manage complex urban growth concerns”

A full list of the 12 priorities are posted on the PAUDS website (, these will underpin the discussions of the agenda for WUF10 at the second edition of PAUDS due to take place in October 2019 at the Arab Ministerial Forum on Housing and Urban Development.
The themes and outcomes will form the basis for the region urban development from 2020 and underpin a discussion of the program of WUF10 in early next year. 

WUF10 will be convened by UN-Habitat and jointly organized with the Abu Dhabi Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, along with partners including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, the General Secretariat of the Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.  

The World Urban Forum plays a key role in implementing the New Urban Agenda, a framework unanimously adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), laying out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable development. Abu Dhabi strongly supports the New Urban Agenda as it is closely aligned with its own vision for creating a sustainable Emirate by preserving and enriching its physical and cultural identity, while improving quality of life for all its residents. 

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