About APUF7

For a more complete and in-depth information about APUF7: Download the full APUF7 Concept Note
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Brief Introduction

The Seventh Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-7) will be held from 15-17 October 2019 in Penang, Malaysia, to mobilize partners from across the region to focus on accelerating implementation to achieve a sustainable future for cities throughout Asia and the Pacific. APUF-7 will bring a diverse array of cities, expert speakers and thought leaders who are shaping the region’s urban future. Held every 4-5 years since the first APUF was held in Bangkok in 1993, the Forum is the largest regional gathering of urban stakeholders, engaging policymakers from local and national governments, financial institutions, civil society, the academia, the urban training-research community and private sector to discuss innovative solutions, identify common actions and objectives and strengthen effective partnerships to achieve sustainable urban development.

In 2019 APUF-7 will provide this unique platform to discuss and analyze the status, challenges and opportunities of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Agenda in the region. APUF-7 will also be the venue to launch The Future of Asia-Pacific Cities 2019 report being developed by ESCAP and UN-Habitat in partnership with the European Union, Asian Development Bank, The Rockefeller Foundation, UNDP, Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities and many others.

The Future Cities report will focus on the implementation of urban solutions across different typologies of cities against four critical development challenges – natural resource management, climate change, disaster risk, and rising inequalities – through enabling four means of implementation – urban/territorial planning, governance and capacity development, data and technologies for smart cities and urban financing– for the accelerated achievement of sustainable urbanization and sustainable development outcomes for Asia-Pacific cities.

The organizers and partners seek to engage new actors and non-traditional partners (for example, Parliamentarians, technology firms, etc.) in APUF-7 inviting city, regional and global partners to organize parallel sessions, review status of their commitments or launch new ones and initiatives for cities, showcase exhibition materials in a ‘city solutions space’, as well as organize associated events back to back with the Forum.


To accelerate the implementation of sustainable urban development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in the Asia-Pacific region.

To accomplish this, the Forum has three principle objectives:

1. Increase concrete actions and partnerships for sustainable development between different countries, cities and stakeholders to advance the implementation of sustainable urbanization;

2. Raise awareness on sustainable and inclusive urban solutions and opportunities among stakeholders, constituencies and the general public;

3. Improve the collective knowledge base on sustainable urban development through inclusive multi stakeholder debates, sharing lessons, and exchange to support future policies and practices.

To achieve the objectives, APUF-7 aims to be a platform to:

• Serve as a launching pad for concrete actions for cities among local and national governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector solution providers;

• Present solutions that will assist cities to “think out of the box” to strengthen the means of implementation to deliver the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and

• Strengthen dynamic partnerships and regional cooperation, to support joint action and city to city learning for sustainable urban development.

5 Key Outcomes

Supporting and increasing concrete commitments and initiatives for implementation of sustainable urban development at the local, sub-national, national and regional level, amongst a diverse array of actors in the region which can be followed up at subsequent APUFs, World Urban Forums, as well as other key regional and global fora;


Facilitating joint implementation and initiatives among diverse actors to support the implementation of sustainable urbanization, including through integrated and sustainable city solutions;


Enhancing knowledge products, research, tools, innovative practices, solutions and methodologies for enhancing the role of cities and sustainable urbanization for implementing the New Urban Agenda and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;


Increasing capacity at the national and sub-national levels on sustainable urban development and management, promoting inclusive and participatory decision making processes.


Strengthened network/alliance building and action-oriented partnerships, including with new actors; as well as regional and sub-regional cooperation for integrated sustainable urban development.

Thematic Focus

Suggested Theme: “Future of Asia and Pacific Cities: Transformative Pathways to Achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”

Four ‘Leader’s Dialogues’ spotlighting innovative policy and technical solutions for a sustainable urban future in Asia-Pacific are proposed. Each Leader’s Dialogue will be followed by a ‘Deep Dive Session’ on the same thematic area which will provide a more detailed seminar style dialogue on implementation of specific solutions and innovative approaches:

Urban and Territorial Planning

Will present effective options for how urban land use and territorial planning policies and systems can be implemented and accelerated for the achievement of sustainable urbanization, engaging both private and public actors.

Urban Resilience

Aims to identify actions to strengthen city and multilevel governance and capacities to address rising vertical and horizontal inequalities, rising climate emissions and adaptation needs, as well as increase resilience against shocks and stresses of all kinds in Asia-Pacific cities.

Data and Technologies for Smart Cities

Explores new forms of open data and innovative technologies being implemented for accelerated smart city development in the region. This includes analysis of ICT and data systems for improved resilience to climate-responsive basic service sectors, smart governance which addresses the digital divide in many cities and countries, and related policy options.

Urban Finance

To promote solutions for financing inclusive socio-spatial development, shared prosperity for cities and regions, and responses to climate and environmental challenges through investing in key urban infrastructure, service systems and communities. This includes enabling institutional structures, improved spatial connectivity and productivity of cities and regions, local financial frameworks, investment opportunities and new partnerships with communities.

All sessions will strive for sub-regional, gender and stakeholder balance in speakers, content and attendance. Integrated across these four themes will be the cross-cutting social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable urban development, including the perspectives of people with special needs.
Additional thematic areas, sectoral topics and formats will be agreed upon by the Steering Committee so that APUF-7 is comprehensive yet focused in its delivery.


Please download the concept note to read the programme’s full description.

Below is a summary of the APUF7 programme:

Participants, Time and Venue

Participants to APUF-7 would include distinguished guests, senior-level policy decision makers from both national and local governments, civil society representatives, community-based organizations, academic institutions, financial development institutions, private sector, bilateral agencies and international organizations. APUF7 is expected to attract close to 3,000 participants

Time and Venue

15 to 17 October 2019 at Setia SPICE Convention Centre, Penang, Malaysia. Other associated and follow-up events to be organized by sponsoring partners will take place back-to-back before and after the Forum dates (further pre and post forum events will continuously be update through the website)
Helpful links: Venue and Schedule

Steering Committee

To support the strategic orientation of APUF-7 to ensure an impactful, well-attended and highly visible event with the other Steering Committee members and other partners.

Chaired by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Co-chaired by Urbanice Malaysia and UN-Habitat. The APUF-7 Steering Committee is composed by:

• United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Chair)
• Urbanice Malaysia (Co-Chair)
• United Nations Human Settlements Programme (Co-Chair)
• City of Penang Island (Host City)
• Asian Development Bank
• Asian Coalition for Housing Rights
• Bloomberg Philanthropies, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy
• C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
• Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore
• Commonwealth Local Government Forum
• European Union / International Urban Cooperation Programme
• Huairou Commission
• ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
• Ministry of Housing & Local Government, Malaysia
• The Rockefeller Foundation
• United Cities and Local Governments Asia and the Pacific
• United Nations Development Programme
• World Business Council for Sustainable Development
• Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan
• 100 Resilient Cities
• City Council of Penang Island
• CityNet

Save the date!
Join us at the seventh session of the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) in Penang, Malaysia from 15 to 17 October 2019