Ms. Cerin Kizhakkethottam, Project Coordinator, ESCAP
Cities are the main creators of economic wealth, generating over 70 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Most industries and businesses are located in or within the immediate vicinity of urban areas, providing city residents with jobs. Because most employment opportunities are within urban areas, cities attract large parts of a country’s job-seeking population.
Today, over 50 per cent of the world’s population is urban dwellers, with this figure expected to rise to over 65 percent by 2030. If urban economic opportunities do not keep pace with the influx of jobseekers, urban poverty can have dire results for the health and well-being of large shares of the population.
Agglomeration economies are key drivers of economic growth but need to be harnessed. Cities exist because there are economic benefits associated with urbanization. However, unplanned or poorly planned urban expansion can create dynamics which stifle the drivers of the urban economy. Overdependence on an industry, employer or resource can increase risk to economic shocks. Cities with such kind of monopolistic structures are particularly vulnerable to the changing fortune of these industries. Public sector actions such as plans, policies, and their implementation can guide urbanization toward an efficient and equitable urban future. Land use, infrastructure, and transportation can be coordinated in ways that support economic growth and innovation, advance social equity, and promote quality employment for their residents.
Action at APUF-7
This session will set the tone for the transformative and sustainable paradigm shifts the Asia-Pacific region is able to achieve when cities, as the economic engine of the nations, are planned inclusively, sustainable and resilient. The Keynote Speaker will set the scene of future trends of urbanization interlinked with economic growth and key experts will present different entry-points and views to respective topic in the format of a World Café. Participants are encouraged to be part of the World Café session and step into dialogues with key urban economy experts and stakeholders.
The lead organizers for these thematic tracks were:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)