Urban Journalism Academy on World Urban Forum 9
18 January 2018

Urban Journalism Academy on World Urban Forum 9: a knowledge sharing platform on the New Urban Agenda

The Urban Journalism Academy on the World Urban Forum 9 concluded in New Delhi on 19 January. With the participation of more than 40 media persons from across the country, the two-day workshop was a briefing platform that saw knowledge sharing and ideas being exchanged on issues linked to the global urban agenda.

A precursor to the World Urban Forum 9, summoned in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 7-13 February 2018, the academy was constructed around themes from the New Urban Agenda, a guide to national and local policies on sustainable planning and development of cities which is a blueprint for all stakeholders to implement the urban future.

The New Urban Agenda outlines principles or implementation along its five main pillars: national urban policies, urban legislation and regulations, urban planning and design, local economy and municipal finance, and local implementation. The academy sessions were similarly themed around these five pillars – Cities for all: Housing at the Centre, Climate change action and sustainable cities, urban policies and territorial development, innovative governance for inclusive cities, and urban economy and municipal finance.

Day 1 of the academy started with welcome remarks by Derk Segaar, Director, UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan. He touched on the macro issues at hand and outlined the objective of the workshop. This was followed by introductions to the New Urban Agenda and the World Urban Forum 9 by UN Habitat. The next session shifted focus to the first pillar namely housing for the urban populations and witnessed animated discussions on affordable housing and housing for all and the challenges and strategies to meet these objectives. The speakers in the session were from UN Habitat, Cities Alliance, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence and Development Alternatives.

The session on sustainable urbanization focused on issues of building resilience against climate change, including sustainable transport, mobility, urban planning and energy efficiency. The session featured speakers from UN Habitat, UN Industrial Development Organisation, the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and The Energy and Research Institute.

The last session on Day I discussed urban policies and territorial development focusing on urban planning and implementation accounting for different scales of cities. The session was led by UNDP and UN Habitat.

Day II of the academy started with exploring issues of innovative governance for inclusive cities. Participatory decision making in cities as well as the regulatory framework to support it was explored. The speakers came from within the UN System – UN Habitat, UN Women, the UN Resident Coordinator’s office, and UN Office of Information and Communication Technology. All the sessions were moderated by Jeannette Elsworth, Head of Press and Communication with UN Habitat.

The last session talked about urban finance and municipality finances and how adequate financing can ensure resources for creating and managing facilities. The session had speakers from UMC and RICS School of Built Environment. This session was moderated by Chetan Vaidya from UNDP.

The valedictory session of the academy was addressed by Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs. Linking recent policy and administrative achievements of his Government against the benchmarks established by AGENDA 2030, the minister gave the media participants much food for thought. He elaborated his ministry’s efforts on the five pillars of the NUA and efficiently answered a slew of questions posed by the participating journalists.

From our perspective, the academy was a success not only in terms of participation of key media professionals, but also achieved our set goals of sharing knowledge and resources on a focused platform. The academy acted as a sounding board for journalists who also responded positively to the workshop. The participants will hopefully use all this learning for future stories they would be filing on urban issues and also ensure good coverage of the World Urban Forum 9.


Here are the links to some of the stories published:


UN holds Journalism Academy on urbanisation and sustainability


Urban Affairs Minister Puri flags challenges of urbanization



Northeast’s traditional tech can be used for construction



India has messy urbanization, say experts


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