Asia Pacific countries that account for over 55% of global urban population have resolved to adopt ‘Urban Plus’ approach taking urban planning and development beyond city limits to prevent unmanageable and unsustainable urban expansion. This was contained in the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ adopted here today on the conclusion of three day deliberations of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD). The theme of the conference was ‘Emerging Urban Forms-Policy Reforms and Governance Structures in the Context of New Urban Agenda’.In the Implementation Plan that was also adopted, the member countries have also strongly recommended formulation of National Human Settlement Policies to promote inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable city and human settlements.Briefing media persons on the deliberations and outcomes of APMCHUD, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh stated that the New Delhi Declaration has strongly advocated planning for urban and adjoining rural areas in an integrated manner instead of looking at them as independent entities. The Declaration also called for a thorough review of existing policies and formulation of new policies to promote New Urban Agenda adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development in Quito, Eucador in October this year. Noting governance as the key to sustainable development, the Declaration stressed on the need for effective governance structures in urban areas.
The Implementation Plan further recommended land regulation policy mechanisms such as land pooling to ensure inclusive and participatory planning, integration of land use and transportation planning across defined boundaries of cities and mixed land use, enforcement and incentivasation of timely execution of infrastructure projects, formulation of comprehensive urban parking policies and community participation in urban planning and service delivery.In view of the vulnerability of most of the Asia Pacific countries to natural disasters and other risks, the Implementation Plan has recommended urban resilience as a criteria for investment. Resilience is the ability of cities to withstand and absorb disasters and shocks and maintain normal services and quickly return to normalcy.Rao Inderjit Singh said that the Asia Pacific countries committed themselves to take forward the New Urban Agenda through necessary policy initiatives and by strengthening respective and joint actions besides ensuring housing for all in the framework of sustainable urban development.He said that India has assumed the leadership of APMCHUD for the next two years by when the Asia Pacific Region would transform into predominantly urban from being rural now and accordingly has a major responsibility in fostering collaboration to forge the emerging challenges. The member countries adopted the New Delhi Declaration and the Implementation Plan by thumping of desks after they were read out by the Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu and commended them for adoption.Shri Naidu announced that the next biennial APMCHUD will be hosted by Iran.