Urban challenges in the 21st Century
Urban 20 White Paper


Key drivers and centers of change, cities will either overcome or succumb to today’s pressing global challenges. In highlighting the critical role cities play in achieving global objectives, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon once observed, “Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities.” Challenges stemming from urban expansion, mobility, access to basic services, historical preservation, sustainable resources, employment, and the effects of climate change underscore the complex systems of cities. Tackling these challenges thus requires a
comprehensive and innovative approach to development, one that transforms outdated and less effective practices in urban planning.

A new Comprehensive Development of Cities Approach (CDCA) is proposed with the aim to empower the ecosystem of social actors and promote the sustainable development of cities. This approach provides decision-makers with a comprehensive long-term urban development agenda based on qualitative and quantitative data rooted in territorial analysis. This approach also seeks to generate knowledge, participation, and a shared vision of solutions.

In line with multilateral agreements, such as the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement, promoting and enhancing the role of local governments in decision-making is essential to the adoption of national strategies. The CDCA draws on the objectives included in these agreements by targeting four key areas for development: reducing inequalities, enhancing urban resilience, promoting inclusive digitalization and empowering metropolitan governance. In order to implement policies that focus on these areas of development,

CIPPEC has launched a method called PlanificACCION (Planning & Action), which allows for the rapid identification of key challenges and goals followed by strategic projects that promote dialogue and consensus building while providing quick solutions for governments and their citizens. By facilitating participatory planning and building social capital among leaders and communities, PlanificACCION contributes to reframe the way we plan and act towards the comprehensive development of cities.

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