High-level Panels

23-25 October 2023
Suwon Convention Center

Urban and Territorial Planning


Urban and Territorial Planning Thematic Track, Plenary High-Level Panel 1
Morning, 23 October 2023, Suwon, Republic of Korea

“Reforging post-pandemic pathways to sustainable urban development in Asia and the Pacific”



  • Lumanti Shrestha Joshi
    Programme Manager-Housing
  • Azam Khan
    Chief Executive Officer (Actg.), Suva City Council
  • Nga Kor Ming
    Minister of Local Government Development
  • Bernadia Tjandradewi
    Secretary General
  • Mia Amalia
    Deputy, Nusantara Capital Authority
  • Jean Todt
    Special Envoy for Road Safety
    United Nations
  • Noboru Sekiguchi
    Special Advisor to the Governor on International Affairs Tokyo Metropolitan Governmen

Special interventions

  • Clarence Gio Almoite
    Asia-Pacific Youth Environment Network (APYEN)
  • Pradeep Kumar Jena
    Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha India
  • Boutu Bateriki
    Minister of Internal Affairs

Urban and territorial planning plays a critical role in addressing and mitigating the impacts of multiple crises, including climate change, social inequality and economic instability. It is an integrative and participatory decision-making process that addresses competing interests and is linked to a shared vision, an overall development strategy and national, regional and local urban policies. This promotes local democracy, participation and inclusion, transparency and accountability to ensure sustainable urbanization and spatial quality. Urban and territorial planning contributes to the creation of resilient and sustainable communities and cities by providing a framework for coordinated action and strategic decision-making at various scales, including supporting:

1. Resilient infrastructure
Facilitating the development of infrastructure that can withstand multiple crises is critical for cities. For example, transportation systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote walkability can also provide reliable access to critical services during extreme weather events. Avoiding locating development in places susceptible to climate change impacts (e.g., flooding, sea level rise and forest fire-prone areas) can also help safeguard infrastructure.
2. Inclusive communities
Creating more inclusive communities by ensuring that all residents have access to essential services and are not disproportionately affected by crises. This includes access to affordable housing without compromising access to economic opportunities, the provision of emergency services, and the development of public spaces that are accessible to all. The creation of inclusive communities also needs to recognize a key demographic shift that Asia Pacific cities are going to face in the next fifty years – the rise of an ageing population. Urban spatial planning takes a key role in ensuring fewer older people living in socio-spatial inequality.
3. Economic development
Creating land use planning regulations such as zoning to support both the informal and formal economy and the growth of businesses and industries, as well as the development of supporting infrastructure and the identification of strategic economic zones.
4. Health and well-being
Supporting health and well-being in cities by promoting access to green spaces, active transportation, access to healthcare services, access to safe, secure and adequate housing and settlements, social infrastructure and reducing noise and air pollution.
5. Sustainable development
Localizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through supporting and resourcing partnerships with non-state actors, including civil society and community-based/grassroots organizations, promoting compact cities, and encouraging sustainable development practices that support energy transitions and reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts, which can, in turn, mitigate the impacts of climate change. This includes the creation of green spaces, improving walkability, adoption of renewable energy sources, promotion of sustainable transportation options, etc.
6. Integration, coordination, collaboration and partnership
Supporting the integration and coherence between national and local urban policies, and facilitating the coordination, collaboration and partnership among diverse stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organizations, academia and private sector actors, to ensure that resources are allocated effectively and responses to crises are coordinated and efficient.

Overall, urban and territorial planning can help communities adapt to and thrive in the face of multiple crises by providing a framework for coordinated action, strategic decision-making and long-term resilience.


The session aims to discuss and actively encourage the interplay between spatial planning and multi-level action for the Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda in addressing social and spatial inequality, climate change impacts, economic development, urban health and well-being in the post-pandemic context. The session will also explore the existing initiatives of partners to respond, recover and facilitate integrated and sustainable spatial development at various governmental and territorial scales and by various stakeholders, as well as identify potential new and innovative solutions.

The high-level panel will bring together different regional solutions, innovative ideas and impactful initiatives that have contributed to more just, green and healthy cities.

Substantive Context

The COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and economic crises have had significant impacts on cities and urban areas, affecting social, economic and environmental aspects of urban life and highlighting and exacerbating existing inequalities. Low-income and marginalized communities have been disproportionately affected by these crises, with limited access to resources, online services, health care and social support. These challenges present obstacles and opportunities to successfully integrate spatial planning into sustainable development policies, investments and actions. Spatial planning should be rooted in human rights, take a regional perspective, integrate development with infrastructure, focus on implementation, be informed by budgets, secure political legitimacy, incorporate subsidiary and diversity, and capitalize on the special characteristics of places.

The complementary interconnection between sustainable development and spatial planning can allow cities to make important progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda to address multi-pronged crises, simultaneously impacting areas of poverty and social exclusion, food systems, health, territorial cohesion, climate action, mobility, integrated digital transformation, improved private sector involvement and enhanced local employment opportunities.

Co-leading Organizations

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • earoph
  • Huairou Commission

Audience Engagements

Based on the recommendations set forth in the Future of Asian-Pacific Cities 2023 report, entitled “Crisis Resilient Urban Futures”, audience were asked to vote on the policy recommendations which will have the greatest impact. The highest voted policy recommendation was ensuring the provision of capacity-building and coordination for effective urban planning and local action. To access the full report, visit https://www.unescap.org/kp/2023/future-asian-and-pacific-cities-2023-crisis-resilient-urban-futures.

Following the panel discussion, the audience are asked to summarize the discussion by highlighting some of the keywords that were shared.