Today, the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull, and the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos, met in Barcelona to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Catalonia and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. The objective of the MoU is to establish a framework of cooperation between the two institutions to share knowledge, provide mutual support and define cooperation programmes to carry out specific projects.
The Memorandum commits the two parties to develop common approaches on the role of cities in sustainable rehabilitation and recovery, while contributing to the resilience of fragile, disaster-prone and conflict-affected countries.
The cooperation actions and projects carried out will have a particular focus on Urban Resilience with implications in the following areas: urban policies, sustainable development, land planning, the fight against climate change and adaptation to its effects, management of water and other natural resources, waste management and urban public transport and sustainable mobility.
In this regard, the Catalan Government, through the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, has agreed to join efforts and maintain a close working relationship in order to achieve the objectives of this collaboration. Aside from providing financial support to the Human Settlements Programme, it has committed itself to providing technical expertise and access to learning opportunities, through case studies of Catalonia and by drawing on its professional networks and associated academia in Catalonia.
The Government will therefore participate in UN-Habitat events to share learning and practices in accordance with the MoU’s aims, while promoting, through its international links and networks, experiences, knowledge resources, innovations and learning initiatives.
At the signature, Minister Rull highlighted that today’s agreement “distinguishes us and gives us a level of recognition allowing us to exchange experiences and expertise”. “We want to offer and transfer our experience to the United Nations and we want the UN to give its coverage and endorsement to the approach being implemented in Catalonia”, he explained.
As for the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr Clos stressed the importance of the relationship between urbanisation and development and highlighted Catalonia’s experience in urban affairs. “Catalonia has a great tradition in terms of urban planning […] it’s surprising how difficult it is to introduce this concept in some societies”, he stated.
The signing of the agreement marks the start of yet another commitment by the Catalan Government in adopting UN policies and directives. Last October, the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability took part in the Habitat III United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. The conference, which took place in Quito, Ecuador, concluded with the adoption of the New Urban Agenda as a universal framework guiding sustainable development polices in cities for the coming years.