People, planet and participation: the Kuching statement on healthy, just and sustainable urban development published

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  • 2016•07•06     Kuala Lumpur

    This statement has been conceived based on insights from the Urban Thinkers Campus on Health and Wellbeing, held in Kuching, Malaysia as part of a World Urban Campaign initiative. Its aim is to crystalize key themes essential for healthy, just and sustainable urban development as inputs for Habitat III, the 3rd UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development in October 2016.

    Planet, people and participation are three key themes promoted in the Kuching Statement. They are grounded in the recognition that cities and urban settlements must play a driving role in ensuring that health of people and the planet need to be at the centre for urban planning and governance.

    The profound and rapid impacts that humans had on the Earth’s systems is now recognised in a new geological time called the Anthropocene. They are so significant that they pose tremendous risk for to people now and into the future posing an existential threat that must be considered in urban development, with over half the world’s population living in urban settlements.

    The Kuching statement advocates that cities put the complex interconnections between the ecological, economic and social foundations of health at the core of human development by living within ecological boundaries, focussing on health and wellbeing and adopting governance for health. The statement concludes with suggested tools and approaches, for example the need to adopt new economic models that maximize natural and social capital in human development or to prioritize local, self-reliant approaches to economic development while avoiding creating conditions of vulnerability. These and other recommendations can help cities to demonstrate ecologically sustainable and socially just pathways to human development and health.