We, the participants in the first Egyptian Urban Forum which was held in Cairo from 14 to 16 June 2015, representatives of government bodies, private sector, civil society organizations, research institutions, experts, the media and international organizations, thereby affirm our commitment to sustainable and comprehensive urban development capable of adapting with the challenges of urbanization in Egypt.
Thereby, we emphasize the importance of dialogue, supporting reforms and effective measures in the field of urban development which is based on the principles acknowledged by the 2014 Egyptian Constitution.
Recalling the resolutions of the Second Habitat Conference which was held in Istanbul in 1996, we thereby renew our commitment to the effective implementation of the right to housing and to improving the quality of life for all people.
Acknowledging that undesirable effects resulting from climate change and inequality impede the full implementation of the Habitat Agenda- taking into consideration the principles included in the post-2015 development agenda proposed by the UN-; we stress the need to consider the development goal related to urban development. This goal aims at making cities and human settlements a safe, resilient and sustainable incubator for all people so as to ensure overall prosperity and justice for all.
The First Egyptian Urban Forum has determined a number of basic issues on the national level that should be taken into consideration in the outputs of the Third Habitat Conference, hence contributing shape the new urban agenda:
- The acceleration of population growth.
- The structural imbalance of the housing market.
- The inadequacy of public services and infrastructure.
- The inefficient management of urbanization and lack of implementation of cities strategic plans.
- The excessive centralization, limited capacities and lack of competencies in cities and local administration units.
- The increased rates of unemployment and lack of job opportunities.
- The increased economic disparities and social exclusion in cities.
- The deficiency of the systems of land tenure and real estate registration procedures.
- The neglect of cultural heritage in cities and the lack of community awareness of its importance and need for preservation.
- The weak institutional framework and tools to deal with the risks of climate change.
- Disparities in economic and social conditions and in the availability of public facilities and services across cities.
- The proliferation of slums in urban areas.
Taking into account the efforts of the Egyptian government in facing urban challenges, we express our commitment to the following principles as the basis for the recommendation mentioned later:
- Man is the focus of urban development which targets improving the quality of life for all.
- Urban development should be based upon justice, inclusion and integration between the national, regional and local level in a decentralized framework.
- The participation of stakeholders is the main doorway into accessing urban development.
- Taking into account the principles of sustainability, and preservation of cultural heritage in all aspects of urban development.
According to the previously mentioned, the participants have agreed on the following recommendations:
- Design a legislative framework to implement the principles mentioned in the Constitution regarding urban development, housing and slum development, decentralization and sustainable development.
- Create a national policy for urban development and identifying clear mechanisms for its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
- Create policies and institutional frameworks promoting clear and balanced relations between rural and urban areas.
- Reconsider the law for local administrations that can achieve decentralization and enables local units to provide urban public services and facilities and to develop local economy.
- Develop the legal framework of land management law that clarifies the role of stakeholders and removes obstacles put in the way of achieving urban development.
- Develop the legal framework of the management and development of major cities.
- Design a housing policy that takes into account the current problems, provides adequate housing and addresses the structural imbalances in the housing sector in order to ensure that all citizens enjoy the right to access adequate housing.
- Create policies and programs to promote the use of new and renewable energy sources in urban development projects.
- Encourage the participation of all stakeholders and mobilize the resources necessary for the implementation of the State’s plan to develop slum areas and markets.
- Coordinate between the plans of the various Ministries of concern to address slums issues and providing adequate housing.
- Produce an institutional and legislative framework for the implementation of cities strategic plans in order to prevent the emergence of new slum areas.
- Emphasize the importance of implementing mega-projects within the framework of national and regional vision and plans.
- Produce an institutional framework to ensure the participation of all stakeholders involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of urban development programs.
- Evaluate the experience of new cities to derive lessons when planning future new cities.
- Provide necessary resources to ensure an equitable distribution of services and facilities
- Design plans and mechanisms to encourage the use of public transport and reduce reliance on private cars.
- Enact the integrated solid waste management system.
We call on all parties and representatives of government bodies, the private sector, international organizations, academia and research institutions, experts, media and civil society to participate in the urban national campaign in order to address the pressing urban challenges and offer visions, methods and solutions to respond to them.