Integrated Territorial Development

The interdependence between urban and rural territories, their flows and functions, is demonstrated through economic dynamics, sociocultural links, and environmental synergies that occur across these areas and the populations that live in them.  It is now commonly understood that addressing the themes of sustainable cities and human settlements and rural development in a complementary and mutually reinforcing manner will be essential in the implementation of the transformative, integrated, and universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework and the New Urban Agenda. A comprehensive systemic approach for integrated territorial development ­ encompassing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development ­ is recognized. Particular attention is being given to spatial planning at the city-region scale, infrastructure, connectivity, access to services, city-region food systems, natural resource management, and community resilience across the urban-rural continuum. However, as we dive into the implementation of SDG11 and the New Urban Agenda, it remains unclear how a systemic notion of urban-rural linkages will be translated into concrete policy, institutional, and financing frameworks for integrated territorial development.
In this context, the Communitas Secretariat facilitated and curated a “Stakeholder Dialogue on Urban-Rural Linkages” with the triple aim of:
  • Supporting multilateral discussions by providing stakeholders with technical space to address this issue;
  • Building capacity on the multiple dimensions, implications, and opportunities for integrated territorial development presented by urban rural-linkages; and
  • Contributing to the identification of guiding principles to operationalize positive urban-rural linkages for the implementation of SDG11 on Cities and Human Settlements and the New Urban Agenda.

Taking Our Integrated Territorial Development Work to Quito

Throughout the Habitat III process, Communitas has played a leading role in advocacy around urban-rural linkages and integrated urban and territorial development. By working with key stakeholders, from UN member states to urban practitioners and academics, the final draft of the New Urban Agenda, with its references to the territorial function of cities and balanced territorial development, is a testament to the success of this critical advocacy. During the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Communitas will continue its collaboration with its many partners in order to further consolidate support for this topic and prepare the next steps in implementing integrated urban and territorial development in the context of the New Urban Agenda.
Please join us on 19 October 2016 at 16:30-18:30 in Room MR8 in the main venue of Casa de la Cultura for the Networking Event “Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages through Integrated Territorial Development”. The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Communitas are co-organising this event in partnership with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the Government of Colombia, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, the Association of German Cities, the UN Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), and UN-Habitat. This event will focus on policy action around integrated territorial development and bring together a group of speakers with direct experience on this crucial issue, representing the Germany and Colombia governments, local governments from Cameroon, Ecuador and Germany, the OECD, ICLEI, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), RUAF-Foundation (Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food security), UNCRD, and UN-Habitat .

More information about this Networking Event can be found on the event flyer and speaker biographies.
Communitas Executive Coordinator Maruxa Cardama will also moderate two other events on this topic as to help ensure synergy among them: 
  1. 17 October, 09:00-09:45 at Urban Library – Launch of RDD Vol. 35: “Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages in Support to the New Urban Agenda:  This event will take place as part of the Urban Library space at Habitat III and is being led by UNCRD’s Chikako Takase.  
  2. 19 October, 08:00-10:00 – Special Session on Urban-Rural Linkages: At this event, UN-Habitat will seek to introduce the idea of a UN interagency group on this topic and announce the co-elaboration of international guiding principles for integrated territorial development and urban-rural linkages.  UN-Habitat’s Stephanie Loose is leading. More information about this session can be found on the flyer

Besides these events, there will be a number of other sessions taking place related to integrated territorial development, particularly UNITAR’s Training Session on 20 October, as well as events on food and cities


Integrated Territorial Development Workshop

31 May ITD WorkshopThis technical workshop, which was part of the long-term efforts of the Communitas Secretariat on this topic, was co­-organized with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and UN­-Habitat, and gathered a multi-disciplinary and multi-national group of territorial development and urban-rural linkages practitioners and experts. 

The objectives of this workshop were: (i) to review the zero draft of the Habitat III Conference outcome document in light of urban-rural linkages and integrated territorial development; (2) to contribute to the inception discussions towards the elaboration of guiding principles for urban-rural linkages; and (3) to continue nourishing the community of knowledge and practice on the topic. The workshop programme can be found here.

The workshop was held against the backdrop of the release of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning and the work of the UN Inter-­Agency and Expert Group on Indicators for the SDGs. It offered an opportunity to build upon the deliberations of Habitat III Policy Unit 6 “Urban Spatial Strategies” and other relevant Policy Units such as 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9; as well as on the work of a series of meetings organized during the past months on urban-rural linkages and integrated territorial development in various venues and with different conveners. 

The outcomes report can be found here
The list of participants is available here and their biographies are available in this document.
A series of presentations were delivered in order to provide background and contextualize the discussions. You can download the presentations below:
  • Mr. Remy Sietchiping, Leader of the Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit in the Urban Planning and Design Branch of UN-Habitat – Provided a review of Habitat III Policy Units outcomes to this regard, and the work of this entity and the UN system wide.
  • Ms. Christine Platt, Honorary Vice-president & Former President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners; Chair of the Working Group on the International Guidelines on Integrated Urban and Territorial Planning, and Expert of Habitat III Policy Unit 6 – Gave an overview of the evolution in the attention to planning at the international level and presented in detail the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Development, while providing specific case studies of particular cities and city regions.
  • Ms. Barbara Scholz, Advisor in the Sector Project Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions of the German Agency for Development Cooperation GIZ – Presented on how integrated urban and territorial development can help maximize mutually-reinforcing interconnections between sustainable urban development and the other challenges of humankind. She outlined priority areas for action based on the experience of a federal government and its development cooperation projects; and also offered a breakdown of action areas/entry points for the operationalization of urban-rural linkages.
  • Mr. Pedro B. Ortiz, Milano Politecnico Visiting Professor, metropolitan consultant to the World Bank, Interamerican Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union and United Nations, and author of “The Art of Shaping the Metropolis” – Presented on the imperative of metropolitan governance to respond to the 21st century challenges and opportunities that cities and rural areas face. He offered detailed reflections on the model of polycentric metropolitan region, where multiple centers of politics, governance, and finance take shape around the single, larger urban center.

Briefing on Integrated Territorial Development for the Habitat III process

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 1.35.08 PMOn 15 April 2016, the Permanent Missions of Colombia and Germany to the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and the Communitas Coalition convened a briefing focused on integrated territorial development in the New Urban Agenda.  The briefing was part of a series of meetings held during the past months on urban-rural linkages and integrated territorial development in various venues and with different conveners, including meetings in Puebla, Montería, Cuenca, London, Prague, and Toluca.  

This session in New York brought together a number of key stakeholders in the Habitat III process, from Member States and UN entities, to local authorities and civil society, as to gather inputs on this topic and help develop a way forward on integrating key concepts around urban rural synergies in the New Urban Agenda.
The outcomes of the event and other information can be found below:

Event on Integrated Territorial Development at the LAC Regional Meeting of Habitat III

Event on Integrated Territorial Development at the LAC Regional Meeting of Habitat III

On 18 April 2016, at the Habitat III Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting in Toluca, Mexico, the Communitas Secretariat, the Government of Colombia, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, UN-Habitat and the Ford Foundation convened the side event “Integrated Territorial Development and Urban Rural Synergies for the New Urban Agenda.”

Event on Integrated Territorial Development at the Europe Regional Meeting of Habitat III

Event on Integrated Territorial Development at the Europe Regional Meeting of Habitat III

On 17 March 2016, during the Habitat III Europe Regional Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic, the General Assembly of Partners (GAP), the official stakeholder engagement mechanism of the Habitat III process, organized a side event entitled “The Straight Road to Habitat III: Part II – Integrated Territorial Development and the New Urban Agenda.” The event was moderated by Communitas and featured views on the topic by various constituencies, namely Non-Governmental Organisations, Farmers, Planning and Urbanisation Professionals, Indigenous Peoples and Children & Youth. Click below for a summary of the event:

GAP Side Event Summary Integrated Territorial Development


Technical Briefing on Urban Rural Linkages for the UN SDGs Open Working Group

“The Rural Urban Nexus”

A technical briefing for Member States of the SDGs Open Working Group, UN Headquarters, New York, 22nd May 2014

In May 2014, the Communitas Coalition and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted a technical briefing for Member States of the SDGs Open Working Group (OWG). The briefing provided the technical space required to address this question and to unpack the topic of how to foster an integrated approach to promoting development across urban rural linkages in the SDGs.

Communitas and IFAD came together to provide the opportunity to examine the issue and to take a closer look at the feasibility and transformative potential of some of the proposals on the table. In response to the call from Member States, the briefing supported delegations engaged in the SDGs OWG in two ways:

  1. To better understand the multiple dimensions, implications and opportunities of the Urban-Rural nexus;
  2. To reflect on discussions within the SDGs OWG with a focus on existing target proposals; in particular as they relate to infrastructure, land use and planning, and access to financial services.

Communitas Issues Paper: “Harnessing the rural urban continuum for inclusive growth and universal access to infrastructure & services in the SDGs”

“Harnessing the rural urban continuum for inclusive growth and universal access to infrastructure & services in the SDGs”
Elaborated in January 2014 in the framework of the Communitas working groups on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the paper was authored by Mr. Thomas Forster, with the kind collaboration of members of the Communitas Advisory Committee from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Millennium Institute and Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security (RUAF).

Work Group on Linkages with rural development, including food security and ecosystem resources

Final Issues Paper:

Linkages with rural development, including food security & ecosystem resources

February 2014

In Autumn 2013, the Communitas Coalition set up six thematic work groups– covering a wide notion of sustainable and just cities and human settlements. Each of the six groups were administered by a core partner of the Communitas Coalition, with an expert on the relevant thematic area leading its works in close collaboration with the Communitas multi-stakeholder advisory committee. Work Group 5, entitled “Linkages with rural development, including food security & ecosystem resources” produced a thematic issues paper which paved the way for further discussions on urban rural linkages.