Networking Event

Aligning commitments and expectations to achieve SDGs and the New Urban Agenda

9th session of the World Urban Forum

Friday, 9 February 2018, at 9:00 to 11:00 AM -  Room 402, Kuala Lumpur Convention Center

Announcement (PDF)


The built environment sector comprises on the supply side, contractors, engineering contractors and firms supplying professional services in engineering, urban planning and all the other professional disciplines needed to develop and sustain the urban environment.

They  collaborate closely with non-governmental organisations and academic institutions in meeting society’s needs on the demand side that are generally articulated and responded to by government authorities in collaboration with organisations representing civil society and other stakeholder groups.

Bringing the two sides of the sector together to speak with one voice at the highest levels of public life has always been a challenge since there are not only the sector actors but also the many related sectors that finance, insure and provide oversight for the huge amount of investment in  buildings, plant and infrastructure. Involved are banks, both public and private, and other financiers, insurance firms, representatives of labour, and many branches of government .

The World Urban Forum networking event

Rather than attempt to build an all-encompassing organisational framework, the networking event will centre discussion on potential joint commitments aimed at establishing a shared vision for the built environment sector through the adoption of a common framework for proposing new initiatives, developing the necessary tools and implementing specific actions. The hope is that the basis for a way to establish these joint commitments and a common action plan in specific areas can be mapped out.

Overall concept

The overall concept is that the ISO 37101 sustainable development in communities standard’s approach to urban development can be used as the basis for ways to identify and implement  specific actions that meet the purposes of sustainable development .

The standard identifies sustainability purposes in six areas where each purpose can be addressed by action in 12 areas. This matrix of purposes and action areas is of course not cast in stone: it can be adapted as necessary and will no doubt evolve as the approach become more widely used.

However the matrix evolves,  the essential principle is that a community at any scale– be it a region, city or neighbourhood, for instance – should develop and manage its sustainable development across all purposes and areas of action.

The approach recognises that difficult decisions have to be taken since trade offs will often be needed where action and improvement targeting a purpose of sustainability such as responsible resource use may jeopardise another purpose such as attractiveness.

Conversely, synergies can be reinforced where a purpose of sustainability, enhancing social cohesion for example, benefits from coordinated action in areas such as governance, transport and education.  

In general terms therefore, for FIDIC and its partners in its Urban Sustainability Management (USM) programme, the 37101 approach provides a logical and organised way to take separate and distinct  interests into account in looking for the best overall solutions.

USM and the New Urban Agenda

The outcome of the networking event’s discussion is of course to support the New Urban Agenda and to ensure that actions contribute significantly to the Sustainable Development Goals.

The New Urban Agenda, as a global standard for urban sustainable development, articulates requirements  for social inclusion, environmental  sustainability, basic services, spatial  development, governance  structures , urban  prosperity, and connectivity and innovation. These areas or action correspond almost exactly to the ISO 37101 areas of action, noting that ISO 37101 includes governance in recognizing that while the New Urban Agenda targets national governments and local authorities with established governance structures, ISO 37101 has a much broader focus.

The ISO 37101 approach applies not only to communities organising  top-down  management of their sustainable development but also to projects aiming to maximize sustainability contributions without necessarily having in place on the demand side  a 37101 system, certified or otherwise, with requirements for project conformance.

More importantly, the ISO 37101 approach also puts in place strategies and analyses of context, processes and measures, and reporting and indicators to support implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

FIDIC USM Programme

FIDIC's USM programme envisages: 

  • developing tools such as the Urban Sustainability Management Platform (USMP.online) and training modules to support sustainability management at all scales, from neighbourhoods through to regions;  
  • continuing  participation in the development of guides and standards such as those addressing indicators systems for use with ISO 37101 (currently, these cover perspectives such as the quality of urban services, resilience and smartness); 
  • networking to share best practice from on-going pilot programmes and forthcoming implementations of USM; 
  • participation in organizational frameworks and fora such as the  International Standardized Sustainable City Club that has been established to promote the implementation of ISO 37101.

The networking event  programme

The networking event (involving short plenary overviews, breakout sessions and a final discussion) was organised by FIDIC and its partners at the 9th session of the World Urban Forum (Kuala Lumpur;  7 - 13 February 2018). It took place in Room 402 at the Forum venue, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, on Friday, 9 February 2018, at 9:00 to 11:00 AM – see draft announcement PDF

Background resources

The FIDIC WUF9 Networking Event builds upon the FIDIC Statement of Commitments released at COP23 - PDF.

FIDIC organises a webinar series that introduces ISO 37101 concepts and principles and and explains how they are implemented in a management system. The next webinar is on 22 January 2018 – see Events.  Presentations made at the last webinar are available as a single file - PDF.

ISO publishes a brochure describing ISO 37101 (PDF) and makes available an overview of the standard on the ISO browsing platform.

The background to the first ISO 37101 pilot programme (Hangzhou, China) is outlined in an ISO news item.

Dr Bernard Gindroz, Chair, ISO TC 268 (Sustainable Development In Communities) 2017 presentation of TC 268 activities - PDF.

The FIDIC USM programme and ISO 37101 were introduced at a COP23 (Bonn; November 2017) side event – PDF.

The status of various activities (support instruments, guides, events, platforms, training , etc) related to ISO 37101 are summarized at peterboswell.com - blog item.