Do you know you are a member of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP)? As a member of your national planning organisation you are also a member of CAP.
CAP was established in 1971 and represents the interests of over 40 000 planners across the Commonwealth. Our Mission is the advancement of urban and regional planning across the Commonwealth to meet the challenges of urbanisation and the sustainable development of human settlements.
Given the Commonwealth’s total population of 2.2 billion citizens, 60% of whom are under the age of 30, working together to meet the challenges of urbanization and sustainable development of human settlements makes sense. CAP’s members are the national planning bodies of Commonwealth countries and we also assist in Commonwealth countries without national planning bodies. Through our work as planners we seek to achieve an effective contribution to the well-being of society and the creation of more sustainable settlements and adequate shelter for all. We aim to strengthen the planning profession in the Commonwealth through knowledge sharing, education, research, collaboration with other professionals and the dissemination of good practice.
Our work programme addresses the biggest challenges faced by Commonwealth planners including climate change, health, capacity building, food security, planning education, resilience and gender. Through these initiatives and the promotion of improved forms of participatory governance and new approaches to urban planning we aim to help achieve a more sustainable future for all. These challenges are often made worse by planning resources being very limited particularly in those countries experiencing the most rapid urban growth; also in many smaller countries planning education is virtually nonexistent. CAP provides an opportunity for planners across the Commonwealth to share experiences and work together to help tackle these and other issues.
Much of the work is undertaken on a voluntary basis but we also receive funding for specific projects from a number of sources including the Commonwealth Foundation and UN Habitat.
CAP is unique among international planning organisations in having direct access to Commonwealth Governments at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings (CHOGM) and parallel Commonwealth Peoples’ Forums. Through active engagement in these events CAP has successfully ensured that the value of planning is recognised at the highest levels in Commonwealth Governments.
CAP also has a Women in Planning network and a Young Planners network and plays a leading role in developing the planning profession and planners throughout the countries of the Commonwealth.
CAP runs regular free webinars for our members and is also participating in important projects around the globe such as the World Urban Campaign, preparation for Habitat III in October 2016, Strengthening Capacity to advance a Caribbean Urban Agenda and the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Forum Conference held in Gabarone, Botswana in June 2015. CAP also attended the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) held in Malta in November 2015 and presented in sessions on Resilience Building and Food Security as a precursor event to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. The CPF brings together civil society leaders from across regions to challenge, think critically and re-imagine key issues facing Commonwealth people.
The CPF theme for the 2015 meeting was ‘resilience’. In today’s world of growing threats and crises – linked to climate change, fluctuating financial markets, conflicts and epidemics – building resilience is now widely accepted as a development planning objective.