CAP Stands up for Planning

CAP stands up for Planning at the Commonwealth People’s Forum and CHOGM

The biennial Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) provide CAP opportunity to communicate directly with other civil society organisations and Commonwealth Governments. The recent CPF and CHOGM were held in Sri Lanka in November.

The CPF brings together civil society representatives from around the world to discuss and debate key issues facing Commonwealth people. The theme of the 2013 CPF was “Civil Society Perspectives for a Commonwealth Post 2015 Development Agenda’.  

CAP was represented at the CPF by CAP President Christine Platt and Secretary-General Clive Harridge. The purpose of participating in the CPF was to promote the role of planning and need for effective urban policy in the post 2015 development agenda with the aim of reflecting these in the CPF output document which was presented to Heads of Government.

In advance of both events CAP established a work group to prepare a paper setting out our views on issues related to the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The Paper was submitted to the Committee of the Whole (CoW) (a meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers) as an early contribution to the final CHOGM communiqué. The CAP submission was one of only ten civil society submissions and is available here.

At the CPF in Sri Lanka CAP held a fringe event entitled “Our Commonwealth Urban Future” (see separate item in What’s New section of web site) and in partnership with land surveyors, architects and CLGF, we produced a short outcomes statement which was fed into the regional proceedings which followed.

The final CPF outcome document ( reflects much of what we set out in our representations.   In particular, under the heading “urbanisation and Human Settlements” the CPF statement calls on Heads of Government to:

  • Give priority to urban growth and manage cities as significant agents of today’s global economy.  [This directly reflects CAPs identification of the need to address urbanisation and promote effective urban planning approaches.]
  • Address common concerns around health, waste management, land use management and transport.
  • Advance the Commonwealth State of the Cities programme as a reporting mechanism, and a means to build the evidence base for the development of urban policy. [The Programme has been led by CAP, and the endorsement of the need for follow up work is excellent.]
  • Establish a sectoral group on Human Settlements to build partnerships between government, Civil Society Organisations and the private sector. [CAP has been proactive in promoting the need to address human settlements at policy and practical levels and this endorsement is excellent.]

The CHOGM communiqué (http://www.chogm2013) has a focus on sustainable development and Heads of Government reaffirmed their commitment to ‘an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future’. Heads also adopted the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable, Inclusive and Equitable Development”.

There is much in the CHOGM communiqué in addition to a commitment to sustainable development that is relevant to the work of CAP and for us to connect into; for example there are specific references to:

-          Post 2015 development agenda – Heads want the Commonwealth to provide leadership, guidance and practical support for the post 2015 development framework

-          Climate change – recognised by Heads as a major challenge for all countries.

-          Oceans and seas - Heads emphasised importance of oceans and seas for range of economic and social activities [links directly to CAPs work on food security].

-          Role of local government – Heads recognised that encouraging participation and promoting local economic development are important roles for local government

-          Small states and small island developing states – Heads recognised that these are disproportionately impacted by the global economic crisis

-          Gender equality and empowerment of women [links directly to CAPs work on gender]

-          Health – need for healthy people to ensure sustainable development [links directly to CAPs work on Health].

In addition, the communiqué talks of the rapidly changing global environment and the need to promote sustainable development and new international approaches in order to realise “sustainable, inclusive and equitable development”.

Following the CPF and CHOGM, CAP will develop a document which sets out solutions and a way forward, using upcoming milestones, such as WUF 2014, CHOGM 2015 and Habitat III in 2016 to build a solid foundation to deal with sustainable development and urban issues which a post – 2015 agenda needs to include. We will also contribute to the ongoing work which Heads will be undertaking in preparing a Commonwealth Statement on the post 2015 agenda which will identify shared Commonwealth perspectives and recommendations.

Clive Harridge, Secretary General of PAC



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