ACUUS has a long lasting cooperation and strategic partnership with UN-Habitat. Our regular presence in UN-Habitat’s activities began at WUF7 in Medellin in April 2014, where we organized a networking event, titled “Equity and Equality Opportunities – Cities Think Underground”.
On September 16, 2014, UN-Habitat and ACUUS signed an MoU aiming to establish an official collaboration for raising awareness of the sustainable use of underground space for urban development, in particular for adequate urban drainage management, city planning, and sustainable mobility solutions, among decision-makers, local authorities as well as UN-Habitat staff. The ceremony was held in the UN-HABITAT New York office, with presence of ACUUS General Manager Mr. Jacques Besner, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, and ACUUS Secretary General Mrs. Sanja Zlantanic.
ACUUS was invited to organize an Urban Lab Session during the opening day of the Urban Thinkers Campus, in preparation of Habitat III, in Caserta, Italy, in October 2014. The Session was titled “Advanced Local Energy Planning and Underground Space Utilization: suitable and feasible solution for future sustainable and resilient cities” and ACUUS joined forces with World Urban Campaign. On October 2015, our Secretary General participated in New York, as a Member of the Working Group 1 “The City We Need (TCWN) 2.0 Drafting Committee”, to the meeting of the WUC 13th steering committee.
In February 2018, ACUUS hosted another Networking Event in the AFINUA Room at the World Urban Forum 9, in Kuala Lumpur, titled “Cities need underground – Equity and equality opportunities for the New Urban Agenda”. Prof. Dimitris Kaliampakos ACUUS President, along with Mark Wallace, Chair of the Organizing Committee of the 16th World Conference of ACUUS in Hong Kong, Tony Ho, Secretary of the Organizing Committee of the Conference and Yingxin Zhou, Director ACUUS Asia, made presentations dedicated to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and how a political commitment, breaking the sectorial, constituency and geographical silos, looking for cross-cutting linkages, can trigger new issues with better partnerships, synergies and coordination.
Later that year, after a couple of months of discussions with UN-Habitat to draft the final version of our new MoU, valid for 3 years, we finally signed it in Shanghai on October 27, 2019 during the World Cities Day Global Cities Forum. On behalf of Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, was Mr. Victor Kisob, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director who signed the MoU with Mr. Jacques Besner, General Manager of ACUUS.
In that important agreement it was highlighted that:
- ACUUS gained a much broader scope of activities regarding urban areas, and the focus and the primary results of our collaboration is the contribution of the Urban Underground Space (UUS) to the urban sustainability and resilience.
- There are still no funding obligations by parties, but we will organize joint trips, and “each party can be invited and participate on each other’s events, seminars, conferences, workshops and other similar events and occasions and consider recommendations of visiting Party in formation of reports and recommendations resulting from this cooperation.”
- UN-Habitat will consult ACUUS on issues related to policies, best practices, lessons learned, strategic consulting or technical advisory on matters of urban space planning and urban underground space inclusion, and will actively participate in review of ACUUS documents and policies regarding urban underground space planning, with consideration of its inclusion in the planning process