26 APR 2023
“Action should have started yesterday”, HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-HABITAT tells ADSW Talks
“When we talk about sustainability, we are broadly talking about what we do now, and how our actions will affect the resources of our future generations”, HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Program told ADSW Talks.
“We would like to see development that is not just economically viable, but also environmentally, socially and psychologically viable. These four factors are critical when we talk about about sustainable development.”
Ms Maimunah heads up the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), which is the United Nations program for human settlements and sustainable urban development. The twin goals of the Habitat Agenda are to achieve adequate shelter for all and the development of sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world.
When discussing the importance of how to approach sustainable development, Ms Maimunah said: “We only have one planet, so a ‘one ecosystem’ integrated [approach] to planning is very important’. In addition to “strategies, plans, and urban policies, financing is one of the key items of sustainable development.” Financing, “is not just important for implementation, but also for monitoring and evaluation.”
“We want to change the narrative that cities are the source of all problems, including climate change”, said Ms Maimunah. Cities are a “center of innovation, creativity, education, and health”, and they should be, “used as an accelerator to look for urban solutions to climate change.”
Ms Maimunah said her aspiration was for climate change to be tackled through “one ecosystem” and “not in compartments”. “My personal hope is that we need to find the roadmap, the solution and the action, and the “action should have started yesterday”. “The UAE is bringing inclusive stakeholders to COP28” and this will allow participants to learn, rethink and understand from a sharing of best practice, challenges and lessons learnt.”
When asked what her wish for the future was, Ms Maimunah said: “I wish a better world for my grandchildren and for my great grandchildren”. We have to make the cities right, and this starts with, “planning, implementation and management”.
The ADSW Talks series hosts influential figures from across the sustainability sector to share their perspectives on the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the world and the collective willpower and solutions needed to build a more sustainable future for all.