Planners seek to place planning on CHOGM agenda

PLANNERS from more than ten Commonwealth countries including South Africa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand will meet in Brisbane this week to push for planning to be placed on the agenda of the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

An initiative of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP), the State of Commonwealth Cities Symposium will seek to ensure that human settlements are a priority at CHOGM in Perth on October 28.

PIA President, Dyan Currie, said planning was of interest to CHOGM at the last meeting in 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago and planners will push for it to be on the agenda this year.

"At the last CHOGM, Heads recognised that rapid urbanisation was posing a significant challenge and that new and inclusive approaches to urban planning and management were central to achieving Millennium Development Goals," Ms Currie said.

She said the Brisbane symposium will produce a communiqué that will urge the Heads to make human settlements a standing agenda item at CHOGM.

According to Ms Currie, the Brisbane symposium will also call for CHOGM to recognise the value of cities in wealth creation and poverty alleviation throughout Commonwealth countries and support the key roles of local government and planning in delivering sustainable development.

With Commonwealth countries representing more than 2 billion people, or approximately 30 per cent of the world's population, Mr Currie said Commonwealth Governments cannot ignore human settlement and planning matters.

Aiming to result in the sharing of ideas and planning initiatives to promote the wellbeing of Commonwealth cities, the State of Commonwealth Cities Symposium takes place in Brisbane at the Queensland State Library on October 20-21.

The symposium will also include the launch of the 2011 State of Australian Cities Report by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese.

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