1 November 2018

International seminar at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University addressed pressing issues on urban development

1 November 2018 - Al-Farabi Kazakh National University - KazNU (Kazakhstan), a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), recently organized through its Ban Ki-moon Institute for Sustainable Development, an international seminar with the theme Celebrating World Cities Day: Partnership for Sustainable Development and Viable Cities. The purpose of the event hosted by the UNAI Hub on Sustainability, was to draw attention to the problems of urban development, within the framework of the World Cities Day, that this year was focused on urbanization as a source of global development, economic growth and social inclusion.

During the seminar, faculty, staff and students of the host university and other institutions of higher education in the city of Almaty, as well as representatives of the United Nations, discussed about smart and sustainable cities. This included new approaches to the concept of “smart green campuses” and the implications of digitalization, the development of artificial intelligence and new social media on urban management for developing countries. Professor Mukash Burkitbayev, first vice-rector of KazNU highlighted that "the initiatives of the United Nations have enormous potential for the development of our cities".

“According to the UN HABITAT, the concept of urban development in the 21st century implies a paradigm shift based on the scientific achievements of urbanism and on new standards and principles of planning, construction, and urban development,” said Professor Rafis Abazov. Ramu Damodaran, Deputy Director for Partnership and Public Engagement at the United Nations Department of Public Information and Head of UNAI, noted the importance of the work of KazNU regarding sustainable development issues in Central Asia while also pointing out the relevance of the university in promoting ideas of the peaceful path to build a virtuous society.

The representative of the United Nations Information Office (UNIC) in Kazakhstan, Vlastimil Samek, stressed the importance of the World Cities Day. He talked in particular, about the special role of young people in the world in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and solving the global challenges, which, among other things, concern the problems of rapidly growing cities. "It is very important to actively begin the process of implementing the New Urban Agenda", remarked acting UNIC Director, Abdurahim Mukhidov. During the event, students from different faculties of the university presented their projects related to the topics that were discussed.