United Nations Human Settlements Programme – UN Habitat is organising the First International Forum on Urban-Rural Linkages, currently taking place in Songyang. China. The Forum is bringing together a broad base of stakeholders working in the urban-rural continuum under the theme “Rural revitalisation through innovation and valorisation“. The event will unveil the role of rural revitalisation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda vision to ensure that No One and No Place is left behind.

From 10 to 14 November, the host region, Songyang, will share its successful experience to systematically promote economic and social restructuring in rural areas, exploring a road of rural revitalisation built on culture and achieving favourable results. Songyang will present the key role that regional governments play to ensure the urban-rural continuum as the key to a sustainable future.

Urbanisation processes have shaped the way we live today. According to the UN, 68% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, that only amount to 3% of the earth’s surface today. The revitalisation of rural regions has been long neglected, but as people reclaim a more sustainable way of living and less crowded spaces, the importance of the rural environment is gaining more and more recognition. Rural spaces provide urban settlements with food, water supply, waste disposal, etc. In order to achieve SDG11 on sustainable cities and communities, it is necessary to sustain both urban and rural livelihoods and ecosystems, taking into account the sustainable management of the resources and requirements of both urban and rural areas.

In this sense, regional governments are a key component to achieve the urban-rural continuum, as they hold competences on water, waste and land management, transportation, etc. Regions4 is taking part of the FIURL building on its contributions to the Guiding Principles (URL-GP) and Framework for Action to Advance Integrated Territorial Development advocating for regional governments as vital contributors to an integrated territorial approach for sustainable development.