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New York, 13 Mar 14

Launch of the City We Need process in New York, March
Partners of the World Urban Campaign have presented their vision of how they will engage in, and contribute to, the new Global Urban Agenda in a document titled, The City We Need.
At an event held at the Ford Foundation New York headquarters in early March, World Urban Campaign launched the City We Need process, as a preparation to the 7th World Urban Forum to be held in Medellin, Colombia in April 2014.

The participants collectively designed the City We Need process as an innovative, multi-stakeholder contribution to the New Urban Agenda, engaging the international community, public, private, and civil society actors.

“How we plan, build, and manage our cities now will determine the outcome of our efforts to achieve a sustainable and harmonious development tomorrow,” the report says. “Well- planned cities afford all residents the opportunity to lead safe, healthy, and productive lives,” the report says.Well-designed cities present nations with major opportunities to promote social inclusion, resilience, and prosperity.

The document also warns against the negative impact of the current lack of national urban policies, poor planning that leads to the growth of slums and informal settlements, and poorly regulated real estate markets that create financial crises.

Speaking at the launch event, UN-Habitat Executive Director and Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Urban Development (Habitat III, 2016) Dr. Joan Clos emphasized climate change and social inequality as the two main challenges faced by cities worldwide. He urged cities and states to work together as equally responsible partners, and said that UN-Habitat is counting on the World Urban Campaign - a strategic collaborative platform - to build consensus on the key features of a much-needed new urban paradigm for the 21st Century.

The Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Ms. María Emma Mejía Vélez, acknowledged the key role played by Millennium Development Goals to achieve great progress in sustainable urbanization worldwide, and she called for an even more ambitious Post-2015 Agenda with specific targets for cities to open new opportunities for local urban processes. She said that long-term urban peace processes were sometimes needed to break invisible walls and to re-construct the social fabric of cities.

Mr. Jorge Alberto Pérez Jaramillo, Director of the Planning Department of the City of Medellin, explained how urban crises could be leveraged as opportunities for change to restore equity. Building on his city’s experience, he emphasized the importance of political inspiration, to define and maintain a long-term collective city project and to achieve continual transformation. He underlined the importance of education, culture, and innovation as crucial to laying the foundations of resilient, democratic cities.

Finally, United Nations envoy on Cities and Climate Change, and 108th Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg said that cities are uniquely equipped to combat climate change, and therefore must be part of the solution. He emphasized that climate change presents a tremendous opportunity for cities to invest in sustainability and become more resilient, more inclusive, safer, and economically vibrant, fulfilling their vital role as engines of innovation and progress.

 
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