New York, NY – On March 4th, the Ford Foundation New York headquarters hosted a key World Urban Campaign event launching the City We Need process, as a preparation to the 7th World Urban Forum to be held in Medellin, Colombia in April 2014.
World Urban Campaign partners 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.
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.
Read the UN News story on the event here, and view the press conference with the panelists on the same page.
You can also read the City We Need booklet, which provides the foundation for the City we Need process which the partners will continue until the Habitat III Conference in 2016.