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Together now! Launch event of The City We Need now! 3.0

This past Monday was the official launch of The City We Need Now! 3.0 (TCWNN), a global manifesto of the World Urban Campaign on the lead to the High-Level Meeting on the Review of the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda, to be held on Thursday 28 April 2022.

For the official launch, the World Urban Campaign held an online event attended by over 250 participants from international organizations, grassroots initiatives, civil society organizations, city authorities and businesses, urban professionals, and academics. At this critical moment for cities worldwide, the WUC partners have come together to present the framework and advance the principles and priority actions articulating TCWNN.

Sri Husnaini Sofjan, Co-Chair of the WUC and Huairou Commission representative opened the event. Her remarks addressed the changing nature of urban spaces and the rapid adaptation by society to respond to these challenges. She highlighted the urgent need to revisit The City We Need six years after the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in Quito, Ecuador. She underlined the need for action that TCWNN intends to bring forward, given the urgency of the climate crisis and the rise of inequalities around the world.

Christine Auclair introduced the new document crafted by the World Urban Campaign, a coalition that represents more than 220 institutions and organizations working on urban issues worldwide. She highlighted the fact that this is a living document, which is fed back through the involvement of all partners.

Olafiyin Taiwo, the representative of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, presented the new focus on Health and Well-being. Cities must ensure that everyone has the right to enjoy a healthy city to be prosperous. This implies action not only on clean water and clean air, but also green spaces within our public spaces, as well as the existence of health facilities that welcome everyone.

Chris Elisara, from World Evangelical Alliance, stressed the importance of global networks in implementing programmes to improve peace and security in cities, and displayed a series of practices and networks to develop and disseminate knowledge and tools on urban safety.

Cities thrive on nature and culture said Jane Katz, from Global Urban Development, in her presentation on climate resilience and adaptation, where the capacities of local stakeholders, communities, and governance systems must come together.

Smartly Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs´ representative Analia Pastran referring to the principle of Gender Inclusion and Equality, stressed how this is not only a principle that is structured and applied in the rest of the ten principles of TCWNN, but that they are all cross-cutting and interconnected.

Facilitating sustainable innovation and inclusive prosperity, as well as promoting the right to decent work, livelihoods and shared prosperity are key to an economy for all. Following Marc Weiss, Chairman of Global Urban Development, this can only be achieved through greater interdependence and complementarity between urban and rural spaces.

Claus-Peter Echter, from ICOMOS, referred to the increase in investments to protect the natural and cultural heritage of cities, while Eric Huybrechts, from Institut Paris Region/FNAU-MTPA, mentioned culture, arts, and creativity as potential catalysts for integration, education, and social cohesion.

Circe Monteiro from INCITI and the Federal University of Pernambuco together with Judith Hermanson, presented the principle of local governance. The former emphasized urban legislation as an indispensable pillar of sustainable urban development. The latter asserted that both public participation and democratic governance nourish each other and provide benefits from a philosophical but also practical point of view.

Didier Vancutsem, from IFLA Europe, explained how urban design and planning are one of the cornerstones and key tools in responding to evolving social and environmental needs in terms of accessibility, walkability, mobility, energy and resources.

Compact Housing representative Ben Wong referred to housing as a central human right to guarantee the right to the city for all, while Tristan Morel, from Villes en Développement, emphasised accessible public transport for all in order to improve access to jobs and services.

Bernadia Tjandradewi from UCLG ASPAC emphasized the importance of international cooperation in reference to SDG 17 to achieve the realization of all the SDGs at local and global levels. The session was brought to a close by Sandeep Chachra, part of ActionAid India and Co-chair of the WUC, who took up the different ideas gathered from the principles and the different speakers at the event.

The City We Need Now! represents a new rallying cry by all actors in society to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by the end of the decade to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11, while meeting the ever-more urgent crises of climate change, global pandemics like COVID-19 and the challenge of integrating into cities and towns large numbers of new migrants and refugees while also recognizing their rights. The end of this session is nothing more than a new beginning to continue working for and with our cities and thereby involving all those who participate in their daily life.

This document serves for civil society, business, and local institutions to reaffirm and update their common commitment to the realization of a new urban paradigm. A paradigm that reviews the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and shares aspirations with the High-Level Meeting on the Review of its Implementation, as well as other global agreements, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction or the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants.


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