24 Mar 2014
The Future We Want, The City We Need

The Future We Want, The City We Need

Tuesday, 4 March 2014, New York

In preparation for the 7th session of the World Urban Forum 7 to be held in Medellín, Colombia, UN-Habitat and the Ford Foundation hosted ‘The Future We Want, The City We Need’  launch event was recently held in New York City.

‘The City We Need’ is a collective undertaking of the World Urban Campaign, a coalition of partners united by shared goals and a common vision for the city of the 21st century. The World Urban Campaign partners are asking what direction global urban development must take over the coming 20 years, and what are the principles that shall guide governments, their partners, and the international community, to prepare for a predominantly urban future. Global Compact Cities Programme is one of those partners and is represented on the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee.

This launching session gathered key organisations and personalities to exchange views on The City We Need process leading into the World Urban Forum, the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Habitat III conference.

The event was opened by Dr. Joan Clos, UN-Habitat Executive Director and Secretary General of the Habitat III conference. Ambassador María Emma Mejía, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, then delivered a moving speech about the transformation of Medellín from ‘Pablo Escobar’s town’ to a city that now serves as an international example of how social urbanism can promote social cohesion and equitable development. A spokesperson for Luis Felipe Henao Cardona, Minister of Housing, City and Territory for the Government of Colombia, spoke briefly after Ambassador Mejía and gave a warm welcome to all attendees in anticipation of their arrival in Medellín for the 7th session of the World Urban Forum.

The following participants were then invited to deliver individual presentations, based on the theme of moving towards a new urban paradigm, and engage in a panel discussion with questions from the audience:

• Nicholas You, Chair, World Urban Campaign Steering Committee

• Prof. Eugenie Birch, Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research, Co-Chair, World Urban Campaign Steering Committee

• Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity New York City

• Jockin Arputham, President and Founder, Slum Dwellers International

• Rose Molokoane, Coordinator, Federation of Urban Poor, South Africa

• Carolina Pinheiro, Governance Campaign Coordinator, Huairou Commission

Closing remarks for the event were delivered by Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy on Cities and Climate Change.

Global Compact Cities Programme Research Associate, Felicity Cahill represented the Cities Programme at this event. Felicity is pictured here at Rio de Janeiro in 2012; she coordinated the Urbanisation and Cities stream of the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum for Cities Programme. Her research on the Resettlement of the Vila Chocolatáo community in Porto Alegre, Brazil is soon to be launched in Porto Alegre.