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Daily report for 20 June 2006

3rd Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF3)

Participants at the third session of the World Urban Forum (WUF3) convened in the morning plenary, followed by four dialogues and special sessions on: achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on slum upgrading and affordable housing; public engagement; assets-based development of urbanizing regions; and a trialogue on water, sanitation and human settlements. Forty concurrent networking events were held in the afternoon, offering an opportunity to share experiences on various aspects of sustainable urban development.


The plenary was held under the theme of Social Inclusion and Cohesion.

Alphonso Jackson, Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), advocated home ownership for strength and safety of cities, saying it is key to financial security, social engagement and higher education. Conversely, he said, homelessness has a devastating effect on urban areas. Jackson explained that HUDs mission is to increase home ownership and noted that the US is eager to share its experiences with the role of government, rule of law, property rights and eradication of corruption, and to work in partnership with other countries on home ownership issues.

Jockin Arputham, President, National Slum Dwellers Federation of India, outlined actions taken by slum dwellers to improve their situation, such as building credit worthiness. He cautioned that as the number of conferences, papers and seminars is increasing, so is poverty in developing countries. He called for stopping forced evictions, and advocated community-based development and genuine cooperation between the developed world and slum dwellers. 

Lindiwe Sisulu, South Africas Minister of Housing, said poverty should be addressed directly and noted that: many of the poor are excluded from services they need; poverty affects 80 percent of the urban population in the developing world; the urban poor are marginalized by unemployment and illiteracy; and that urbanization of the poor is accelerating at a rate most governments cannot manage.

During the ensuing discussion, Jackson said the US worked with South Africa to enhance housing markets. He agreed with Arputham that governments need to respond quickly to community-based initiatives. Sisulu added that these initiatives should complement national ones. She welcomed the idea of savings schemes for slum dwellers, which enable the poor to help themselves out of the poverty trap. She argued that while government is not the only player responsible for the provision of housing, it plays a role in ensuring security of tenure.


ACHIEVING THE MDGs: Slum upgrading and affordable housing: Moderator Jacques Bensimon, Commissioner, National Film Board of Canada, invited panelists to address the question of secure tenure.

Noli de Castro, Vice-President of the Philippines, stated that, despite advances in tackling urban poverty, a growing population and lack of natural resources have increased the number of the countrys poor. He detailed his governments strategies, including regularization of the tenure of informal settlements and relocation of 80,000 families.

Arputham emphasized that until permanent solutions are found for housing, evicted people will rebuild slums elsewhere.

Miloon Kothari, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, stated that despite 30 years of standard development and progress in achieving adequate housing, there is increased land-grabbing, forced eviction, homelessness, and property speculation. He said the scale of this dispossession undermines the MDGs and called for a pledge from governments to stop forced evictions.

Luz Maria Sanchez Hurtado, Director, Estrategia NGO, discussed the impact of unlawful evictions on the urban poor in Peru. She noted that self-organization within slums was critical in creating survival programs for displaced families. Many delegates stressed that womens rights must improve with regard to land, property, inheritance, housing, and protection from domestic and other forms of violence.

Participants then discussed involvement of the urban poor in slum upgrading. Rose Molokoane, Chairperson, South African Homeless Peoples Federation, said numerous commitments to slum upgrading remain little more than words on paper.

Alfredo Stein, former Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) consultant, emphasized the creation of support systems by strengthening NGOs, the capacity of local governments to work together with the community and commitments from international donor agencies.

Delegates called for more aggressive ways to ensure that human rights and housing are incorporated into national laws to allow the urban poor to realize their rights. Some also drew attention to addressing homelessness following eviction.

On securing adequate funds for slum upgrading, Jerry Trenas, Mayor of Metro Iloilo, Philippines, stated that if given greater responsibilities and power, local governments could address urban poverty more effectively.

Arif Hassan, Chairman, Urban Resource Centre, Pakistan, discussed types of financing schemes for slum upgrading. He stressed that foreign loans may be a poor option for affordable and sustainable funding, not only because of their conditionalities, but also because overhead expenses can lead to significant increases in the cost of materials. He underscored that partnerships between local governments and people would allow communities to manage indigenous funds, acquire skills and implement essential infrastructure.

Elio Codato, World Bank, discussed how the necessary funds might be mobilized to achieve the MDG target on slum upgrading. He commented that lending for slum upgrading is only part of the answer, and emphasized: a role for the international donor community; targeted national government subsidies; and enabling local governments to respond to local challenges. Discussion focused on the role of the private sector in slum upgrading, with a particular focus on microfinance.

In closing, David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), called for a new model of cooperation between large funding agencies and slum dwellers to replace 30 years of professionals failure to upgrade slums.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: The inclusive approach: Facilitator Zain Verjee, CNN Anchor, opened the dialogue on public engagement to a standing-room-only audience.

Peter Oberlander, Centre for Human Settlements of the University of British Columbia (UBC), noted a gradual move toward the inclusive, transparent and participatory discussion necessary for livable cities.

Marcello Balbo, University of Venice, advocated tolerance, cultural diversity, and an equitable environment, and noted that governments, while playing a central role, cannot achieve sustainable urbanization by themselves.

Kay Andrews, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK, noted that local communities need to be empowered to address the toxic mixture of urban hopelessness and desperation.

Mary Balikungery, Rwanda Womens Network, stated that communities require substantive partnerships, and that they must set goals for themselves and decide how to dialogue with central governments.

 Jean-Pierre Mbassi, Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments Africa, noted the important role of local governments, which must deliver services without adequate resources. 

 Naokazu Takemoto, Japans Vice-Minister of Finance, emphasized the need to ensure the effectiveness of official development assistance, and noted that increased participation leads to more effective results.

  Akin Mabogunje, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, said current structures of engagement pose a barrier to societal involvement and described the mixed blessings of representative democracy, free market economy, and information technology in Africa.

 Participants further discussed: interaction between government and NGOs; government leadership and commitment; and reconciling conflict between traditional and modern land ownership. They also debated the role of professional associations such as planners and architects.

One participant remarked that the media has been negligent in its role of holding elected officials accountable. There was widespread agreement that women need to be further engaged in meaningful ways. Many called for greater transparency in policy and project decisions, with one panelist arguing that although this is difficult to achieve, once accepted as a norm it is difficult to rescind.

Some questioned the inevitability of urbanization, and called for policies that will strengthen the viability of rural living. One participant remarked that the needs of people with disabilities are closely linked with the MDGs and need to be better acknowledged. Several delegates urged greater youth involvement, and called for funding targeted at youth-led initiatives.

THE WEALTH OF CITIES: Towards an assets-based development of urbanizing regions: This special session was chaired by Richard Stren, Chair, Global Research Network on Human Settlements, and consisted of the inaugural UN-HABITAT lecture and a panel discussion.

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director UN-HABITAT, presented the 2006 UN-HABITAT Award of US$10,000 to John Friedmann, Honorary Professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, Canada. She noted that the Award recipient is required to deliver a lecture, provoking new thinking and practice in the field of human settlements.

Friedmanns lecture, titled The Wealth of Cities: Towards an Assets-Based Development of Newly Urbanizing Regions, analyzed regional assets found in most urban areas: human resources, including housing, education and health; civil society the organizing activities of citizens; cultural heritage and traditions; intellectual and creative assets such as universities; natural assets such as lakes and land; environmental qualities; and urban infrastructure such as transportation and utilities. He argued that the true wealth of cities is found in the progressive development of these assets endogenously rather than marketing themselves and soliciting outside capital, and that the role of government is to facilitate self-motivated development and establish, in consultation with citizens, priorities for managing asset development.

Carole Rakodi, University of Birmingham, noted that currently the Gross Domestic Product index only measures financial aspects. She questioned whether Friedmanns model reflects the reality of community conflicts and rivalries and whether economic revitalization is possible even for declining cities. Om Prakash Mathur, Indias National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said it is important to consider how to reconcile cities short-term requirements with long-term sustainable development aims. Peter Ngau, University of Nairobi, welcomed Friedmanns model of constructing sustainable cities and the nature of true prosperity.

Ensuing discussions covered: the role of public space; the optimum size of government and cities; womens property rights; the value of financial capital, in particular for low-income households; and how to prevent the exportation of assets from developing regions such as brain drain.

TRIALOGUE ON WATER, SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair, Global Water Partnership, moderated this special session.

Noting that India has over 60 million slum dwellers, Kumari Selja, Indias Minister for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, highlighted a government initiative on urban infrastructure development and governance, and provision of basic services to the poor.

Ana Teresa Aranda Orozco, Mexicos Minister of Social Development, outlined cooperation between government agencies and municipalities to provide financial and other incentives to prevent the sprawl of illegal settlements and ensure access to water and sanitation services.

Anne Stenhammer, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, underscored the need to fully involve women in urban development planning and implementation, while Prabha Khosla, Gender and Water Alliance, and Selja advocated gender budgeting in the water and sanitation sector.

Tibaijuka recalled the centrality of access to safe water and basic sanitation to tackling poverty, addressing child mortality and empowering women. She said it is necessary to promote pro-poor investment in water and sanitation in developing countries cities. She recalled that in order to meet the challenges of providing water to the poor, UN-HABITAT has set up the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund for pro-poor investment in developing country cities to support implementation of relevant MDGs in Africa and Asia.

Noting the huge gap between the demand for and supply of water and sanitation finance, Arjun Thapan, Asian Development Bank, emphasized: financial health of local governments; direct reforms; small-scale private sector projects; zonal approaches in urban areas; and improved governance.

Moderator Catley-Carlson invited comments on public and private sector involvement, noting that 95 percent of water worldwide is delivered by the public sector.

Ronald Carlson, US Agency for International Development, stressed the importance of private sector involvement, citing the Global Development Alliance and Development Credit Authority as tools to leverage private sector investments.

Andr Juneau, Deputy Head, Infrastructure and Communities, Canada, said the challenge for governments is to find ways to measure progress in water management.

Timeyin Uwejamomere, WaterAid, emphasized the role of local cooperatives and the need to empower public utilities, and Khosla underscored local accountability.

Arcot Ramachandran, Chairman, TERI, urged care with regard to public-private partnerships to ensure equity and meet the sanitation needs of the poor, and that if rural areas are to attract investment, access to water and sanitation is essential. Juneau pointed out that public-private partnerships offer management expertise and delivery capacity not always available in the public sector.

On governance, Selja, Malik Gaye, ENDA Tiers Monde, and Albert Wright, UN Millennium Task Force on Water and Sanitation, called for local community involvement to ensure equity and access to water and sanitation. Aranda Orozco highlighted the need for local and federal government partnerships to manage water in an integrated and sustainable manner.

On strategies for sustainability, Ramachandran emphasized water storage capacity development. Uwejamomere and Wright said providing water and basic sanitation to those suffering from HIV/AIDS is key to treating the disease. Gaye and Thapan noted youths role in raising awareness.


PLANNING SUCCESSFUL SUSTAINABLE CITIES: Case study of Vancouver, Canada: Judie Rogers, Vancouver City Manager, discussed challenges associated with rapid growth within the citys geographical constraints. She described the governance paradigm within which Vancouver functions, and noted that many services such as transportation and utilities are more efficiently delivered on a regional basis. She said that collaboration benefits citizens at multiple levels, noting the examples of the Neighborhood Integrated Services Team, and the Vancouver Agreement, which seeks to improve the lives of drug users and sex workers in the downtown eastside. In closing, she noted that Vancouvers 2010 Olympic bid is built on the concept of partnerships.

Ann McAfee, Co-Director of Planning, City of Vancouver, noted unique aspects of Vancouver, including higher density housing and the absence of highways. She noted that consensus-based decision-making promotes greater compliance than imposed regulations, and described efforts to diversify the economy with information technology and creative industries. On transportation, she described developments in land-use planning and public transit, and challenges associated with suburbs. She urged greater equity in policy-making and delivery of social services, and described efforts to gain acceptance for higher density housing, emphasizing citizen involvement.

Larry Beasley, Co-Director of Planning, City of Vancouver, remarked that Vancouvers downtown core has shifted to a residential focus with the help of enabling regulations, infrastructure and community services. He emphasized green building practices and transportation alternatives, particularly walking. He cautioned that success brings its problems, such as displacement of low-income residents, and emphasized the need to balance residential and commercial space in the face of market pressures. He emphasized the need to ensure that the private sector serves the publics needs.

Peter Judd, Deputy City Engineer, City of Vancouver, said averting the creation of a highway through Vancouver signaled a turning point, and described initiatives that have been designed to favor cyclists and pedestrians, including traffic calming measures. He presented the Green Streets initiative, which encourages volunteerism in the creation of public gardens. He described support for sustainable construction, including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified buildings.

Participants discussed a range of issues, including how to strike the right balance between residential and commercial space, and how Vancouver has been able to reduce car use.

HOW TO INTEGRATE ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS IN CITY LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLANNING: Nola-Kate Seymour, President, International Centre for Sustainable Cities, moderated this networking event, organized by UNEP, ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, and Cities Alliance.

Kilaparti Ramakrisha, UNEP, noted a joint initiative with UN-HABITAT and the Government of Italy to strengthen environmental aspects in city planning, and emphasized that environment is an asset in city development.

Jeremy Harris, former Mayor of Honolulu, said sustainability is the single biggest challenge facing our society, especially cities. He also highlighted: sustainable communities; capacity building; good environmental policies; life-cycle costing; transformation of land-use patterns; reducing transportation demand; and improving energy efficiency.

Osman Asmal, Director of the Environmental Resources Management Department, Cape Town, South Africa, stressed the need for a new urban paradigm. He suggested that cities should be designed and managed using natural ecosystems as models.

Monika Zimmermann, ICLEI, presenting on behalf of T. Krishna Reddy, Mayor of Hyderabad, shared experiences of one of Indias largest and the worlds fastest growing cities in addressing the gap in urban services delivery. She said privatizing solid waste management and sub-contracting services to local small enterprises and community groups helped increase the serviced area by 25 percent, reduce costs, and generate income in the community.

Ewa Ciuk, ICLEI, outlined the findings of a study on appropriate tools for city strategic planning, emphasized the eco-city and participatory approaches.

During the discussion, participants focused on: harnessing political leadership; measuring the value of environmental investments; investing in people; long-term planning and immediate action; nuclear energy; and communication with grassroots organizations.

Ramakrisha summarized the session, stating it had produced meaningful options for incorporating environmental dimensions into city planning.

ADDRESSING CONFLICT IN WATER AND SANITATION SERVICES FOR THE URBAN POOR: Moderator Boniface Gondwe, Ministry of Water Development, Malawi, opened this networking event by noting that conflict can be an agent of change.

Srinivasan Janakarajan, Madras Institute of Development Studies, India, discussed multistakeholder dialogues to reduce conflicts and the impact of water extraction from peri-urban areas to serve the City of Chennai, India. He described positive outcomes of increased supply through tank renovation and waste reduction.

Refilwe Pitso, local government and water consultant, described conflicts that occurred in the large informal peri-urban settlement of Winterveldt, South Africa, following water provision and land expropiation.

Bekithemba Gumbo, Waternet, described the Pungwe Water Supply Scheme in Mutare, Zimbabwe, noting how conflict manifested itself in vandalism, waste of water and reluctance to pay. He suggested less adversarial approaches and more involvement of the urban poor. 

Ranjith Perera, Asian Institute of Technology, described the problem of waste disposal and water pollution in urban fringe communities in Hanoi, Vietnam, and noted the silent conflict between those who use land and water to generate livelihoods and those who dump waste there.

Discussion focused on: organization of the landless; the importance of inter-sectoral planning; beneficiaries of increased land value from new services; user fees; coordination; and different water uses. Participants observed the importance of being neutral, knowledgeable and sensitive in building confidence among all parties, and noted that conflict sometimes is triggered by lack of information. It was also noted that the poor cannot always afford to be involved in consultative processes.

LOCAL PUBLIC FINANCES AND DECENTRALIZATION: This networking group, organized by the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF), concentrated on mobilization of revenue for municipal governments in developing countries. Simon Compaore, Mayor of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, moderated the session.

Lamine Mbassa, Director of Financial Affairs, Douala, Cameroon, discussed the creation of bonds as a financial instrument to utilize funding from the private sector to pay for public projects. He underscored the importance of stable tax laws and benefits of increased credibility for the financial sector.

Jean-Marie Renno, presenting on behalf of Amadou Souley, Director of the Address Issuing Authority, Niamey, Niger, reported on an AIMF project that increased Niameys fiscal base by assigning addresses in the downtown area, thereby allowing for more efficient tax collection.

Fayol Tall, Former Director of Le Crdit Municipal de Dakar, Senegal, reflected on fiscal inclusion and equality of financial services with regard to microfinance. She drew attention to her countrys encouragement of female entrepreneurs through national laws and the creation of a special ministry for microfinance. She highlighted that her bank provides the urban poor with access to credit at low interest rates.

Discussion focused on tax incentives, empowering local governments to adopt geographic information systems and the potential for connections between large funding bodies and microfinance networks.

Moderator Compaore stressed the need for competent executives and the importance of establishing links among mayors and international organizations. He called for the World Bank to fund city governments directly. Closing remarks by Grald Tremblay, Mayor of Montreal, emphasized technology transfer, public-private partnerships and the possibilities for exchange programs for municipal employees in rich and poor cities.

LOCALIZING THE MDGs: Building competencies in Africa local governments to mainstream gender and empower women: This networking session was organized by the African Women Local Governance Program (ALGP), and followed the launch of the ALGP African Women in Local Governance Network initiative earlier in the afternoon.

Urging gender mainstreaming, Chair, Beatrice Boateng, National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, said that, while the Ghanaian government has made some progress towards empowerment of women, they are still under-represented in local governments.

Fatoumata Doumbia Kont, Secretary General, Association of Municipalities of Mali, noted that, although there are no legislative obstacles to women participating in local governments, other barriers include restrictions caused by cultural beliefs and tradition, poverty and disease.

On the African Women in Local Governance Network, Kont explained that its purpose is to link women within and between participating countries to share knowledge, experience and skills on issues of mutual interest, and to foster increased participation of women in local governance. She said its partners include representatives of continental, regional and national associations, central governments and technical organizations, and stressed the importance of womens voices in local government activities.

Carole Kardish, Regional Manager, Africa and the Middle East, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, introduced an interactive exercise soliciting input on a draft guide called Looking Through the Gender Lens Five Steps to Building Local Government Competencies and Capacities to Promote Gender Equality being developed for presentation to the AfriCities conference in September 2006. She said the Guide has been designed by local government stakeholders to provide a practical tool to assess where municipalities currently stand on gender equality and suggest steps for local government authorities (LGAs) and stakeholders in promoting gender equality in their operations. Participants broke into groups to consider the Guides five stages: knowledge acquisition to address gender issues; building support for gender equality; implementation of gender policy and planning and allocation of resources; promotion of gender equality beyond the LGA; and achievement of gender equality.

Feedback included: avoiding assumptions of homogeneity amongst LGAs; avoiding being chauvinistic about issues of women at the risk of alienating men; and promoting the consideration of gender issues as a national, and not political, agenda. In closing statements, participants emphasized that womens empowerment will lead to success in localizing MDGs.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CITIES IN THE SOUTH: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing urban risk in a warming world: The networking event was organized by IIED and Sida.

Satterthwaite encouraged shaming northern nations into accepting their responsibility regarding greenhouse gases and climate change, and emphasized the importance of good governance and planning within cities. He noted that climate change poses the greatest threat for the poor, who are the most vulnerable. He then introduced case studies from Senegal, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Khady Diagne, African Risk Analysis Network, presented the case of Saint Louis, Senegal, noting natural and anthropogenic factors exacerbated risks caused by flooding. She described efforts to mitigate risks caused by flood-related sanitary problems.

Mozaharul Alam, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies, described how certain sectors within Dhaka are particularly vulnerable to climate change, including housing, transport and utilities. He noted that rapid population growth within the region has resulted in a large part of the city being vulnerable to flooding despite the creation of a levee.

Victor Orindi, African Centre for Technology Studies, presented the case of Mombassa, Kenya, noting that as a coastal city, it is vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise. He discussed risks associated with saltwater contamination of freshwater resources due to depleted coastal aquifers, and drew attention to the need to give people incentives to move away from vulnerable areas. He suggested that building standards be changed to accommodate future climatic conditions, including increased temperatures and humidity, and urged a transition to low-tech renewable energy sources.

Participants discussed: the potential for bicycles to be part of the solution; the need for investment in sustainable innovations; the potential for railways to decrease transport-related emissions, the value of upgrading housing in areas known to be prone to flooding; and the social justice aspect of climate change.

Saleem Huq, IIED, concluded by noting that instead of viewing climate change as a problem that can only be addressed by global leaders, it should be framed as a local problem that every citizen can tackle.

DEVELOPING A TEMPLATE: Partnership Models for Big Cities: This networking event was organized by Women in Cities International and its partners. It focused on gender equity and participation of women in policymaking.

Ellen Woodsworth, Vancouver City Councilor, outlined the work of the City Council with women in urban communities.

Magdalena Garcia Hernandez, Millennium Feminist Network, talked about the problems faced by women in Mexico City with regard to transportation and sanitation.

Proserpina Tapales, Deputy Director, Center for Womens Studies at the University of the Philippines, discussed the role of cities in implementing legislation for gender equality.

Nicole Boily, Womens Council of Montreal, said that the womens movement in the Canadian Province of Quebec is very active and that women are transforming Montreal into a more secure and sustainable city. She introduced the role of the Council and highlighted the importance of political will, action plans and accountability.

Marina Leite, Refazendo Vinculos, and Claudia Barbieri, UN Development Fund for Women, described activities implemented by their organizations, including training and educational programs for poor girls to provide them with working skills and the ability to protect themselves against abuse and violence.

Vu Thi Vinh, Associations of Cities of Vietnam, University of Hanoi, briefed the participants on the Vietnamese urban system and the role of the Vietnamese Womens Union.

INTEGRATING GLOBAL CONCERNS INTO URBAN MANAGEMENT IN ASIA: The networking event was organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and moderated by Xuemei Bai, IGES.

Harris outlined the role of cities in meeting the challenge of sustainability, noting that cities have contributed to sustainability problems, but also have the potential to provide solutions. He said cities need assistance with best practices in the areas of land use, transportation, energy, environmental and economic planning to leapfrog the past mistakes of industrialization.

Banasopit Melkvichai, Deputy Governor of Bangkok, said rapid population and economic growth was resulting in mass material consumption and unsustainable development. She said Bangkok was pursuing a sufficiency economy strategy for urban life to build a firm foundation for growth following the 1997 economic crisis.

Michie Kishigami, Director, ICLEI, spoke on the experience of Kawagoe, Japan, in electricity saving. Manraj Guliani, Energy and Resources Institute, noted the challenges of urban transport in India and measures taken to increase sustainability.

Peter Newton, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, said Australias ecological footprint is the second biggest in the world, and that to reverse this situation, a transition to greener buildings and infrastructure, integrated urban water systems, distributed renewable energy systems, improved urban density, integrated waste stream management and increased awareness of environmental problems are required.

Bai delivered a speech on behalf of Li Zhaoqian, Mayor of Rizhao City, on solar energy use in China.


The Dialogue Urban Safety and Security: Taking Responsibility will now be taking place in Exhibit Hall A from 10:00-12:00. 

The Special Session Role of Local Government: Leadership in Sustainability will be held in Ballrooms A and B from 10:00-12:00.

Side Event Regional Vancouver Urban Observatory Book Launch originally scheduled for 18:00-20:00 has been cancelled.

Further information


National governments
Non-state coalitions
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