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Summary report, 19–23 June 2006

3rd Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF3)

The third session of the World Urban Forum (WUF3) convened in Vancouver, Canada from Monday, 19 June to Friday, 23 June 2006. Held every two years, the Forum examines rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies.

Convened by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Canada under the theme of Sustainable Cities Turning Ideas into Action, WUF3 brought together 10,000 participants from over 100 countries, representing governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, urban professionals, local authorities, the private sector and academia.

Throughout the week, participants met in plenary, dialogue and special sessions, and attended 13 roundtables and over 160 networking events, which explored various aspects of sustainable urban development.

WUF3 marked the 30th anniversary of the first UN Conference on Human Settlements, which was also held in Vancouver and led to the creation of UN-HABITAT. The WUF3 Report will be submitted for consideration and appropriate action to the 21st session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council, scheduled to take place in spring 2007.

WUF3 concluded with a call for strengthening partnerships for urban development, as well as with a growing recognition of the need to address the underlying causes of urbanization in order to achieve the vision of sustainable human settlements for all.


As a result of the first UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I), which took place in Vancouver, Canada, from 31 May-11 June 1976, the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements officially established the UN Centre for Human Settlements as the major UN agency mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities, with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. It is projected that in the next 50 years, two-thirds of the worlds population will be living in towns and cities.

Designated by the UN General Assembly as an advisory body, the World Urban Forum (WUF) is an open-ended think tank designed to encourage debate and discussion about the challenges of urbanization. In its resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001, the UN General Assembly decided that the WUF would be a non-legislative technical forum in which experts can exchange views in the years when the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme does not meet. The General Assembly also decided, in the same resolution, to transform the UN Centre for Human Settlements into the UN Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT.

HABITAT II: The second Habitat Conference convened from 3-14 June 1996, in Istanbul, Turkey. The Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, adopted by 171 governments during the Conference, outlined over 100 commitments and strategies to address shelter and sustainable human settlements, emphasizing the themes of partnership and local action. The Habitat Agenda set the twin goals of achieving adequate shelter for all and the sustainable development of human settlements. After much debate, the Conference also reaffirmed a commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing.

ISTANBUL+5: The 25th Special Session of the UN General Assembly for an overall review and appraisal of progress made in the implementation of the Habitat II outcomes took place from 6-8 June 2001 at UN headquarters in New York. At the special session, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, which consists of: a political declaration reaffirming the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and the Habitat Agenda; a review and assessment of implementation of the Habitat Agenda; and proposals for further actions for achieving the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable development of human settlements.

WUF1: The First World Urban Forum was held from 29 April-3 May 2002, in Nairobi, Kenya. The overall theme was sustainable urbanization. Discussions also focused on: the effect of HIV/AIDS on human settlements; violence against women; basic services and infrastructure, including provision of water and sanitation; and the need for secure tenure.

WSSD: The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), was adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August-4 September 2002. It calls for achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. It also urges action at all levels to: improve access to land and property, adequate shelter and basic services for the urban and rural poor; increase decent employment, credit and income; remove unnecessary regulation and other obstacles for microenterprises and the informal sector; and support slum upgrading programmes within the framework of urban development plans.

19TH SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: Convened in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5-9 May 2003, this session focused on urban development and sheltering strategies favoring the poor, and the rural dimension of sustainable urban development. The session reviewed activities of UN-HABITAT, and adopted its work programme and budget for the 2004-2005 biennium, its medium-term plan for 2006-2009, and 18 resolutions covering topics including womens role and rights in human settlements development and slum upgrading, water and sanitation, and decentralization and strengthening of local authorities.

WUF2: The Second World Urban Forum took place in Barcelona, Spain, from 13-17 September 2004. Participants discussed progress in achieving Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals on environmental sustainability, including Target 10 on water and sanitation, and Target 11 on slums. Participants also addressed gender equality, urban culture, poverty, safety, disaster preparedness and reconstruction.



OPENING CEREMONY: On Monday, Master of Ceremonies Eric Falt, Director of the Division of Communications and Public Information, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), welcomed participants to Vancouver, noting that the Third World Urban Forum (WUF3) marks the 30th anniversary of Habitat I, the first UN Conference on Human Settlements also held in Vancouver in 1976.

Charles Kelly, WUF3 Commissioner General, noted that WUF3 is one step towards realizing sustainability principles, and expressed hope that participants would leave with actionable ideas to make a difference for urban development.

Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, said Habitat I had changed the way urban development decisions were made in Vancouver, highlighting the need to embrace environmentally responsible urban eco-structures to decrease cities ecological footprint.

Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, emphasized WUF3s theme of turning ideas into action, and noted advances in urban sustainability in Vancouver achieved through citizen involvement.

Inga Klevby, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Deputy Executive Director, delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stating that over the past three decades the world has become more urbanized, congested and polluted, and less equitable, with more than half of the developing worlds urban population living in slums. Highlighting links between opportunities and deprivation, UN Secretary-General Annan called for scaling up efforts to make our planet more just, equitable and sustainable for all its inhabitants.

Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, emphasized that, as half the worlds population now lives in urban areas, sustainable city planning will determine our future. While welcoming the Habitat Agendas successes, she suggested that the failure to achieve urban sustainability has been due to a lack of political support for proper urban planning and underscored WUFs central role in engaging civil society in the UN-HABITAT process. Tibaijuka also requested a minutes silence in memory of Jane Jacobs and Rafik Hariri, champions of sustainable urban community development.

Underscoring the vision of successful, sustainable and safe cities, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, noted that urbanization is a powerful phenomenon gaining momentum in the developing world. He introduced the concept of enlightened urban statecraft with particular emphasis on: achieving fiscal and jurisdictional balance; addressing infrastructure deficit; ensuring environmental sustainability; curbing urban crime; providing affordable housing; averting terrorism; and promoting cultural diversity.

Noting that most population growth in the next 25 years will take place in the cities of the developing world, Noli de Castro, Vice-President of the Philippines, highlighted connections between urban poverty and the struggle for democracy, and underscored the role of WUF3 in addressing slum upgrading, housing finance, gender issues and realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Ali Mohamed Shein, Vice-President of Tanzania, addressed sustainable urbanization in Africa, noting Tanzanias progress in implementing MDG Goal 7 Target 11 on slum upgrading through housing and land legislation. Mara Antonia Trujillo, Spains Minister of Housing and WUF2 Chair, suggested that WUF3 focus on identifying solutions rather than problems in sustainable urban development.

OPENING PLENARY: Diane Finley, Canadas Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and WUF3 Co-Chair, invited delegates to assess progress and respond to challenges posed by cities. She said while cities play a pivotal role in economic development, preserving a healthy rural environment is equally important for a balanced economy and social wellbeing.

Adoption of agenda and organization of work: WUF3 Co-Chair Finley introduced, and delegates adopted, the provisional agenda proposed by the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT (HSP/WUF/3/1) and organization of work for WUF3 (HSP/WUF/3/INF/1 and 2) without amendment. They also approved the establishment of the WUF3 Advisory Group (HSP/WUF/3/INF/6) to assist the UN-HABITAT Executive Director in the organization and conduct of the Forum. The ten-member Advisory Group is Co-Chaired by Finley and John Pombe Magufuli, Tanzanias Minister of Land and Settlements.

Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, stressed that home ownership is essential for accumulating wealth, financial independence, stability and social benefits. He noted the objective of establishing an ownership society in the US with a specific focus on minorities and the poor.

Kumari Selja, Indias Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, highlighted the global consensus on the need to base global initiatives on local solutions for human settlement management and the emergence of the private sector as a partner in this agenda.

Naokazu Takemoto, Japans Senior Vice Minister of Finance, emphasized civil society engagement, good governance and social stability, and recalled world leaders commitment at the Millennium Review Summit in September 2005 to sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Co-President, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), addressed WUF3 on behalf of the UCLG presidency and highlighted the completion of the UCLG Guidelines on Decentralization, which emphasize community involvement in addressing the challenges of urbanization.

Enrique Ortiz, President of the Habitat International Coalition, lamented that lack of political commitment and market policies have undermined realization of the Habitat Agenda principles in the past, and urged a new approach to address global urban challenges through participatory and productive public-private partnerships.

Forum Sub-themes

In plenary sessions from Tuesday to Thursday, WUF3 addressed the three sub-themes of social inclusion and cohesion, partnership and finance, and urban growth and environment.

SOCIAL INCLUSION AND COHESION: On Tuesday, Jackson advocated home ownership as a means of improving the strength and safety of cities, explaining home ownership is key to financial security, social engagement and higher education.

Conversely, he said, homelessness has a devastating effect on urban areas. Jackson offered to: share US experiences with the role of government, rule of law, property rights and corruption eradication; 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, 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, noted that: many of the poor are excluded from services they need and marginalized by unemployment and illiteracy; poverty affects 80 percent of the urban population in the developing world; and urbanization of the poor is accelerating at a rate most governments cannot manage.

During the ensuing discussion, Jackson agreed with Arputham that governments need to respond quickly to community-based initiatives, while Sisulu added that these initiatives should complement national ones. Sisulu welcomed the idea of savings schemes for slum dwellers, and argued that while government is not the only player responsible for the provision of housing, it needs to ensure security of tenure.

PARTNERSHIP AND FINANCE: On Wednesday, Moderator Katherine Sierra, Vice-President, World Bank, outlined key public goods for which sustainable urban policies are necessary. She said that in order for urban development strategies in developing countries to be effective, they will need to take account of economic forces, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Sierra called for an open and frank dialogue on the impact of cities as engines of growth in developing countries, and for accentuating the positive role of urbanization. She emphasized the role of partnerships and the need for innovative and timely financing.

Mohammad Yousaf Pashtun, Afghanistans Minister of Urban Development, outlined sustainable urban development challenges and efforts to rebuild urban infrastructure after 25 years of war in his country. He underscored that cities have a central role to play in Afghanistans transition from a post-conflict emergency situation to stability, and called for the achievement of sustainable peace and development through partnerships with the international community.

Pat Jacobsen, Chief Executive Officer of TransLink, the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, briefed WUF3 participants on the funding mechanisms available for the development of transportation infrastructure in Vancouver, including: partnerships with the federal government; generation of revenue from users; and private sector financing in cooperation with public funding. She highlighted the importance of involving stakeholders in infrastructure development planning processes.

Robert Williams, Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, noted that cities cannot be vibrant without engagement at all levels and that partnerships are not an option but a requirement for the development of cities. He stressed the need to move away from traditional sources of financing to meet the increasing costs of urban management, and called for direct negotiations between international financial institutions and municipalities to fast-track loans and grants for urban development.

URBAN GROWTH AND ENVIRONMENT: Held on Thursday, this plenary session was chaired by Chris Leach, President, Canadian Institute of Planners, who addressed planning for sustainable urbanization, including the need for networks of stakeholders to address sanitation, transportation, smart growth, water and environment.

Eveline Herfkens, Executive Coordinator, UN Millennium Campaign, recalled former UNEP Executive Director Klaus Tpfers statement that poverty is the biggest polluter, and stated that it is essential to attack the roots of poverty in working towards sustainable development. She said the MDGs represent a global deal requiring local level implementation and that the past mistake of the donor community has been to view the poor only as clients, as opposed to partners, of development. Herfkens called for keeping promises made at the highest political level.

Enrique Pealosa, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, noted the rapidly growing urban population in developing countries, and argued that, to achieve sustainability, developing countries must find a different model of growth. Referring to Bogotas experiences in promoting sustainable transport and green spaces, he highlighted resulting social justice improvements alongside environmental benefits. Pealosa said that while resources were often available, political will was required to implement sustainable policies.

Participants commented on cities being at the forefront of the major health and nutrition challenges, and the challenge of cities in developing countries addressing violence, sanitation, and unemployment. Lamenting that the strong commitments made at Habitat-I had not been acknowledged at WUF3, one participant made an impassioned plea to realize historian Barbara Wards vision that no one would be left without safe drinking water.


On Monday and Wednesday, roundtable discussions convened to provide stakeholders perspectives on the WUF3 agenda and, more broadly, human settlements development.

MINISTERS ROUNDTABLE: Held on Monday under the theme Vancouver + 30: The Changing Role of Cities and Global Sustainable Development, this roundtable drew the participation of ministers from over 50 countries, and focused on three themes: the role of governments in urban sustainability; the potential for partnerships; and the importance of linking national governments international agendas to the local level.

The role of governments in urban sustainability: Ministers highlighted measures taken to meet urban sustainability challenges within their countries, with many declaring support for decentralization, civil society engagement, and the development of a common system by which to measure sustainability, poverty and urbanization. It was agreed that government has a strong role to play in providing guidance, funding and capacity building for local authorities in their sustainability efforts, and for securing tenure of social housing.

Partnership between national governments and other jurisdictions in support of urban sustainability: Ministers from several countries outlined their experiences in handling the relationship between national and local governments in achieving urban sustainability. It was generally agreed that urban sustainability requires a multi-disciplinary approach, particularly regarding health and education.

Linking national governments international agendas to the local level: This theme drew wide-ranging comments, including on the advantages of administrative decentralization in achieving the MDGs, and housing as the most important issue in countries emerging from conflict. It was acknowledged that countries face different as well as common challenges, and that solutions should be shared.

PARLIAMENTARIAN ROUNDTABLE: Titled Vancouver +30 Parliamentarians Guiding Change for Sustainable Urbanization, this roundtable held on Monday provided parliamentarians with the opportunity to discuss legislative initiatives surrounding human settlements, urban development and affordable housing, through two segments: a retrospective of the past 20 years regarding urban legislation, and a consideration of emerging priorities and future policies in support of urban sustainability.

Several parliamentarians drew attention to results from a study of urban policies in Europe, stressing differences among countries in: the utilization of various tools, including centers of expertise for regional development; the consolidation of municipal self-government; waste management; and environmental assessment. Delegates emphasized: family planning, criteria for evaluating the success of urban policies, and that slums have the potential to breed extremism.

In looking to the future, participants urged raising urban poverty as a political priority, and directing foreign aid towards slums. Delegates proposed the creation of a fund to support housing and urban development in African countries.

PRIVATE SECTOR ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable held on Monday discussed how the private sector can contribute to urban sustainability. Suggestions included: providing management expertise and cost control; building social housing; and working with government to create market mechanisms to encourage investment in social housing.

Discussion also addressed: returns on investment; providing neutral ground for partnerships; strengthening the enabling environment; the need to recognize cultural differences; the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in creating low-income housing; and legal and regulatory frameworks. On strategies for international community support, the need for a transparent tendering process was noted.

WOMENS ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable held on Monday focused on the theme Empowering the Millennium Development Goals: Grassroots Women Meet the Challenge. Several participants remarked that many womens groups work towards meeting the MDGs without knowing it. They also shared initiatives ranging from dialogue with local authorities to a national anti-poverty campaign, and emphasized proper parenting as an important tool against crime and violence. One participant called for meaningful engagement of aboriginal women in policy development and implementation.

Delegates shared experiences in meeting migration and food security challenges, and developing community-owned enterprises that sustain local livelihoods and improve community health. They urged assessing the value of uncompensated contributions made by women in poor communities.

NGOs ROUNDTABLE: Held on Monday, this roundtable, titled Assets and Struggles: 30 Years After Vancouver Habitat Forum, focused on producing recommendations to UN-HABITAT around several themes. On forced eviction, participants noted the importance of NGO work in supporting community-based initiatives to strengthen monitoring and increase security of land tenure, solidarity and local action.

On privatization, participants pointed out that market forces were currently part of the problem and not the solution. It was also noted that WUF discussions had yet to adequately address the protection of the rights of displaced people, and that civil society should demand good governance with respect to this.

On involving local people in all aspects of post-disaster reconstruction, participants urged government accountability in the financing of disaster relief. One participant lamented that government has lost control of housing to private developers and land cartels, and advocated a human rights based approach, and holding governments accountable through civil society networks.

RESEARCHERS ROUNDTABLE: With the theme of Planning and Managing Sustainable Cites: From Research to Practice, this roundtable held on Monday set out to link research and action, with case studies presented on environmentally sustainable cities. Participants reported on: public transportation; good governance of cities as an outcome of research; EU research initiatives and their impact on urban policies. Participants recommended: education and community mobilization of sustainable communities; tailored action-oriented research; scaling research to the global level; and removing funding constraints that distort research.

GENDERING LAND TOOLS: Participants at this roundtable held on Wednesday stressed that secure land tenure for women is not a question of affordability, but of accessibility, and that tenure obstacles are both legal and cultural. It was noted that the main objective of gendering land tools is to achieve the MDGs on womens empowerment and slum upgrading.

Participants called for: global action to address insecurity of tenure, policies that reflect womens experiences and realities, and increasing the number of female land tools professionals. They expressed support for UN-HABITAT activities in this latter regard.

Participants welcomed the launch of the Global Land Tool Network, noting that it seeks to identify appropriate tools, ensure that they are gendered, replicate existing successes, and close existing gaps. Several speakers highlighted cases of discrimination against women associated with land and property tenure, and proposed to review progress in gendering land tools at WUF4.

Participants further discussed faith-based land tools, noting that culture and faith create both impediments and opportunities. Options were identified regarding societal change in response to conflict and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. One participant called for a womens resource right agenda, including redistribution of land and putting resources under legal control of women.                

YOUTH ROUNDTABLE: This high-energy roundtable held on Wednesday built on the momentum generated at the World Youth Forum preceding WUF3, and underscored youths potential to contribute to solving urgent global problems. Participants identified a range of barriers to youth leadership and ways to overcome these, including through: North-South partnerships; art, culture and sports; education and training; and the media.

Noting the dire realities for youth in developing countries with respect to education, health and employment, and their exposure to drugs, HIV/AIDS, violence, home eviction, and child labor, several developing country participants called for more opportunities to share experiences and for youth in the North to support hope and effect change in the South. One panelist said the message should be kept simple to garner the political will to push forward a positive youth agenda.

UNIVERSITIES ROUNDTABLE: The roundtable held on Wednesday focused on guiding principles for partnering and information diffusion initiatives. Participants were invited to discuss how universities can absorb and disseminate lessons learned. Participants stressed: linking centers of learning, using an applied, field-based research focus; and harnessing the power of universities and students in development work.

Participants identified challenges associated with partnerships that bring together divergent interests, and improving our understanding of the dynamics of land markets. A major emphasis was placed on the need to view universities as real-world actors that should be held accountable for the same sustainability principles they promote. Participants also discussed: building alliances between universities and practitioners; supporting grassroots efforts; using an interdisciplinary approach to avoid compartmentalization; and challenging the status quo development agenda set by the North and developing indicators of progress. Several participants urged the use of the Internet to advance collaborative efforts, including the Global Urban Sustainability Services Exchange.

ENVIRONMENT ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable held on Wednesday sought to identify common problems and development partnership project ideas by working in sub-groups. The Youth and Education Sub-group identified lack of funding, staff and time as the major problems they have encountered, and suggested creating opportunities and space for youth to collaborate across borders. The Community Capacity Building Sub-group also identified lack of human and financial resources as the major obstacle, and suggested mobilizing all sectors of society to develop and implement community-based sustainable projects which are global in scope with local impact.

The Food Sub-group identified obstacles including food tariffs and trade barriers, and proposed short and long-term projects on food security. The Safe Environment Sub-group identified problems associated with lack of: political will; capacity, information and experiences; use of traditional knowledge; adequate policies, laws and regulations; monitoring; and appropriate science and technology. Potential solutions identified included: partnerships; development of a shared vision; communication; and resource-sharing. The Energy and Resource Sub-group suggested developing renewable energy sources; building capacity; creating partnerships; promoting social equity; and engaging local people, international players and academia.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND MEDIA ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable, held on Wednesday, 21 June, Canadas National Aboriginal Day, was depicted as a forum for the exchange of best practices and the establishment of partnerships between media and indigenous people. Several case studies and short films were presented, followed by an animated dialogue. Discussions focused on indigenous participation in WUF3, with many criticizing the lack of inclusion of youth and indigenous people. Many pointed out that WUF3 had missed the opportunity to provide training on key issues such as ensuring adequate housing and had neglected nomadic peoples rights.

Participants also spoke of indigenous media projects, berated the lack of and misrepresentation of indigenous people in mass media, and urged indigenous people to take ownership of their fight for representation.

SPIRITUALITY ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable was convened on Wednesday under the theme Bridging the Gap: Spirituality and Sustainability in the Urban Context. One participant noted that the source of vision driving WUF3 extends beyond technical rationality and political agendas, and another suggested that solving urban problems involves not only financial resources but also lifestyle change.

Participants discussed how faith-based initiatives can address sustainability, finding contentment and connection to other human beings; the need for global peace in creating sustainability; and the role of urban spaces in hosting spiritual festivals. Delegates described a vision of urban wellbeing that is informed by a spiritual understanding of human community and remarked that spiritual needs are as legitimate as material ones. It was emphasized that civic leaders should systematically consider how the meaning, purpose and connectedness that drive spiritual growth are being met in the community.

MAYORS ROUNDTABLE: This roundtable was convened on Wednesday under the theme of Local Governments at the Crossroads: Approaching the Millennium Development Goals through Practical Innovation and Local Action. Speakers noted improvements in human rights and local autonomy of cities but lamented the financial crisis that prevents cities from achieving the MDGs.

The session began with mayors being polled on implementation of the MDGs. While admitting general lack of public awareness about the MDGs, 75 percent of the 130 mayors present said the MDGs are priorities in their cities and 50 percent said they had been involved in a dialogue with national governments on this issue. The panelists suggested that the mayors need to communicate their plans more effectively to both citizens and national governments. Researchers presented data indicating that citizen awareness generates greater support for the MDGs.

During the ensuing discussion, mayors from twenty cities presented examples of programmes for implementing MDGs and targets, particularly upgrading slums and improving water and other services. Delegates called for the mobilization of networks of stakeholders and donors such as the World Bank to secure funding for implementing the MDGs. It was proposed that mayors report on their implementation at WUF4 in 2008.


Six dialogues were convened during WUF3 from Tuesday to Thursday, addressing: the challenge of achieving the MDG target on slum upgrading and related targets; the inclusive approach to public engagement; urban safety and security; municipal finance; urban planning; and energy.

ACHIEVING THE MDGs: Slum upgrading and affordable housing: On Tuesday, speakers from South Africa, Pakistan and Peru, and representatives of the UN and World Bank addressed the challenges and opportunities for the achievement of MDG Target 11 on slum upgrading.

On security of tenure, one panelist noted the increasing scale of land-grabbing, forced eviction, homelessness, and property speculation, and said the scale of this dispossession undermines the MDGs. He called for a pledge from governments to stop forced evictions. Many delegates drew attention to addressing homelessness following eviction, saying that until permanent solutions are found for housing, evicted people will rebuild slums elsewhere. They also emphasized self-organization within slums, improvement of womens rights to land, property, inheritance, housing, and protection from domestic and other forms of violence.

On funding for slum upgrading, one panelist said foreign loans may be a poor option for affordable and sustainable financing, not only because of their conditionalities, but also because overhead expenses can lead to significant increases in the cost of materials. Panelists also: suggested local governments could address urban poverty more effectively if given greater responsibilities and power; underscored partnerships between local governments and communities; and emphasized the role of the international donor community, the need for targeted national government subsidies and empowerment of local governments.

Participants discussed involvement of the urban poor in slum upgrading, and the role of the private sector in slum upgrading, with a particular focus on microfinance. They called for more aggressive ways to ensure that human rights and housing are incorporated into national laws.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT: The inclusive approach: On Tuesday, panelists from academia, government and civil society, discussed ways of fostering inclusiveness and cohesion in promoting sustainable cities.

Panelists highlighted: the need for tolerance, cultural diversity, and an equitable environment to enable inclusivity; empowerment of local communities through partnerships; and the role of local government in the delivery of services. One panelist urged ensuring the effectiveness of official development assistance, and noted that increased participation leads to more effective results.

Participants further discussed: interaction between government and NGOs; government leadership and commitment; and reconciling conflict between traditional and modern land ownership. Some questioned the inevitability of urbanization, and called for policies that will strengthen the viability of rural living. They also debated the role of professional associations such as those of planners and architects and the role of the media in holding elected officials accountable. Delegates called for greater transparency in policy and project decisions, better acknowledgement of the needs of people with disabilities, and the inclusion of youth and women.

URBAN SAFETY AND SECURITY: Taking responsibility: Held on Wednesday, this dialogue focused on disaster planning and risk reduction, and crime and violence prevention. Panelists included academics, government representatives from Afghanistan, Japan, Papua New Guinea and South Africa, and international agencies.

Speakers addressed: the double challenge of civil unrest and natural disasters in Afghanistan; lessons learned following the Kobe earthquake in Japan, noting in particular the Kobe Framework Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction; and the need for targeted solutions. One speaker stated that involving communities in disaster risk reduction planning gives rise to a sense of ownership.

On violence against women, speakers highlighted the vulnerability of girls to sexual abuse in Africa, the success of female police stations in Nicaragua, and the importance of strong mayoral initiatives.

Participants also discussed: the role of womens grassroots information networks in crisis situations; the need for greater dialogue with faith-based organizations; and social problems following disasters, such as the exploitation of children. One delegate noted that hazards only become disasters due to vulnerability, remarking that earthquakes dont kill people, poorly designed buildings do.

Participants also discussed the rise of gangs within aboriginal communities and post-9/11 security dynamics. Delegates called for access to legal advice for slum dwellers, minimizing displacements following armed conflict, and translating international obligations into local policies. The merits of a more integrated approach between hazard risk management and crime programmes were also considered.

MUNICIPAL FINANCE: Innovation and collaboration: This dialogue took place on Wednesday and addressed constraints and innovations in municipal financing. It featured presentations from international agencies, local governments in Brazil, Cameroon, China and Belize, the private sector and community groups.

On municipal financing, speakers: addressed enhancing resources, through building credit worthiness; described using stock exchanges to raise funds for infrastructure rehabilitation; and emphasized that local governments must have the responsibility, power, funding, equitable approaches and technical capacity to undertake their tasks. Participants highlighted: the need to address individual and household debt; youth involvement in decision-making; enabling mechanisms for municipalities to manage resources; access to capital markets; and transparency to ensure accountability.

Speakers also described innovative approaches to providing infrastructure and related services, including a scheme to raise funds from capital markets for infrastructure development in India and participatory budgeting in the areas of sanitation, healthcare, education, and environment in Brazil. The European Investment Bank outlined criteria for successful leveraging of funding by municipalities. Suggestions included: lowering taxes to attract investors; raising revenue through land management reform; using ISO 9000 for certification; using natural resources as a revenue source; and expenditure management.

Participants also heard an address from a former pavement dweller in Mumbai, India, who successfully worked with the municipality through a community network to stop demolition of dwellings and to build new homes.

THE SHAPE OF CITIES: Urban planning and management: Held on Thursday, this dialogue focused on the past problems of planning and considered possible solutions, building on the contributions of the World Planners Congress prior to WUF3. Speakers represented academia, the urban planning sector and governments.

Speakers noted that technocratic planning is now obsolete, and that planning tools have not been able to contain growth in sustainable ways. They also discussed: how global and local environmental issues can be reconciled in the context of a city government; the differences between the environmental agenda in developing and developed countries; the implications of adapting best practices in the North to municipalities in the South; the features of sustainability in countries with economies in transition; and basic sustainability principles being considered by the World Urban Planners Congress, which include integrated planning, recognizing diversity, pro-poor strategies and transparency. One lamented that the poor bear the brunt of environmental degradation caused by over-consumption of the rich and urged a multi-faceted approach to urban development.

Discussion also focused on: the gap between rhetoric and action; problems of over-consumption; the need for greater participation of the poor and youth; how universities should incorporate new ways of thinking in their curricula; responsibility of the media; and the role of the financial and private sectors. Participants also heard a presentation on the construction of the island eco-city of Dontang, China, a model that places sustainability at the centre of urban planning.

ENERGY: Local action, global impact: This dialogue on Thursday aimed to identify affordable and successful renewable energy options for cities, discuss the role of industry and public-private-partnerships in realizing this objective, and highlight novel approaches to sustainable urban transport.

Speakers discussed how to encourage less polluting models for urban transport, including through education, advocacy and fiscal reforms. One speaker said that easy oil options are running out, and proposed using cleaner fossil fuel technology for the near future while developing renewable energy sources. Speakers also highlighted: reduction of private car use; bias toward vehicles in planning practices; that the poor suffer greater health costs from pollution; and how to make cities pedestrian-friendly. One speaker said that instead of solving traffic congestion problems, the focus should be on the creation of parks and other public spaces.

Delegates noted the importance of energy for cooking to the poor, and discussed: pro-poor structural subsidies; shifting taxes to infrastructure users; creating fiscal policies which support comprehensive planning; and developing planning measures to avoid urban sprawl. One speaker noted the effort by 300 US mayors to meet the targets of the Kyoto Protocol, demonstrating that local governments can take on issues not addressed by their national government.


Convened from Tuesday to Friday, WUF3 special sessions were: inaugural UN-HABITAT lecture on The Wealth of Cities; a trialogue on water, sanitation and human settlements; the role of local governments; the future of cities; and From Vancouver to Nanjing.

UN-HABITAT LECTURE: The Wealth of Cities: This special session, held on Tuesday, consisted of the presentation of the 2006 UN-HABITAT Award to John Friedmann, Honorary Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada, who then delivered the inaugural UN-HABITAT lecture.

In his lecture, titled The Wealth of Cities: Towards an Assets-Based Development of Newly Urbanizing Regions, Friedmann argued that the true wealth of cities is found in the progressive endogenous development of assets such as cultural heritage, human resources and urban infrastructure rather than in soliciting outside capital. He said the role of government is to facilitate self-motivated development through consultations with citizens.

Panelists welcomed Friedmanns model for constructing sustainable cities, questioned whether the model reflects the reality of community conflicts and rivalries, and urged considering how to reconcile cities short-term requirements with long-term sustainable development goals.

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 through brain drain.

TRIALOGUE ON WATER, SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Held on Tuesday, this special session brought together governments at national, state and local levels and representatives from international institutions and agencies to discuss how to meet the challenge of providing water and sanitation for human settlements.

Panelists discussed the role of urban infrastructure development and governance, and cooperation between government agencies and municipalities in providing financial and other incentives to prevent the sprawl of illegal settlements and to ensure access to water and sanitation services. Several panelists emphasized private sector involvement, with one pointing out that public-private partnerships offer management expertise and delivery capacity not always available in the public sector, and another urging equitable partnerships. Others noted the role of local community involvement, in particular community cooperatives.

The importance of providing access to safe water and basic sanitation in tackling poverty was highlighted, as were: addressing child mortality, empowering women, and promoting pro-poor investment in water and sanitation in developing countries cities. Panelists also emphasized: financial health of local governments; zonal approaches in urban areas; water storage capacity development; providing water and basic sanitation to those suffering from HIV/AIDS; and youths role in raising awareness.

ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Leadership in sustainability: This special session took place on Wednesday and focused on experience and leadership of local government in attaining sustainability. It featured presentations by mayors from the Netherlands, Burkina Faso, Brazil and Canada, as well as UN-HABITAT.

The mayors described work in their cities, including: a survey to be used for reallocation of resources and decisions on policy in Calgary, Canada; the establishment of a network of Mercosur Cities, a league of cities in Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Bolivia; and a local government partnership in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso with the International Association of French-speaking Mayors and a local youth organization to carry out work on HIV/AIDS. One mayor suggested three major local government themes: decentralization, which ensures accountability, equity, transparency and the rule of law; basic services for all, a precondition of the commitment of citizens; and financial autonomy, essential for sound decision-making. Another panelist emphasized the role of partnerships in providing financing for decentralization, and the value of citizen consultations.

Speakers also noted that partnership goes beyond cooperation and collaboration and emphasized national/local government financial partnership. UN-HABITAT highlighted the United Cities and Local Governments establishment as a mechanism for locally elected officials to engage at the international level.

STATE OF THE WORLDS CITIES: Where are we going?: On Friday, UN-HABITAT presented the State of the Worlds Cities Report 2006/7. The report demonstrates that slum dwellers in developing countries are in at least as bad a situation as their rural counterparts, and provides data showing that the worlds one billion slum dwellers are likely to die earlier, experience more hunger and disease, attain less education and have fewer chances of employment than urban residents that do not reside in slums. The study further documents trends in: growth of megacities; population dynamics, including increasing numbers of slum dwellers; access to basic services such as water and sanitation; secure land and property tenure; and environmental degradation.

A panel of urban experts presented the major trends and challenges facing cities in the 21st century. One presentation described research in the favelas, or shantytowns, of Rio de Janeiro, where youth have bought into democracy and participatory ideals despite rising unemployment, crime and violence. Another presentation addressed environmental and health problems caused by rapid urban growth in China, with a focus on two cities where citizens pressured the governments to reduce air and solid waste pollution through measures such as restricting traffic and banning the use of plastic shopping bags.

Speakers also: urged stopping the vicious circle whereby failure to invest in public transport leads to increased car purchases, which prompts investment in roads, and in turn makes cars more attractive; proposed monitoring urban relationships, such as those between squatters and authorities, as indicators of progress; stressed energy-efficient growth through subsidized public transport and sustainable urban planning; drew attention to climate change; and noted that unplanned urban growth marginalizes people, and may lead to extremism.

FROM VANCOUVER TO NANJING: On Friday morning, participants took part in a special session providing insight on the emerging issues from WUF3 that could be tabled at WUF4, scheduled to be held in Nanjing, China in 2008. Panelists represented national and local governments in Canada, China and Sweden, and UN-HABITAT.

Panelists and participants considered: localizing the MDGs; empowerment of under-represented groups; security; mobilization of resources; local governments as international players; building partnerships; and the centrality of urban governance and participatory approaches to planning.

Participants drew attention to the need to: ensure gender and age balance at WUF4; consider rural development to avoid further urban migration; and address the challenge of sustainable communities.

Delegates from China noted: implementation of the countrys sustainable development strategy, which assigns high priority to energy, natural resources and environment; that China shares challenges common to both the developing and developed world, such as an aging population, large-scale urban migration, pollution and ecological destruction; and that a sustainable approach is necessary to address conflicts caused by rapid growth. Participants were told that Nanjing, the host city of WUF4, is pursuing a sustainable urban development strategy while protecting its cultural heritage and the environment, and that the theme of WUF4 will be Harmonious Cities.

Participants discussed: increasing private sector engagement; the need for public engagement support; sister cities relationships; moving from case study demonstration to replication of successful projects; and the need to engage the social sciences.


Over 160 networking events took place throughout the week, offering an opportunity for participants to share ideas, experiences and best practices in various aspects of sustainable urban development. Due to a large number of overlapping sessions, IISD coverage focused on a selection of networking events on Tuesday and Thursday.

PLANNING SUCCESSFUL SUSTAINABLE CITIES: Using Vancouver, Canada as a case study, this networking event organized by the City of Vancouver on Tuesday, addressed urban planning and sustainability. Speakers highlighted the challenges associated with rapid growth and the unique aspects of Vancouver, including higher density housing and the absence of highways. They noted efforts to diversify the economy with information technology and creative industries as well as problems associated with success, such as the exodus of low-income residents.

Participants discussed a range of issues, including striking the right balance between residential and commercial space and Vancouvers success in reducing car use. Delegates urged greater equity in policy-making and delivery of social services, emphasizing citizen involvement.

HOW TO INTEGRATE ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS IN CITY LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLANNING: Organized by Cities Alliance and UNEP, this networking event held on Tuesday drew upon several speakers to address how to strengthen environmental aspects in city planning. One delegate outlined the findings of a study on appropriate tools for city strategic planning, emphasizing the eco-city and participatory approaches; another shared experiences from one of Indias largest cities in addressing the gap in the delivery of urban services.

Participants stressed the need for a new urban paradigm, and suggested that cities be designed and managed using natural ecosystems as models. During the discussion, delegates focused on: harnessing political leadership; measuring the value of environmental investments; investing in people; long-term planning and immediate action; life-cycle costing; transformation of land-use patterns; reducing transportation demand; improving energy efficiency; and communication with grassroots organizations.

ADDRESSING CONFLICT IN WATER AND SANITATION SERVICES FOR THE URBAN POOR: This networking event, held on Tuesday and organized by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), focused on water and sanitation issues, with case studies presented from India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Vietnam. Discussion highlighted: the special challenges surrounding the delivery of water supply and sanitation services to the urban poor in developing countries; the importance of inter-sectoral planning; the organization of the landless; benefits and beneficiaries of increased land value from new services; and different types of user fees and coordination mechanisms.

Participants observed the importance of being neutral, knowledgeable and sensitive in building confidence among all parties, and stated 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 event, held on Tuesday and organized by Association Internationale des Maires Francophones, concentrated on mobilization of revenue for municipal governments in developing countries. Speakers presented case studies from Cameroon, Niger and Senegal.

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. One delegate highlighted the importance of establishing links between mayors and international organizations, and urged the World Bank to fund city governments directly. Another emphasized technology transfer, public-private partnerships and the possibilities for international exchange programmes for municipal employees.

LOCALIZING THE MDGs: This networking event, organized by the African Women Local Governance Programme on Tuesday, discussed building competencies in local governments in Africa to mainstream gender and empower women. Speakers from Ghana and Mali discussed the need to empower women to participate in government, noting that although there are no legislative obstacles, other barriers include restrictions caused by cultural beliefs and tradition, poverty and disease.

Participants broke into groups to consider: knowledge acquisition to address gender issues; building support for gender equality; implementation of gender policy; planning and resource allocation; and promotion of gender equality beyond the local government authorities. Recommendations included: avoiding assumptions of homogeneity amongst local government authorities; the need to include both women and men; and promoting the consideration of gender issues as a national, and not political, agenda. Participants emphasized that womens empowerment will lead to success in localizing the MDGs.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND CITIES IN THE SOUTH: This networking event, organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development and Sida on Tuesday, discussed greenhouse gas emissions and urban risk in a warming world. Noting that climate change poses the greatest threat for the poor, the moderator introduced case studies from Senegal, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Speakers: noted that natural and anthropogenic factors exacerbate risks caused by flooding; described efforts to mitigate risks caused by flood-related sanitary problems; discussed risks associated with saltwater contamination of freshwater resources; drew attention to the need to give people incentives to move away from vulnerable areas; 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.

DEVELOPING A TEMPLATE: This networking event, organized by Women in Cities International on Tuesday, focused on gender equity and participation of women in policymaking.

Speakers from cities in Canada, Vietnam, the Philippines and Mexico briefed participants on different local government initiatives. They focused on: the problems faced by women in urban areas, especially with regard to transportation and sanitation; the importance of implementing legislation for gender equality; and the role of training and education programmes for poor girls to provide them with working skills and the ability to protect themselves against abuse and violence. Delegates also highlighted the importance of political will, action plans and accountability.

INTEGRATING GLOBAL CONCERNS INTO URBAN MANAGEMENT IN ASIA: During this networking event on Tuesday, organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, speakers outlined the role of cities in meeting the challenge of sustainability, remarking that, although cities have contributed to sustainability problems, they also have the potential to provide solutions. It was stated that 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.

Case study presentations highlighted rapid population and economic growth resulting in mass material consumption and unsustainable development in Bangkok, Thailand, and effective electricity-saving schemes in Kawagoe, Japan. Delegates called for a transition to greener buildings and infrastructure, integrated urban water and wasted management, renewable energy sources, improved urban density, and increased awareness of environmental problems.

HABITAT JAM: Habitat JAM is a WUF3 outreach programme in which 39,000 participants from 158 countries came together for a three-day Internet networking session to share ideas on how to solve some of the worlds most critical urban issues.

On Thursday, UN-HABITAT and IBM held a Habitat JAM networking event at WUF3 to share experiences on this innovative approach. Delegates emphasized the democratic nature of the JAM, called for it to be an annual or bi-annual event with focused topics and target groups, and suggested that it could eventually progress to a global video conferencing event. One community representative noted that although many slum dwellers are computer illiterate, the JAM has given the urban poor a voice.

Participants further highlighted financial support for community JAM participation and provided numerous suggestions for ensuring the initiatives sustainability, noting the challenge to find the means to connect the aspirations of the urban poor expressed during the JAM with follow-up actions of decision-makers. Delegates called for holding a Habitat JAM for WUF4.

CULTIVATING INCLUSIVE CITIES: This networking event, held on Thursday and organized by International Network of Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security, explored the topic of urban agriculture through the presentation of case studies from Zimbabwe, Peru, Sri Lanka and Senegal.

Speakers described successes achieved through the introduction of urban agriculture to their municipalities, including food security and city greening. They noted the potential for urban poor to attain food security through agriculture, cautioned against viewing rural and urban as separate entities, and urged participatory policy-making. One delegate said some cities resist the introduction of urban agriculture due to perceived health risks, and competition for land and water resources. Another described how support from the local government for urban agriculture was achieved by positioning it as an integral part of the urban economy, instead of as a marginal activity.

The discussion highlighted the benefits of using wastewater in urban agriculture, including improved nutrition, drought resistance, and avoidance of agro-chemicals. Participants also discussed: strategies to attain legal recognition of urban agriculture; benefits associated with decreased fossil fuel and pesticide use, and increased diet diversity; gardening on rooftops; bio-filtration of wastewater prior to use for agriculture; the loss of agricultural land to urban sprawl; and the logistics of urban subsistence food production.

EMPOWERING CLEANER ENERGY DECISIONS IN 213 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE: At this networking event on Thursday organized by Natural Resources Canada, CANMET Energy Technology Centre and RETScreen International, Alexandre Monarque, Natural Resources Canada, described RETScreen, a renewable energy technology software tool to help cities better fulfill future energy demands and implement renewable and energy-efficient projects. He noted that over 80,000 people in 213 countries use this tool.

He stated that RETScreen reduces the costs of pre-feasibility studies and provides a common platform for discussions between policy-makers and regulators, planners, funders, developers and product suppliers. Monarque described how RETScreen can facilitate dialogue across countries as a multilingual tool. He demonstrated how RETScreen assesses the viability of potential projects, highlighting significant user savings, and noting that the tool is available free of charge online.

LAUNCHING THE GLOBAL CITIES COMPETITION SMART URBAN FABRICS BEYOND OIL: During this networking event held on Thursday, the Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development announced its initiative to launch a competition Smart Urban Fabrics Beyond Oil. The competition involves the creation of a development proposal for a city beyond oil, giving consideration to urban form, infrastructure and lifestyle. Each proposal will be judged on how well it describes the transition from the current situation to a better future between 2030-2050. Winners will be announced at WUF4 in Nanjing, China in 2008.

It was noted that cities worldwide face the challenge of finding sustainable energy solutions, which address transportation and other energy-consuming activities as well as overall urban lifestyle. Many participants expressed support for the competition, noting that energy, especially household energy use, is high on the UN-HABITAT agenda.

URBAN POLICIES AND THE RIGHT TO THE CITY: This networking event, held on Thursday and organized by UNESCO, focused on good governance and local democracy. Delegates urged a transition from a needs-based to a rights-based approach in urban planning, and outlined international and national initiatives in the development of the right to the city concept: the right for all city dwellers to fully enjoy urban life with all its services and advantages.

Speakers from Brazil and Canada discussed their experiences in implementing the right to the city concept, stressing public involvement in the development of initiatives. Delegates reflected on the role of civil society, in particular grassroots women and local inter-religious councils. During the discussion, participants highlighted: rights and integration of urban indigenous communities; bridging the gap between declared rights and reality; and the need for a greater policy and advocacy focus.

SLUM DIARIES: This networking event, organized by Television Trust for the Environment and the National Film Board of Canada on Thursday, brought together slum dwellers, filmmakers, potential funders and broadcasters in a discussion on the role of participatory media in social change. Speakers: called for delegates to use art as a hammer; underscored the importance of transforming the self-image of people living in informal settlements; said the perspectives of slum dwellers, especially the youth, need to be better reflected in mainstream media; elaborated on the value of filmmaking in creating a sense of self-identity and self-recognition for inhabitants of informal settlements; and noted the growing role of websites.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates: discussed advocacy and historical documentation through film; emphasized the importance of demonstrating real-world impacts of multimedia projects to funders; called for the creation of internship opportunities; and proposed making documentaries by slum dwellers available in a global archive.

HOUSING AND HIV/AIDS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA AND ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES: The goal of this networking event, held on Thursday and organized by Housing People of Zimbabwe, Luma Native Housing Society and Rooftops Canada, was to facilitate understanding links between HIV/AIDS and housing. Speakers stressed the importance of raising awareness, taking a holistic approach, and creating networks to help cooperatives face issues like inheritance and inability to provide home-based HIV/AIDS healthcare to the homeless.

Participants broke into small groups and reported back on the impacts of HIV/AIDS on their organizations and potential responses. On addressing emotional and financial impacts, participants called for: developing a strategy to deal with basic needs at all levels of government; ensuring cultural and spiritual support; reducing isolation; establishing property rights; providing blended housing; and educating the public about HIV/AIDS.

On addressing physical needs, participants recommended providing: stable and secure housing; food and social networks; and counseling for patients and caregivers. Delegates also recommended developing housing policies that include HIV/AIDS and establishing links to organizations with appropriate expertise. They urged UN-HABITAT to better acknowledge the direct link between HIV/AIDS and housing.

CITY NETWORKS: Focusing on city networks as the engines of urban sustainability, this networking event, organized on Thursday by the American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Associations of Local Governments and the International Development Research Centre, drew speakers from Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia. Delegates described cooperation with local authorities on the social and economic development of their cities, the need for risk management through city networks, and the importance of cross-border cooperation.

During the discussion, participants asked about the mechanics of forming networks, particularly among youth and indigenous people, and their possible role in standardizing municipal policies and regulations. Some delegates questioned the role of networks and trade agreements in sustainable development. It was noted that networking must be equitable, and that networks and trade agreements will only succeed if used for common development.

INCLUSIVE GOVERNANCE IN CONFLICT AREAS: Held on Thursday and organized by the London School of Economics and Political Science and Crisis States Research Centre, this networking event presented findings on why some post-conflict states break down while others manage to emerge resilient. Participants commented on what does and does not work with respect to multi-sector cooperation in post-conflict cities. Recalling experiences from Freetown, Sierra Leone and Kabul, Afghanistan, one speaker noted that local cooperation around security issues was successful when it was issue-based and focused on one aspect of human security, and that cities were enabling environments to overcome ethnic fault lines and to encourage greater collaboration.

One delegate commented on how the architectural built form affects institution building and democracy in cities and noted the value of art in forging cooperation in post-conflict cities. UN-HABITAT announced the launch of a new programme in cooperation with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific to develop an approach to urban safety in Asia.

IMPLEMENTING MDG 7/11 IN ASIAN COUNTRIES: At this networking event on Thursday, organized by UN-HABITAT, participants focused on MDG Target 11, calling for the significant improvement in the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. Speakers presented case studies on slum dweller relocation in the Philippines and a city poverty alleviation programme in Bangladesh. The discussion also highlighted the role of microfinance institutions in supporting poverty reduction and local economic development as demonstrated in Indonesia.

Participants were briefed on: local capacity building; policies for housing development; strengthening municipal government support for social housing upgrading projects for the poor; allocation of corporate social responsibility funds for social housing programmes by private and state-owned companies; and encouraging microfinance institutions to provide housing loans as an integral part of their business.


The closing session, held on Friday late morning and early afternoon, was moderated by Brock Carlton, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and included the closing plenary and ceremony.

CLOSING PLENARY: WUF3 Co-Chair John Pombe Magufuli, Tanzanias Minister of Land and Settlements, presented the WUF3 Report. He noted that the WUF3 Advisory Group had endorsed the Report, which will be submitted to the UN-HABITAT Executive Director. He closed by presenting a Tanzanian Makonde carving, which symbolizes solidarity, to Lois Jackson, Chair, Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Pierre San, UNESCO Assistant Director-General, on behalf of UNESCO Director-General Kochiro Matsuura, urged delegates to turn WUF3s global commitments into local action. He said WUF as a forum has no real closure and will continue when delegates return home. He posed the challenge of turning the promises of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights into reality for more than half of humanity.

Representing the private sector, Kim Jawanda, Terra Housing, called for urban sustainability problems to be solved through market-based solutions and partnerships with the private sector. She referred to private-public-people partnerships as a way of providing affordable housing and delivering energy and water services to the poor.

Speaking for youth, Mernosh Tajhizadeh, Quebec Youth, presented the Declaration of the World Youth Forum, held immediately prior to WUF3, at which youth from around the world shared strategies for urban development. She emphasized the need to mobilize and engage youth as a community resource, stressed the role of local authorities in this regard, and called for establishing a youth trust fund and a sustainable youth advisory council.

John Kaputin, Secretary General, African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, highlighted ACPs efforts to eradicate poverty, contribute to sustainable development of cities, and implement the MDGs on health, education and slum upgrading.

Participants then heard closing remarks by UN-HABITAT partners. Representing civil society, Mariam Sow, ENDA Tiers Monde, recognized the many urban initiatives but noted continuing problems of social and economic exclusion. She stressed that it is impossible to have livable cities without sustainable rural development, and expressed hope that Africa will host WUF5.

Representing women, Ana Lucy Bengochea, Garifuna Emergency Committee of Honduras, noted that grassroots womens organizations participated in WUF3 not as beneficiaries but as committed leaders, thinkers, innovators, and teachers. She stated that, by making women equal partners in urban development, we will achieve the MDGs and much more.

Wang Guangtao, Chinas Minister of Construction, extended an invitation on behalf of the Government of the Peoples Republic of China to WUF4 to be held in Nanjing, China in 2008.

In closing remarks, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Tibaijuka thanked the Government of Canada for hosting WUF3, and applauded the City of Vancouver as a model of sustainability and inclusiveness. She expressed satisfaction with the high standard of cooperation and international dialogue at WUF3, noting a 40 percent increase over expected attendance, with participation by both developed and developing countries. She highlighted paradigm shifts in urban issues over the last 30 years, and emphasized that future success depends on building partnerships between communities, the private sector, and local and national governments. She said ideas from WUF3 will be presented to the 21st session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council in Nairobi in 2007.

Lois Jackson noted that urban migration is caused by both lack of rural opportunities and the lure of the city, and urged each participant to choose one concrete action to implement after returning home.

James Moore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works, Canada, noted the contribution of Canadian agencies in development work, and called on participants to draw strength from cultural diversity when putting ideas into action. He officially closed the Forum at 1:20 pm.

WUF3 Report: The Report provides an overview of WUF3. It notes the convergence on a number of suggestions for the way forward, including: the need for all urban players to work harder; municipal leadership characterized by risk-taking and innovation; inclusive partnerships; and transparency and accountability. It highlights a unity of views between developed and developing countries that sustainability is a major challenge facing the cities.

The Report also identifies several emerging issues, inter alia, the need for:

  • planning for rapidly growing urban populations;

  • building coalitions that address the needs of the urban poor;

  • increasing financial resources for sustainable infrastructure development;

  • shifting from reliance on international development finance to local capital markets;

  • using planning as a tool for sustainable urban development;

  • addressing the gap between governments commitments and actions to meet the MDGs in cities; and

  • adopting strategies that recognize specific needs of women, youth and people with disabilities.

Finally, the report states that WUF3s success lay not in formal declarations but in learning from shared experiences, and that UN-HABITAT will take the Forums outcomes to its Governing Council, and through it to the UN General Assembly, with a call for strengthening urban sustainability.


SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUANTIFIED ECO-EFFICIENCY ANALYSIS FOR SUSTAINABILITY: This conference will be held from 28-30 June 2006 in Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands. It will address issues such as: applications and user contacts; philosophy, concepts and quantified tools; methods framework; modeling and operational methods; motives and drivers; and consensus and standardization. For more information contact: Eco-Efficiency Secretariat; tel: +31-71-527-7477; e-mail:; Internet:

2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOLAR COOKING AND FOOD PROCESSING: Organized by Solar Cookers International and Terra Foundation, this conference, to be held from 12-16 July 2006 in Granada, Spain, will exchange experiences to expedite access to solar cooking, water purification, and related food processing applications. The conference will consider requirements, costs and benefits of various solar cooking technologies. For more information contact: e-mail:; Internet:

G8 SUMMIT: The annual Group of Eight (G8) Summit will be held in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 15-17 July 2006, and will address global energy security as one of its key themes. For more information, contact Sergei Yurievich Vyazalov, Organizing Committee Secretariat: fax: +7 495 206 4822; e-mail:; Internet:

BIANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE CLEAN AIR INITIATIVE FOR LATIN AMERICAN CITIES ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: Co-hosted by the So Paulo City Government and the World Bank, this conference will take place in So Paulo, Brazil, from 24-27 July 2006. The meeting will contribute to the preparation and implementation of the region-wide component of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Regional Sustainable Transport Project, including a number of transversal activities related to information exchange and capacity building, as well as development and dissemination of monitoring and assessment methodologies, tools and indicators. For more information, contact: Clean Air Initiative, World Bank; tel: +1-202-458-0859; fax: +1-202-676-0977/8 e-mail:, Internet:

WASTE SUMMIT 2006: The summit will convene from 25-27 July 2006 in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information contact: International Quality and Productivity Center; Internet:

EIGHTH SESSION OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON A COMPREHENSIVE AND INTEGRAL INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON PROTECTION AND PROMOTION OF THE RIGHTS AND DIGNITY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: The eighth session of the Ad Hoc Committee will be held from 14-25 August 2006 at UN headquarters, New York. It will consider proposals for a comprehensive and integral international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities, based on the holistic approach in the work done in the fields of social development, human rights and non-discrimination and taking into account the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission for Social Development. For more information contact: UN Global Programme on Disability; tel: +1-212-963-0111; e-mail:; Internet:

WORLD RENEWABLE ENERGY CONGRESS IX: This Congress will take place in Florence, Italy, from 19-25 August 2006, and will address biomass conversion, fuel cells and hydrogen technology, energy, poverty reduction and gender. For more information, contact: World Renewable Energy Congress; tel: +44-1273-625-643; fax: +44-1273-625-768; e-mail:; Internet:

THIRD GEF ASSEMBLY: The third meeting of the Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 29-30 August 2006. As the principal governing body of the GEF, the Assembly will chart the forthcoming years agenda and work programme. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245; e-mail:; Internet:

BETTER AIR QUALITY 2006 WORKSHOP: This workshop, to be held from 13-15 September 2006 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, will address issues of air quality management, particularly in Asia. For more information contact: Ridwan Tamin, Ministry of Environment, Indonesia; tel: +62-21-8591-1207; e-mail:; Internet:

HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE ON INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT: This high-level meeting will take place from 14-15 September 2006 at UN headquarters in New York during the 61st session of the UN General Assembly. The aim of the dialogue is to discuss the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development in order to identify appropriate ways and means to maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts. The event is also expected to focus on policy issues, including the challenge of achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs. For more information contact: Hania Zlotnik, UN Population and Development Division; tel: +1-212-963-3179; fax: +1-212-963-2147; e-mail:; Internet:

FIRST INTER-AMERICAN MEETING OF MINISTERS AND HIGH-LEVEL AUTHORITIES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will take place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, from 5-6 October 2006, and is organized by the Organization of American States (OAS). Participants will identify and advance concrete partnerships at the regional and hemispheric level to integrate environmental considerations into development, poverty alleviation, social and economic policies. The meeting will take into account progress in implementing sustainable development and identify specific opportunities for cooperation among OAS member states. For more information, contact: Joaquin Tamayo, OAS; tel: +1-202-458-3506; fax: +1-202-458-3560; e-mail:; Internet:

FIFTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CSD-15 will take place at UN headquarters in New York from 30 April-11 May 2007. CSD-15 will be a Policy Year to decide on measures to speed up implementation and mobilize action to overcome obstacles and constraints for implementation of actions and goals on energy for development, air pollution/atmosphere, climate change and industrial development. For more information, contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8102; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Internet:

TWENTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: The twenty-first session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council is scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in spring 2007. The dates for this meeting will be decided by the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN-HABITAT, in consultation with the Executive Director and the CSD Chair. For more information, contact: Information Services Section, UN-HABITAT; tel: +254-20-623120; fax: +254-20-623477; e-mail:; Internet:

EWEC 2007 EUROPEAN WIND ENERGY CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION: This conference, organized by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) will take place in Milan, Italy, from 7-10 May 2007. For more information contact: EWEC; tel: +32-2546-1980; fax: +32-2546-1944; e-mail:; Internet:

ECO SUMMIT 2007: Eco Summit 2007, organized by Elsevier and the Ecological Society of China, will take place at the Beijing International Convention Center, Beijing, China, from 22-27 May 2007, with the theme of Ecological Complexity and Sustainability: challenges and opportunities for 21st century ecology. For more information, contact Sophie Peters, tel: +44 1865 843958; fax +44 1865 843958; email:; Internet:

WORLD PLANNERS CONGRESS 2008: The World Planners Association is holding its next Congress in conjunction with WUF4, date and venue to be confirmed. For more information, contact Dave Crossley at: tel: +1 604-696-5031; Fax: +1 604-696-5032; email:; Internet

WORLD URBAN FORUM 4: WUF4 will be held in Nanjing, China, in 2008. The venue and dates for this meeting will be confirmed at a later date. For more information, contact Information Services Section, UN-HABITAT; tel: +254-20-623120; fax: +254-20-623477; e-mail:; Internet:

Further information