Monday, May 17, 2010

UN Habitat World Urban Forum in Rio

In Rio de Janeiro from 22 - 26 March 2010, UN-HABITAT and the Government of Brazil hosted the Fifth Session of the World Urban ForumThe Right to the City - Bridging the Urban Divide” - a unique event where people from different backgrounds shared ideas on how to cope with the challenges of urbanization. One of the most open and inclusive gatherings of its kind on the international stage, the Fifth Session of the

World Urban Forum brought together government leaders, ministers, mayors, diplomats, members of national, regional and international associations of local governments, non-governmental and community organizations, professionals, academics, grassroots women's organizations, youth and slum dwellers groups as partners working for better cities.

On Monday, 22 March 2010 and Tuesday, 23 March, 2010, as a member of the Partners of the Americas delegation, I attended the event, which, in retrospect has been hailed as the most successful World Forum ever staged. According to available statistics, some 13,718 participants from 150 countries around the world attended the Session. The success of the World Forum could be gauged by the fact that on opening day, thousands of people waited in line to get security clearance and admitted into the venue, and on most of the days during the event, participants were turned away from some of the meeting rooms because they were fully packed.

The World Urban Forum Exhibition area showcased some of the world's many innovations in urban development. Among the many organizations I visited were:

Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) International, United States of America

Cities Alliance, Brazil

Coca Cola, Brazil

Bureau of International Organization Affairs - U.S. Department of State, United States of America

Caixa Econômica Federal, Brazil

Companhia de Habitação do Estado do Pará, Brazil

Convention on Biological Diversity / SCBD, Canada

Eco Citizen Programme, Brazil

Ecocity World Summit Montreal 2011, Canada

Global Urban Development, United States of America

Heritage Strategies International, United States of America