Medellin was the host city of the 7th session of the World Urban Forum which officially closed on 11 April and, according to figures from the organizers, was visited by 22,000 people representing 162 countries and over 56 ministers of housing and urban development.
The Forum marked an important step on the route toward Habitat III, the UN conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development which will take place in 2016 and set the guidelines for urban development planning for the next 15 years.
Presence as an Exhibitor
Metropolis used its stand to present its main areas of action and to offer a strategic meeting point between member cities and their stakeholders.
Organizers of a Networking Session
As part of WUF7, Metropolis, together with UN-Habitat and INTA, organized a networking session with the main theme being “Equitable Cities: Fixing Spatial, Social and Economic Inequalities Through Integrated Governance, Planning and Development”.
The session, moderated by the Metropolis General Secretary, involved the presence of the Mayor of Johannesburg, the Mayor of Cali, the President of the environment department at the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Vice-President of Greater Lyon.
Of note during the session were two statements among the many made by the speakers on the metropolitan phenomenon and how it is an irreversible process today:
“How metropolitan mechanisms can offer greater equity, both among the municipalities that comprise the metropolitan system and among their inhabitants” and also “The metropolitan project must be considered as a necessary condition to build territorial solidarity, a necessary condition for universal access to urban services, and a necessary condition for the ‘right to the city’".
Metropolis General Secretary Meetings
The Metropolis General Secretary used the occasion to meet with and welcome several of the Association’s member cities in person:
Barcelona Durban Porto Alegre
Belo Horizonte Guangzhou Rio de Janeiro
Bogotá Guarulhos Rosario
Bruselas - Capital Johannesburg Santiago
Buenos Aires Kampala São Paulo
Dakar Mexico City
Alain Le Saux also met with Cities Alliance, Frente Nacional de Prefeitos, GIZ and the UN-Habitat executive director and Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Joan Clos.
In addition, he was a speaker at the session “Learning from Urban Innovation in Inclusive Governance” organized by the Government of Guangzhou and in the table “Health Equity and Sustainable Urban Development in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” which was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Habitat.
Active presence of the Metropolis Women International Network
The Metropolis Women International Network co-organized two sessions together with UN-Habitat: on 7 April, the assembly “Gender Equality and Urban Equality” and on 11 April the roundtable “Gender Equality and the New Urban Agenda”.
In addition, the Network coordinator,Montserrat Pallarès, was a speaker at the roundtable “Equitable Distribution in Cities: Gender”, which took place on 8 April 2014.
The Metropolis Women International Network had the chance to meet up with different association members to expand and improve collaborations, given some members’ interest in joining one of the network’s antennae:
Santiago de Chile
Collaboration with UN-Habitat
Finally, Metropolis participated in the meeting of the UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign (WUC) steering committee and was also present at the meeting of the United Nations’ Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA). At both meetings, of note was the imminent challenge cities face to ensure their opinions can be assessed by national governments in the post-2015 period and at Habitat III.
21st CIDEU Congress
The General Secretariat attended the 21st CIDEU Congress (Ibero American Centre for Urban Strategic Development) which was held in Medellin between 3 and 5 April. The Congress received more than 300 representatives from 62 cities which actively participated in the roundtables and technical visits organized by CIDEU and the city of Medellin. Sixteen Strategic Projects framed within four fields of the “Cities for Life” congress theme were presented: Promoting and Sharing Value, Creating and Distributing Opportunities, Inclusive City and Equality Development.