Octavi de la Varga, Executive Director of Metropolis, was in charge of moderating the session "Community Forum: metropolitan and peripheral cities" organized in the framework of the 5th UCLG World Congress in Bogota, and in which the cities of Berlin, Brazzaville, Surabaya, Tehran and Nanterre were represented. This session was an opportunity to contribute to the establishment of the agenda of local and regional governments for Habitat III and its continuity.
The session was focused on the capacities of large cities and metropolises to contribute to the construction of more prosperous and equal societies, which offer high standards of quality of life, without depleting the planet’s natural resources.
The speakers addressed three issues around the concepts of governance and democracy, and highlighted citizen participation as a fundamental element and a requirement to guarantee democracy: in order to provide good services to the citizens, it is essential to know their exact needs.
The second issue in debate was related to the economic development and financing of urban agglomerations, over which the speakers stressed that cities must have autonomy. In addition, it was highlighted the importance ofsecuring financial capacities and resources for cities to be taken In consideration in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
Finally, the third block was dedicated to sustainable development and the right to the city. At this part of the discussion, speakers expressed the importance of incorporating a holistic approach to city planning. This approach should be applied in the design of urban policies so that it ensures the same opportunities for all groups of people, irrespective of their origin, culture and lifestyles; all without losing sight of the preservation of the environment and the mitigation of the impacts generated by cities.