Urbanisation a transformative tool for Sustainable Development

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This week the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is hosting a segment on the integration of sustainable development focusing on the role of Urbanisation. H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of ECOSOC, expressed that urbanisation has and will play a transformative role to meeting economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. H.E. Drobnjak explained that cities are innovative spaces, which drive social change and provide opportunities that can lift populations out of poverty. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised that expanding government capacities and planning urbanisation is critical to ensure that policies and frameworks create equitable and constructive environments.

Urbanisation leads to higher wages, provides basic infrastructure and services, while also stimulating the private sector that creates jobs and new stakeholders to provide public goods. As African nations become more urbanized people can be empowered to build secure futures. President Paul Kagame discussed his own nation Rwanda whom, twenty years after genocide, continue searching for solutions to repair the social dimensions of everyday life. President Kagame noted the capacity of urbanization to repair and unify his people whom are moving to cities faster than ever before in search of a higher quality of life.

Vice-President of Colombia, H.E. Angelino Garzon, insisted that the future agenda must not discriminate against the poor as part of the problem but instead include low-income workers as part of the solution. H.E. Garzon reminded states leaders of their duty to provide populations with education, safe water, basic sanitation, transport, a healthy environment, decent work and access to land.

H.E. Isabelle Picco, Vice-President of the general assembly raised concerns for the effects on climate change, as 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated in cities. Mr. Joan Clos challenged governments to utilize innovative abilities towards energy strategies, ensure sustainable urbanisation and stimulate environmental protection alongside development.

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Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council’s opening of the Integration segment focusing on Urbanization
Speakers: Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, H.E. Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of the General Assembly H.E. Isabelle Picco, Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Ban Ki-moon, President of the Republic of Rwanda H.E. Paul Kagame, Vice-President of the Republic of Colombia H.E. Angelino Garzon, H.E. Michael Bloomberg of United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and Executive Director of UN-Habitat Mr. Joan Clos
Date: 27 May 2014
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

Images: CBD of Hong Kong and Melbourne 

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