Cities Alliance Partnership Puts Cities on the Agenda at European Development Days
[18 June 2015] -- Cities Alliance members and partners actively promoted the key role of cities in development at the 2015 European Development Days (EDD15) forum, which was held 3-4 June in Brussels. It was the first time cities were on the agenda at EDD, Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development.
This year’s event was an especially important one for cities. It was the flagship event of the European Year for Development 2015, and a high-profile forum for debate in the lead-up to the 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, where the new urban development agenda will be shaped.
As part of the debate, the Cities Alliance partnership was selected to host a high-level panel on Sustainable Cities: Good for the Global North, But Not for the Global South? together with UN-Habitat, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), and United Cities and Local Governments Africa (UCLGA).
Moderated by UCLGA Secretary General Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi in his capacity as Chairman of the Cities Alliance board, the panel was a strong, diverse one that offered range of perspectives on urbanisation in developing countries: UN-Habitat Director Joan Clos, youth leader Ivy Langat, Monrovia Mayor Clara Doe Mvogo, SDI Chair Sheela Patel, AFD Executive Director for Strategy Philippe Orliange and the European Commission Head of Water, Energy, Infrastructures Paolo Ciccarelli.
The key messages included: Cities are engines of future growth, but are blighted by weak policy frameworks and a lack of national government support.
The benefits of urbanisation will depend on the way we plan it and put people at the centre.
There is no magic bullet for urban planning, but efforts should start with national policy, followed by participation and consultation of people living in the cities.
Slum dwellers are the new stakeholders of cities in the developing world. About 70 per cent of cities in Africa consist of slums whose residents have been sidelined for too long.
To improve the conditions of slum dwellers, programmes must be developed around their priorities. The process must be driven by demand.
Cities Alliance members and partners also hosted panels on cities, including:
-- Megatrend urbanisation: Bridging the divide between rural and urban development (GIZ, Cities Alliance, and Regionalverband Stuttgart);
-- Urban journalism academy: Media training (UN-Habitat and Cities Alliance);
-- The human scale: For people-centric sustainable cities (Bozar, UN-Habitat, Arterial Network, and Gehl Architects); and
-- Solid ground: Access to land for vulnerable people in developing countries (Habitat for Humanity, Cities Alliance, SAIC, UN-Habitat, CEU, and SSDI).
For more about European Development Days, including synopses and videos of all of the sessions, please visit https://eudevdays.eu/
Cities Alliance shared a stand in the EDD15 exhibition space with UN-Habitat, AFD, GIZ, Habitat for Humanity International, SDI, and UCLGA.