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World Urban Forum 6: Deadline for registering side events is 27 April 2012

On 1-7 September 2012, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) will hold the sixth session of its bi-annual World Urban Forum (WUF6) in Naples, Italy. Side events are an important aspect of WUF6 and will be held on 4-5 September. A side event may only be held by application, and should be related to the overall theme of the Forum (see below), and to UN-Habitat’s priority areas. The application process for side events opened on 12 March and closes on 27 April 2012. For more information on the application process and the organization of side events, click here. The World Urban Forum Secretariat will review the application and all applicants will be informed of the outcome of the selection process as from 25 May 2012.

For more information on registration, click here.

WUF6: an overview
Under the theme “The Urban Future,” WUF6 aims to provide a space for discussing ways to create “an urban future where economic growth and prosperity proceed with equity; one where human exploitation of the natural environment is carried on sustainably; one where poverty, inequality and employment/underemployment are attenuated by strong human-centered policies; and all rooted in the right institutional contexts.” However, in order to create such a future, UN-Habitat raises critical questions that first need to be answered, such as: What are the broad defining parameters of an urban future? What key decisions and actions should be taken now to reorient city development towards the desired urban future? What are the key levers for change? How should we invest in an urban future? For the full range of questions, read the WUF6 concept paper.

WUF6 will thus try to find some answers on the above-mentioned questions in order to build a shared vision of the future. Participants will exchange their views on policies, strategies and other operational issues needed to effectively address the opportunities and challenges underlying an urban society, including those related to urban dynamics, demographic changes and the quality of urban life. The principles of sustainable urban development will inform all the discussions.

For WUF6, four broad thematic dialogues are identified to serve as entry points for the overall discussion. These include:

1. Urban planning, Institutions, Regulations and Quality of life

This dialogue will explore the specific role of effective urban planning, as well as of institutions and regulations in enhancing the prosperity of cities. It will examine how a new approach to urban planning can harness urbanization as a positive phenomenon and at the same time respond to the challenges associated with rapid urban growth, such as the unsustainable living conditions in slums and the formation of new slums. It will analyze how urban planning can, for example, facilitate productivity, job creation and sustainable livelihoods, but also consider the broad range of actors and institutions that are involved in urban planning and management.

2. Equity and Prosperity Productive Cities

This dialogue will consider social, economic, cultural and political factors that have an impact on how governments perceive policies that address wealth distribution. It will discuss redistributive measures and other policy instruments and actions that have brought opportunities for all – promoting equity in the city – and explore new ones, especially in terms of land‐use mechanisms, housing policies and land taxation systems.

3. Productive Cities

This dialogue will centre on urban job creation, and will explore how urban areas can be engines of economic growth, and be centres of employment rather than centres of unemployment. In this regard, the dialogue will examine what cities are doing and can do to be more attractive and productive in order to create jobs for its growing labour force. The dialogue will also discuss the nature of youth employment in urban areas.

4. Urban mobility, Energy and Environment

Finally, this dialogue will analyze the prospects and challenges that cities face in adopting sustainable solutions for urban mobility. It will consider mass transportation, combined with non‐motorized solutions, infrastructure provision, and energy conservation. The dialogue will also explore the possible impacts of climate change on urban mobility, such as infrastructure damage, or the cost of delays as a result of such damage.

The four main dialogues of the sixth session of the World Urban Forum will be complemented with extensive discussions on various aspects of the main themes in a series of parallel events, roundtables, special events, training sessions as well as two assemblies.

World Urban Youth Assembly
On 2 September, youth will have the opportunity to discuss and deliberate on issues important to them at the World Urban Youth Assembly – an integral part of WUF6. Youth will analyze how urbanization is having an impact on their future, among others by raising questions such as: Who benefits from the urbanization process? Who is being left out? What innovative approaches exist to remedy such exclusions? It is expected that the Assembly will help youth representatives make relevant contributions at the substantive dialogues of the main Forum.

More information on the Youth Assembly will be available soon here.

Gender Equality Action Assembly
WUF6 will also host a Gender Equality Action Assembly, which will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss progress and challenges on the implementation of the Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) – UN-HABITAT’s strategy (2008-2013) for promoting gender equality in an urban world.

For more information on WUF6, click here.