Highlights and images for 29 June 2022

Katowice, Poland

Street WUF11 sign

A WUF11 sign in the streets of Katowice

Best practices in urban infrastructure, planning, and financing were at the forefront of discussions on WUF11’s second last day. The day featured the launch of the World Cities Report 2022 whose theme, “Envisaging the Future of Cities,” connects planning with “different scenarios of urban futures.”

In the morning, the Dialogue on Future Urban Economy and Finance highlighted the need for coordinated investment and the potential of urbanization as an economic development vehicle, noting, among other approaches, housing construction as a pathway out of poverty. Speakers in the Dialogue on Integrated Governance in Spatial Planning for a More Just, Green, and Healthy Urban Future spoke about coordination in the housing sector; pathways to address imbalances in the global food system; and the need to understand how segments of a city’s population use city infrastructure differently.

To dive deeper, read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Six roundtables took place in the afternoon. The Women’s Roundtable brought together women from civil society and the public and private sectors to exchange success stories from their respective contexts. Speakers called for the continued advancement of the women’s agenda, highlighting the persistent threat of moving backwards. The Academia Roundtable underlined the need for interdisciplinary urban planning research and for the academic sector to work alongside practitioners. The Children and Youth Roundtable was split into three segments—one intergenerational, one youth-led, and one practitioners-led—that each tackled the need to increase meaningful youth participation from different perspectives.

ONE UN Roundtable

Participants during the intervention from Collen Vixen Kelapile, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, at the One UN Roundtable

The Roundtable on Foundations and Philanthropy considered the values that are driving grant-making reform and how foundations can provide effective support in complex urban environments. One UN Roundtable participants emphasized the importance of coordination across agencies and the development of joint programmes, with participation, inclusivity, and people-centered approaches seen as key to sustainable urbanization. Finally, the Professionals Roundtable discussed the roles and responsibilities of professionals to accelerate the SDGs and incorporate them into their services. It highlighted the role of the Habitat Professionals Forum to strengthen relationships between private and public partners.

The afternoon also featured four special sessions. In the Special Session on Post COVID-19 Recovery, panelists emphasized the need for global solidarity and unity, calling for a human rights-based approach to development and social protection systems to mitigate the impacts of future crises. In the Special Session on Shaping Equitable Futures Through Mission-Oriented Development, local governments shared innovative urban projects that improve citizens’ wellbeing, including Bogotá’s “care system” approach to addressing “time poverty” experienced by women. The Special Session on Localizing the SDGs discussed how national frameworks, funding, and engagement of all stakeholders must come together to enable cities to co-create and implement solutions. Finally, the Special Session on Prerequisites for Productive Investment in Infrastructure and Sustainable Urban Development expanded on challenges facing productive investments, including: the rate of urbanization and the inability for complex projects to be financed in a timely manner; the disconnect between local, regional, and national governments; limited capacity of local governments; channeling investments towards green and social projects; and private-sector confidence in emerging economies. The day concluded with a concert by artist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal in the Youth Village.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For photos from WUF11, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera.

To receive free coverage of global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.

Event organised by