The Forum wound up with a glittering closing ceremony on Friday 23 June. The weeklong deliberations in Vancouver paved the way for a new drive forward on the international urban agenda in a world of rapidly growing cities.
Just as the Habitat I Conference in Vancouver in 1976 placed local community concerns on the international agenda and highlighted the critical importance of inclusiveness, the Forum in Vancouver, 30 years later, lived up to its promise of moving ideas to action. The meeting and its glittering closing ceremony symbolized inclusiveness, with balanced participation from public, private and civil society sectors. Compared to previous sessions of the Forum, there was a notable increase in private sector participation.
From Vancouver that a new message resonated: the urban population of developing countries is set to double from 2 to 4 billion in the next 30 years. In the same time span, the developed world's urban population is projected to rise by only 11 percent.
This means, said Ms. Katherine Sierra, Vice-President and Network Head, Infrastructure, World Bank, and Enrique Peñalosa, the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, that the magnitude of urban population growth confronting developing countries is about ten times that of the developed world.
"In short, these 2 billion new urban inhabitants will require the equivalent of planning, financing, and servicing facilities for a new city of 1 million people, every week for the next 30 years," Ms. Sierra said. "Imagine," said Mr. Peñalosa, "that means a new city each week the size of Vancouver."
Vancouver 2006 also brought governments and municipalities closer to grassroots women's organizations, youth groups, the representatives of slum dwellers and other non-governmental organizations than ever before at such an international meeting, building on the precedent set by UN-HABITAT for more inclusive international meetings.