The main theme
The World Urban Forum is a key event on the international calendar aimed at keeping us all abreast of the main challenges of the new Millennium – our planet's transition to an urban world where in the next 50 years it is projected that two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities, many of them in the world's burgeoning, poverty stricken slums.
Given this situation, the theme of the forum this year comes in the form of a question that national and local governments, and the public at large need to keep asking: Cities: Crossroads of cultures, inclusiveness and integration? The idea of UN-HABITAT's Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, is that we never lose sight of the challenges posed by globalisation and urbanisation such as the world-wide urbanisation of poverty.
Dialogues and networking events
The World Urban Forum is successful because it provides for the effective participation of non-governmental organizations, community-based organisations, urban professionals, academics, governments, local authorities and national and international associations of local governments. It gives them a common platform in all of the conceptual, preparatory and formal discussions. Simply stated, the WUF differs from UN governing bodies because it is inclusive and does away with the formal rules of procedure that usually govern official UN meetings.
Working arrangements of the forum have deliberately been kept simple, although a well structured framework is required to make the most of an event which forms part of the glittering Universal Forum of Culture that Barcelona is hosting from May 9 to September 26. And the contribution of Habitat Agenda Partners is therefore essential to making this event a success. In this brochure, we outline the two major types of events: dialogues and networking events.
The dialogues will provide the main focus of the Forum and will each accommodate 200-300 people approximately. Networking events will be held at smaller venues that can accommodate either 75 or 150 participants so that our Habitat Agenda Partners can meet a narrower more specialised audience.
UN-HABITAT and its partners are finalizing the topics for the dialogues and networking events. The list will be published at the beginning of March 2004.