UN-HABITAT's Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka presided at the Nairobi launch of the 24th edition of the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2007: Our urban futureat the twenty-first session of the Governing Council in Nairobi on Tuesday.
“There is no turning back. Urbanization is here to stay and we therefore need to find ways of dealing with the challenges that come with it,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka who wrote the foreword to the report: “In this period of transition from a predominantly rural species to an urban species, we must confront issues such as the urbanization of poverty head on. We cannot continue to ignore the urban penalty. For too long we have been living under the myth that the urban poor are always better off than the rural poor. Recent statistics suggest otherwise. Which is why all of us, authors as well as concerned citizens, must push the urban agenda into the limelight.”
The Worldwatch Institute, a non-profit research organization that analyses international environmental issues, has been producing an annual "State of the World" report on progress towards an environmentally and socially sustainable society since 1984. This 24th edition of the Worldwatch Institute’s annual report will be released in more than 20 countries in an effort to raise the profile or urban environmental concerns.
Also at the launch were some contributors including Ms. Zoe Chafe, Worldwatch researcher who emphasized that there was a considerable lack of financing for the development of cities especially housing for the urban poor. Ms. Rasna Warah, a contributor who wrote about life in Kibera, provided harrowing statistics on the largest slum in Africa. Mr. Rob de Jong, Head of the Urban Environment at UNEP, called for environmentally sustainable cities especially in the face of climate change. The Cities Alliance, a joint initiative between the World Bank and UN-HABITAT helped fund the Nairobi launch.