Speaking at a packed joint press conference immediately after President Lula da Silva officially opened the event, two said delegates must take the opportunity to share knowledge and experience. “I don’t like to talk too much, I like to act,” said Mr.Fortes. “We need to attack all problems related to urbanization. Everyone knows the problems and what to do but not how to do it. This Forum is one way to attack the problems to ensure sustainable development in the world and not just in poor countries. This is a global issue.”
On her part, Mrs. Tibaijuka supported the comments by Minister Fortes that the Forum is an opportunity for a high level of engagement for ministers, mayors, and other important decision makers.
“Business as usual is not good enough,” said the Executive Director. “We must take the opportunity that the Forum provides as a campaign instrument to enable the political will to overcome rapid and chaotic urbanization.”
She said leadership was crucial in attaining sustainable urbanization. “What is needed is leadership, leadership and leadership,” she stressed.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also emphasized that the aim of sustainable urbanization is not to move people out
from the slums from where they live, but to improve the conditions within the slums. “Only as a last resort, such as for the public good or if the risk is great, do we want to move people from their homes,” she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Minister for his personal hard work in organizing the Forum in the newly refurbished venue by the Rio seaside. “UN-HABITAT is no stranger to Rio as our Latin American and Caribbean office has been based here for 15 years, so this is like our ‘hometown’ for the
region,” she added.
Mr. Fortes announced that an agreement will be signed to place a new UN-HABITAT office within the Ministry of Cities in Brasilia. “This is a first for a UN-HABITAT office to be placed within a Ministry, and we are happy to assist in increasing the importance and awareness of sustainable urbanization,” he said.