The Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum has attracted a record number of exhibitors and visitors with the organizers saying it is the best they ever held.
"This year’s exhibition has been extremely successful, attracting around 110 exhibitors from 35 countries. Over 10,000 visitors from forum participant and the general public have visited the pavilion so far. Many informal discussions and lasting partnerships are forged at the exhibition," said Ms. Jane Nyakairu of UN-HABITAT.
This is a huge increase from the 60 that exhibited at the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum in Nanning China two years ago.
The exhibitors are as varied as the various interest groups attending the Forum. Learning institutions are showcasing their study packages. Governments are showing the best practices they have recorded in the field of urbanization. Non Governmental Organizations are sitting side by side with small scale industries.
Opening the exhibition and making an extensive tour of the stands on Wednesday, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and the Brazilian Housing Minister Mr. Marcio Fortes said that they were impressed by the high standards shown by the exhibitors.
“The UN-HABITAT exhibition represents a cityscape with each ‘building’ featuring statistics from our flagship reports including the recently launched State of the World’s Cities Report. The interior of the houses shows the reality in cities – not only visually but interactively.
Visitors experience the city with all their senses: in the different houses, they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell the cities we live in. At the UN-HABITAT stand, you will also find our major publications including the recently launched State of the World’s Cities Report,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka.
Both Mrs. Tibaijuka and Mr. Fortes were impressed with the UN-HABITAT stand where they saw first hand some of the activities the agency is involved in. On show at the well designed stand were books, T-shirts, mugs, bags and other merchandise.
At the Norway stand, the two officials were given an interactive presentation on clean water, Norway’s housing practices, the future city, international cooperation and local empowerment. They were briefed by the Deputy Director General in the Ministry of Local Government Mr. Per Nygaard.
At the Swedish stand, the visitors were shown an interactive game known as SymbioCity Scenarios which simulates a normal city and the player expected to address the biggest issues facing the particular city.
" SymbioCity is based on information and facts from numerous interviews, newspapers, reports and brochures published by Swedish and international organizations working to improve sustainable development all around the world," said Olov Schultz at the stand.
The Israeli Agency for International Cooperation, MASHAV showcased its programming in the field of community and socio-econmic development.
Bahrain’s Housing Minister Mr. Ebrahim Al-Khalifa briefed both Mrs. Tibaijuka and Mr. Fortes on the sustainable urbanization projects his country had undertaken and the ones it was currently working on.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa of Bahrain is the sponsor of an award jointly with UN-HABITAT which awards best practices around the globe. Bento Rubiao Foundation of Rio De Janeiro was awarded the 2010 Shaikh Khalifa Bun Salman Al Khalifa UN-HABITAT Award.
At the United States stand, the visitors were informed on a new development of an interactive city where people can move freely while Habitat for Humanity presented a model affordable and modern house while the Afghans modeled the progress they had made in the field of urbanization in tandem with the post war reconstruction efforts.
The French Pavilion is organized under the Umbrella of the French Alliance for Cities and Territorial Development » which will be launched in Rio. Three of the most important institutional members of The Alliance, The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, The French Ministry of Ecology, Energy , Sustainable Development and Sea, and the French Development Agency, are presenting their activities for Urban and Territorial Development in France and abroad regarding to the Fifth session of the World Urban Forum topic : “The Right to the City : Bridging the Urban Divide”
Also interesting the visitors were the stand of the government of Uganda which showed how the country was taking forward the right to the city debate and the African Women in Arts and Crafts Association, an organization that brings together hundreds of women from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and help them market the works of art both in their countries and abroad.