Joan Clos, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT this week was a key speaker at the opening of the Third Congress of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in Mexico.
| Mexico © UN-HABITAT
The Mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, welcomed more than three thousand mayors, local and regional authorities to the conference to share their experiences on challenges facing cities and municipalities, such as local governance, the economy and climate change.
By the end of the four-day summit, “The City of 2030 – Our Manifesto” will set out in simple terms, a vision for urban centres of the future, both large and small, as the world becomes increasingly urbanised.
During the summit Clos also launched the report “How to enhance inclusiveness for migrants in our cities: various stakeholders’ views”, which was published jointly by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and UN-HABITAT.
The report explains how international migration flows will increase in the future as a result of climate change and the global financial crisis. Migrants will be drawn more and more to cities, adding to urbanisation. With decentralisation, the responsibility of responding to the needs of migrants will increasingly fall to local government to assist migrants to become a full part of the economic, cultural, social and political lives of their host communities.
Speaking after the congress in an online discussion with readers of El Universal, one of Mexico’s most well-read and influential newspapers, Clos said that care should be taken to protect the collective and public spaces in cities which were true symbols of identity and citizenship.
“Cities of the future should be more sustainable, more equitable, places where people can fulfil their potential”, he said.
“Although it seems impossible to reverse the chaotic city growth that has already taken place in many parts of the world, it can be done. It takes conviction and a strong set of strategies to correct past mistakes. Cities are living organisms and change over time”.