UNESCO at 3rd session of World Urban ForumMore than 6,000 participants from 150 countries are expected to attend the third session of the World Urban Forum (WUF3) in Vancouver, Canada, from 19 to 23 June.
Debates during this session of the World Urban Forum, organized every two years by UN-HABITAT, will focus on the theme, “Our Future: Sustainable Cities – Turning Ideas into Action.” This session will be an occasion to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first UN Conference on Human Settlements, which took place in Vancouver in 1976, and led to the creation of UN-HABITAT. It will also highlight the cooperation between UNESCO and UN-HABITAT, which has been bolstered since the 2nd World Urban Forum, held in Barcelona in 2004, giving rise to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2005. Finally, it will provide an unique opportunity for participants to learn about UNESCO’s work, in its various fields of competence, on issues relative to cities and their management.
UNESCO’s stand at the Forum will host three workshops, two exhibitions and numerous side events. The three workshops organized by UNESCO will focus on the following projects: Urban Policies and the Right to the City, the International Coalition of Cities Against Racism, Growing Up in the City and creative urban planning with youth. The Urban Policies and the Right to the City project will examine existing urban policies at the regional, national and municipal levels, as well as available opportunities to promote the development of networks in this field. An open debate will be undertaken between the public, experts and representatives of associations of cities and of inhabitants.
The workshop concerning the International Coalition of Cities Against Racism will feature a session entitled “Towards an Inclusive Urban Society”, where Canadian town planners, politicians, researchers and NGOs will meet with representatives from other parts of the world. This event, organized by UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS) in cooperation with the Culture Sector, will enable participants to share experiences and best practices and examine ways to improve the democratic governance of municipalities determined to encourage respect for diversity.
In cooperation with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the UNESCO Chair "Growing Up in Cities" (Cornell University, U.S.A.) will, for its part, host a networking event on creative urban planning with young people. “How children and youth should be integrated into participatory urban planning processes” will be starting point for this session. Through examples from different countries, participants will discuss young people’s participation, in cooperation with city professionals, in urban management.
Finally, UNESCO’s stand at the World Urban Forum will house two exhibitions: “Sketches Around the World: Messages of Progress for the Future of our Planet” and “Historical District Renewal Areas.” The first exhibition, set up by the Education Sector, will present the award-winning entries of the 2006 competition “Sketches Around the World.” The second exhibition, organized by Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) with the Social and Human Sciences Sector, will showcase the winning designs of the international student competition on Urban Design. Printed and audiovisual material will present the Organization’s projects on cities and urban issues.