Development heavyweights weigh in on urban financing
Medellin, 8 April 2014: Key players from across the globe came together at the World Urban Forum for a special session on Financing the New Urban Agenda. The debate revolved around the implementation of the Habitat Agenda with a special focus on its adequate financing, including exploration of viable innovations and new partnerships to be proposed ahead of the United Nations Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, Habitat III, taking place in 2016.The panelists were Luis Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; Shaun Donovan, US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development; Enrique Garcia, President of the Development Bank of Latin America; Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy; Zoubida Allaoua, Acting Vice President of the World Bank; and Anne Paugam, Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency (AFD). Between them they underscored the importance of local project ownership through financial and in-kind contributions, as well as the need for projects to be embedded in a broader urban strategy.The day also concluded five key roundtable discussions for Ministers, Mayors, Parliamentarians, Civil Society and the Private Sector. In these sessions, urban development actors had the opportunity to reflect on their respective experiences in addressing urban inequity.At the Private Sector Roundtable, representatives from various companies – including Arcadis, Comfama, CEMEX, Envac, IBM, Veolia Environment, and SAP – discussed opportunities for partnerships that harness the innovation of the private sector in order to improve cities. Speakers and panelists emphasized the need for a well-developed legal and judicial system at the national level to facilitate balanced and successful public-private partnerships.Away from the main pavilion in the City Changer rooms and other areas of the exhibition hall, events showed how inequitable cities manifest in the real world. In the Urban Library, UN-Habitat and the Development Bank of Latin America launched Construction of More Equitable Cities: Public Policies for Inclusion in Latin America. The publication examines, for the first time, income and consumption inequalities in a large sample of 300 cities over a period of 20 years, between 1980 and 2000.