Dr. Joan ClosIn this opening session for the Global Urban Lecture Series, Dr. Joan Clos introduces the lecture series and its goals. He explains that at UN-Habitat we have the privilege of meeting prominent experts, urban professionals, researchers and urban decision makers who are actively involved in making cities work and in promoting sustainable urbanization. These meetings provide us with a forum for knowledge exchange and to debate policy options that affect the future of our cities and our increasingly urbanized planet, and with the new Global Urban Lecture Series this expertise will now also be accessible online.

UN-Habitat aims at raising not only the level and quality of the discussion around sustainable urbanization but also to increase awareness and narrow the gap between urban knowledge production and its direct implementation in cities.  In order to achieve this, UN-Habitat has developed several new tools for information dissemination and active knowledge sharing amongst its partners. The Global Urban Lecture Series is one of these tools.  It allows easy access to the urban knowledge and experiences developed by UN-Habitat and its associated prominent experts and world class thinkers, doers and city builders.

The lectures and associated documentation in this series are made available for free online and can be used both for self-learning and to support training programs and university courses. Practitioners, decision makers and politicians who have time constraints in their hectic public life can benefit from the easy access to these urban lectures on various topics related to cities and sustainable urbanisation.  The lectures span from public participation processes in Toronto to waste management in Bangalore, from urban planning approaches in Africa to value sharing mechanisms in Latin America. The lectures in the series are based on concrete examples, drawing on direct experiences and providing objective analysis of each of the approaches they represent.

We are pleased to launch this series, and hope it will be a useful tool for our partners in their work towards a sustainable urban future.

With this, we would like to welcome you to the Global Urban Lecture Series! 


Since October 2010, Dr. Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) at the level of Undersecretary-General by the United Nations General Assembly.

Dr. Clos is a medical doctor with a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He was twice elected Mayor of Barcelona serving two terms during the years 1997-2006. He was Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain between 2006 and 2008. Prior to joining the United Nations, he served as Spanish ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan. 

At the international level, Dr. Clos has previously served as President of Metropolis - international network of cities; President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities, (WACLAC) ; Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, (UNACLA), and member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, (CEMR). Dr. Clos has received a number of awards, including a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for transforming Barcelona, and in 2002 he won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations.