Nairobi, 27 May 2014: The first integration segment for 2014, which opens today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, will focus on sustainable development; recognition of the importance of urban development in the overall push towards sustainable development.

Held by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, the Integration Segments are designed to enhance the coherence of the three pillars of development – economic, environmental and social – in the run up to 2015 when new UN development goals will be established to replace the Millennium Development Goals that will have run their course.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos, will set the scene for the three-day discussions on the opening day which will be officially opening by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, John W. Ashe, President of the UN General Assembly and Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council. Keynote speeches will be made by Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Angelino Garzon, Vice-President of Colombia and Michael Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

“Cities are nexuses for economic, environmental and social development; places where people, ideas and activities merge,” said Dr. Clos. “With two thirds of our population expected to be living in cities by 2030, it is important that urbanization and its potential positive impact is put at the centre of the agenda for sustainable development”

Dr. Clos will also speak on the closing day about the way forward towards the United Nations’ Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, due to take place in 2016.

In the sidelines of the main conference, UN-Habitat will organise a number of side events, covering topics including food security, gender equality, green cities and participatory slum upgrading.

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