Toronto, Canada, July 2020 - Town leaders, government officials, non-government organizations and the private sector met virtually in preparation for the first “ Habitat in Towns: Collingwood World Summit” that aims to create a campaign for towns and municipalities to exchange best practices, and create achievable targets, also in the context of post COVID 19 recovery.
The Summit, in Collingwood town, Canada, will facilitate learning and international dialogue for the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular the urban SDG11. International attendees included Asian Mayors Forum’s Secretary General, Mozafari Goshtasb, and the Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section, Mehmet Duman.
The session was opened by the Mayor of Collingwood, Brian Saunderson, who was followed by Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Canadian Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (Housing) who spoke on the importance of looking at the challenges and opportunities of towns through a holistic perspective and all 17 SDGs.
Reza Pourvaziri, Chair of the Urban Economy Forum and Co-Chair of the Habitat in Towns Steering Committee explained that Urban Economy Forum (UEF) is a collaborative effort in which UN-Habitat plays a key role. He said global guidelines along with tools such as the City Development Index can help towns and small cities to mobilise more resources. He said that the role of small cities is fundamental in making urbanization sustainable.
UN-Habitat’s Head of Knowledge and Innovation, Eduardo Lopez Moreno emphasised the importance of innovation in efficient and effective decision making. He expressed the hope that towns and cities would participate in the SDG Cities Flagship Programme, in which the UEF’s World Urban Pavilion project promoting research and best practices on urban sustainability will play a facilitating role.
The remarks by the Co-Chair of Urban Economy Forum 2020 Steering Committee and Former Member of European Parliament, Julie Ward included a message from the European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, on the importance of small and medium sized cities in the implementation of SDGs. All town and small city leaders are invited to the event with more information at www.ueforum.org/habitatintowns.