Toronto, Canada, 26 April 2022 – The World Urban Pavilion, an international partnership which hopes to advance the knowledge of urban development and the implementation and the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda, has opened its doors.

Last week’s launch comes on the heels of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week to focus attention on the New Urban Agenda.

Known as the Pavilion, the initiative is a strategic partnership between UN-Habitat, Urban Economy Forum, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the Daniels Corporation.

“With the opening of the World Urban Pavilion, Canada is poised to lead a global dialogue on resilience and sustainable cities,” said Reza Pourvaziry, Chair of the Urban Economy Forum.

The Pavilion also introduced the Global Hub for SDG Cities Initiative, which aims to springboard action for the global program and engage cities to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

It will also provide a platform for Canadian cities to share their urban innovations with cities across the globe.

John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, said, “Bringing the Pavilion to Toronto is a testament to our leadership in urban development. I look forward to seeing the new ideas this hub will create.”

Alongside the Global Hub for SDG Cities, the Pavilion also aims to improve urban issues, such as models to address inequalities, housing affordability, sustainable resources, energy, and transportation.

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Romy Bowers, said the Pavilion “will give us a front-row seat to see the great work around Sustainable Development Goals that is taking place in Canada and around the world.”

The local community, known as Regent Park, took the centre stage during the Pavilion’s grand opening, with many of the community members participating in the program and as guests.

The Regent Park community is in the midst of a community-led revitalisation process and can provide many lessons and opportunities for other communities that are experiencing economic and social disparities.

UN-Habitat’s Director of Global Solution, Raf Tuts, said, “Local action has never been so at the centre to achieve the global goals. An integrated whole of society approach will be needed to bring everyone to the common objective of sustainable inclusive urban development.” 

Mitchell Cohen, President and CEO of the Daniels Corporation, who has been working with the local community during the Regent Park revitalisation, said the Pavilion “provides an opportunity for all of us to share what we have learned over the years.”

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion thanked the partners of the Pavilion and the Regent Park community for their strong collaboration and dedication to bringing this project to life. He said the Pavilion “will inspire and incubate the best new ideas in urban development. It will open doors to learning from each other and from other countries.”

The first meeting of the Pavilion’s International Board (IB) was also held on occasion of the Grand Opening. The International Board consists of ministers and mayors from countries across the globe to help the Pavilion achieve its goals and mandate. During the IB meeting, the participants will help connect the Pavilion to innovative solutions for urban challenges within their regions and cities.

Ibrahim Afrah, Regent Park community member, said the Pavilion was the result of a great partnership. “Building takes a lot of effort, and when you build with others. It takes a lot of communities and stakeholders to come together locally, non-government wise to envision a community that we all need.”

Marlene DeGenova, another Regent Park community member added: “Regent Park is an amazing unique community with a long and rich history. With meaningful engagement and consultation, we are determined to get revitalisation right. I am proud to be part of the Pavilion Steering Committee.”