The future of the world lies within the development of Intermediate citiesMontería Colombia 5 November 2015-- UN- Habitat, United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), Andalucia Agency for Development International Cooperation, and Monteria City Council collaborated to organize the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on "The Role of Intermediate Cities in Strengthening Urban-Rural Linkages towards the New Urban Agenda".

During the two day-meeting (27-28 October 2015), over 20 experts from countries such as Ecuador, Zimbabwe, China, Kenya, Canada, Spain, Italy, South Africa, India, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Colombia, representing international cooperation organisations, universities, national and local governments, gathered to discuss and share their experiences and lessons on strengthening urban-rural linkages through intermediate cities.

The EGM reviewed the main outcomes and lessons learnt from both peer’s experiences and from UN-Habitat’s engagement to date with a view to better define UN-Habitat’s role and enhance its approach and impact on promoting urban-rural linkages and systems of intermediate cities. This is based on the acknowledgment of a renewed focus on the role of urban-rural linkages in sustainable urbanisation and the contribution of intermediate cities in promoting these linkages.

In addition there is general need for knowledge on the dynamics of small and intermediate cities where over half of the global urban population lives. This inadequacy of information makes these cities and towns a missing link in understanding the dynamic continuum of urban-rural interactions. Speaking during the EGM, Remy Sietchiping, Leader, Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit of UN-Habitat, emphasized the role of small and intermediate cities in ensuring balanced territorial development, population distribution and reducing the focus on the big cities. Chikako Takase, Director, United Nations Centre for Regional Development indicated that small and intermediate cities need to be integrated in regional development planning.

Carlos Eduardo Correa, Mayor of the city of Monteria, underscored that investment in infrastructure, housing, urban services, and land use planning are key in the transformation of small and intermediate towns. Participants issued the Monteria Communiqué. The results and conclusions of the meeting will serve as a knowledge base for information on tendencies, policies, tools, innovation and best practices that will inform the Habitat III Conference - United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, in October in 2016.

Download the Monteria Communique here.