Mannheim, Germany – 26 March 2019 – The Global Strategic Dialogue Series held its first session, convened jointly by the City of Mannheim and UN-Habitat. Focusing on the role of private sector in advancing the 2030 Agenda, the Dialogue explored the ways in which business, industry, investors and start-ups can contribute to the SDGs, particularly Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities. The dialogue also laid the groundwork for a shifting dynamic within the UN system as a whole, looking to leveraging the influence and actions of business for sustainable urban development.

The event was held in the lead up to the First Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly in May 2019 and the 10th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10) to be held in Abu Dhabi in February in February 2020.

The two-day event included representatives from 8 cities, 25 businesses, 5 financiers and representation from the international development community at large. From these high-level discussions, emerged important input for the development of UN-Habitat’s expanding engagement in multi-sectoral collaborations with the private sector.

In her opening remarks, UN-Habitat Executive Director Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif stressed that “the private sector plays a key role in grasping the opportunity of well-managed and planned urbanization to improve living standards, economic prosperity and in eradicating poverty”. She further remarked that “through this dialogue series, UN-Habitat seeks to engage private sector partners and define new ways to achieve sustainable urbanization together”.

In his remarks, the Mayor of Mannheim, Dr. Peter Kurz, emphasized that “climate change, migration and digitalization pose major challenges for cities around the world. Only a comprehensive transformation of policy and business attitudes can succeed in meeting those challenges. This Global Strategic Dialogue addresses the question of how private sector opportunities can be better aligned with urban needs”. 

To further cement the growing partnership between UN-Habitat and the City of Mannheim, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to strengthen collaboration towards implementation and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. Ms. Sharif was also accorded the special honour of signing the Golden Book of Mannheim.