Mexico City, 21 August 2014--"Urban planning is an important source of development and a tool for reducing inequality," UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos has stressed.

 In an address at the opening of the twenty-third assembly of the General Assembly of Ministers of Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean (known by its Spanish acronym MINURVI) in Mexico City on Wednesday, Dr. Clos said urban planning brings access to a dignified life adding that it was an engine for development as well as an incentive for development.

 The Executive Director who was flanked by the Mexican Secretary of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development of Mexico, Mr. Jorge Carlos Ramirez Marin said the region was 80 per cent urbanizedso the challenge is to prevent urban model generates negative externalities such as congestion, segregation, inefficiency and insecurity.”

 The Meeting of Ministers and High Authorities of Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean has been held every year since 1992, with the objective of analyzing the main issues affecting the sustainable development of human settlements.

 "To change the existing urban paradigm should be targeted solutions and not apply a general remedy. Consider mechanisms for regulation, protection and defense of space used as public space provides rights of way for collective infrastructure, “The Executive Director said adding that the mechanisms are referred to in the New Urban Agenda.

 Meanwhile, as part of his visit, the Executive Director signed a cooperation agreement with the Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Agricultural, Regional and Urban Development (SEDATU).

 The Minister of SEDATU, Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín signed on behalf of his government. The agreement aims to contribute to environmental sustainability and urban social and economic development in Mexico. Key urban actors also attended the event, such as the National Housing Organisms and the Construction Cameras.

 The areas of cooperation between the parties include issues of governance and urban legislation, land management, urban planning, dignified and sustainable housing, regeneration and urban image, reducing urban poverty, social risk prevention, adaptation and climate change mitigation and risk management for human settlements.

 Actions are aimed at improving the lives of at least a hundred million slum dwellers by 2020; with the implementation of policies on housing, climate change, risk reduction, sustainability and governance, among others.