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High-Level Symposium on Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Urbanisation
16 Dec 2013 - 18 Dec 2013
Yangzhou, China
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, through its Division for Sustainable Development (DSD/DESA), in collaboration with the Municipal Government of Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, the People’s Republic of China, will organize a High-level Symposium on Sustainable Cities and Sustainable Urbanization, in Yangzhou, China, on 16-18 December 2013.

Cities face multiple challenges. In developing countries, it is estimated that one billion people live in urban slums. They often lack basic social services, such as health care, education, and their neighbourhoods are often without safe drinking water supplies, basic sanitation or public transport.

Globally, cities are fast becoming sources of growing environmental degradation. An estimated 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from cities and more than 70 per cent of energy is consumed in urban areas. This places cities at the forefront of the climate change agenda. In both developed and developing countries, cities are also responsible for increased water consumption, air pollution, congestion and wastes. Looking ahead, some 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, with the urbanization occurring largely in developing countries, compounding their urban development challenges.

These challenges notwithstanding, cities are often centres of commerce, education and scientific and technological innovations, driving economic growth, creating jobs, and enriching our social and cultural fabric. Promoting sustainable cities and sustainable urbanization will therefore be essential to poverty reduction and to a sustainable future.

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders recognized the importance of sustainable cities and sustainable urbanization. They reaffirmed that cities, if well planned and developed, including through integrated planning and management approaches, can promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies. In this regard, they recognized the need for a holistic approach to urban development and human settlements that provides for affordable housing and infrastructure and prioritizes slum upgrading and urban regeneration mobility. They further recognized the need for conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of cities, as well as the importance of the revitalization of historic districts and the rehabilitation of city centres.

At Rio, world leaders further committed themselves to promoting sustainable development policies that support inclusive housing and social services; a safe and healthy living environment for all; affordable and sustainable transport and energy; promotion, protection and restoration of safe and green urban spaces; safe and clean drinking water and sanitation; healthy air quality; generation of decent jobs; and improved urban planning and slum upgrading. They underlined the importance of considering disaster risk reduction, resilience and climate risks in urban planning and the efforts of cities to balance development with rural regions.

Read more in the Aide Memoire on the right side of this page.
Statements & Presentations

Number of statements/presentations: 33

Opening Session
Mr. Wu Hongbo
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Mr. Esala Teleni
Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji to the People’s Republic of China
Mr. Xie Zhengyi
Party Secretary of Yangzhou Municipal CPC Committee, Jiangsu Province, Municipal Government of Yangzhou, China
Keynote Speakers
Dr. The Honourable Abu Twalib Kasenally
Minister of Housing and Lands, Mauritius
Mr. Steven Sabey
Country Director a.i., United Nations System in China
Thematic Session I
Mr. Rafael Tuts
Coordinator, Urban Planning and Design Branch
Ms. Seiko Kubo
Director, International Environmental Strategies Division, City of Kitakyushu, Japan
Ms. Carolina Chica Builes
Director for Regional Integration, Secretariat of Planning, City of Bogota, Columbia
Dr. Xu Tang
Director, Weather and Disaster Risk Reduction Service Department
Thematic Session II
Mr. Devendra Dongol
Director of Physical Development and Construction Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, India
Mr. Zhu Minyang
Mayor of Yangzhou, China
Dr. Hadi Sucohyono
Head of the Subdirectorate for Policy and Strategy, Directorate General of Human Settlements, Ministry of Public Works of Indonesia
Mr. Abdool Nooranee Oozeer
Senior Chief Executive, Ministry of Housing and Lands
Mr. Wang Dong
National Human Development Report Coordinator
Thematic Session III
Mr. Jose Henrique Penido Monteiro
Chief Assistant, COMLURB, Rio de Janeiro
Mr. Tobias Otieno Ogweno
Adviser on Sustainable Development, Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations, New York
Mr. Sulamaniaia Malaga
Principal Urban Management Officer, Planning and Urban Management Agency, Samoa
Thematic Session IV
Mr. Yondon-Oidov Gerelchuluun
Chief, Mayor’s Office, Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia
Mr. Jose Chong
Urban Planning and Design Specialist, Urban Planning and Design Branch
Thematic Session V
Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl
Ambassador of Austria to the People’s Republic of China
Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl
Ambassador of Austria to the People’s Republic of China
Dr. Liang Zhao
Principal of MIT and Chief Architect of Vanke Real Estate Cor.
Mr. Ralph Wahnschafft
Independent Senior Advisor - Sustainable development issues and policies
Thematic Session VI
Mr. Donovan Storey
Chief, Sustainable Urban Development Section, Environment and Development Section
Mr. Lu Haifeng
Ms. Yu Yang
Senior Research Analyst, Sustainability and Resource Productivity Practice, McKinsey & Company
Mr. Jean Le Pavec
Economic Counsellor, Embassy of France in the People’s Republic of China
Thematic Session VII
Dr. Ramli Nordin
Principal Assistant Director, Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia
Dr. Termsarp Taelakul
Expert in Policy and Planning, National Economic and Social Development Board of Thailand
Mr. Noel Kaganda
First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Tanzania to the United Nations, New York
Closing Session
Mr. Wu Hongbo
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Ms. Qi Xiaoxia
Vice Mayor of Yangzhou, China
United Nations