World Cities Report Launch Opening Statement – Reza Pourvaziry

His Excellency Dr. Joan Clos, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Habitat.

Honorable Ambassador May-Elin, Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations.

Honorable Ambassadors and Delegates

Mr. Josep Roig, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Government

Dear Ladies and Gentleman,

I am honoured and proud that International City Leaders has actively participated in the successful completion of the World Cities Report, UN-Habitat flagship report.

It is an honour and a pleasure to be here at the Ford Foundation for the launching of this important Report that is also very timely with regards to the overall process of Habitat III preparations and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We appreciate Dr. Clos report team, and the colleagues, contributors and authors for their dedicated efforts in producing the vast amount of knowledge on urbanization and development that has assisted in the preparation of such a significant report.

The urbanization process in our contemporary world has many complex dimensions and it is subject to regional specificity and constant change. Although we try to understand trends and anticipate emerging issues, we are still faced with unexpected issues that prove us, once again, that timely and accurate information is needed to understand how and when to intervene to ensure that cities become more sustainable.

This Report contributes to disseminate knowledge and policy positions that are needed to ensure that urbanization brings benefits to all inhabitants in small or big cities. It shows that urbanization is strongly connected to progress and advance, but different dynamics attempt to concentrate these benefits in few hands.

The need of better information and knowledge as part of the Data Revolution can prevent that no one is left behind and no part of the city is overlooked or marginalized. The plea of this Report for inclusion is critical to advance a human rights agenda.

It is imperative that we address urbanization, ensuring that cities are better planned and governed, and this detailed report can play a key role in informing effective strategies taken by International City Leaders.

We must create innovative and interactive mechanisms to identify the areas of improvement and success at local level that can be scaled up at the global scale. We must provide the tools necessary to begin a global movement towards prosperous cities. We really need to use effective technology to collect relevant, up-to-date data, and analyze this data in a way that will produce the most accurate results. In today’s society it is crucial to engage with social media, in order to communicate the results with our target audience. We are very pleased to know that several journalists ar present in this important event.

I believe our efforts to identify and find real solutions to contemporary urban issues has not being optimal. In order to understand the extent of the problem and to move forward in a more consistent path, we need to engage in a dialogue with local governments, stakeholders, and decision makers, to encourage them to invest the resources necessary to address the problems in our cities. This is our fundamental duty.

Through this collaboration with UN-Habitat, I believe we have identified the responsibility of engaging with city leaders and are communicating this through the World Cities Report.

At International City Leaders, we are establishing a global campaign to promote and discuss the World Cities Report 2016.  It is through this initiative that we will present and engage, in various world cities, and with key urban leaders on the various challenges.

I hope we can move forward to realize the Sustainable Development Goals through the New Urban Agenda, for which we are excited to see be presented during Habitat III this coming October. We hope this Report can inspire policies and ideas to be integrated in the final report of Habitat III.

I am also proud to announce that we will launch the World Cities Report in the near future in Ottawa, which will be hosted at the Parliamentary of Canada.

International City Leaders is partnering with the most important organizations and local and national governments in the world that are committed to advance a sustainable urban development agenda. Today the presentation of this Report is part of this on-going process and we thank you for this opportunity.