FIG at the 3rd World Urban Forum

Vancouver, Canada 18-23 June 2006

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Vancouver Congress and Exhibition Centre offered the venue for the 3rd World Urban Forum.


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President Holger Magel together with Mrs. Anna Tabaijuka and Mr. Lars Reutersward (right) and Mr. Bengt Kjellson and Ms. Ann Jennervik from Sweden to discuss FIG and UN-Habitat co-operation at the FIG 2008 in Stockholm.

The 3rd Session of the World Urban Forum attracted some 10,000 participants from over 100 countries to Vancouver, Canada 18-23 June 2006. This was more than double to the previous meeting in Barcelona and more than 2,000 more than expected by the organisers. Especially number of participants representing professionals, academia and NGOs and grass root organisations exceeded the estimates. The meeting paved the way for a new drive forward on the international urban agenda in a world of rapidly growing cities. Just as the Habitat I Conference in Vancouver in 1976 placed local community concerns on the international agenda and highlighted the critical importance of inclusiveness, the Forum in Vancouver, 30 years later, lived up to its promise of moving ideas to action. The meeting symbolized inclusiveness, with balanced participation from public, private and civil society sectors. Compared to previous sessions of the Forum, there was a notable increase in private sector participation.

This time, it was from Vancouver that a new message resonated: the urban population of developing countries is set to double from 2 to 4 billion in the next 30 years. In the same time span, the developed world's urban population is projected to rise by only 11 percent.

The quest for innovative ideas and practical solutions was underscored in the six Dialogues, 13 Roundtables and more than 160 Networking Events.

Key points of agreement to emerge from the Third Session of the World Urban Forum in Vancouver 2006 were:

  • The need for all urban players – citizens, local governments, state and provincial governments, national governments, the private sector and civil society organizations – to work harder to solve urban problems and challenges. There was widespread agreement that they all must do their part, rather than simply transfer responsibility to others.
  • That risk-taking and the pursuit of innovation must characterise municipal leadership if cities are to achieve sustainable development. Vancouver's example in taking the lead in such areas as air and water quality, public transit and planning was mentioned often in this context.
  • Agreement that appropriate engagements, partnerships and relationships need to be built in an inclusive manner to better understand challenges and develop practical solutions. Participants from many parts of the world presented examples that can serve as guideposts for these strategies.
  • The importance of transparency and accountability. Citizens need to be informed of challenges and steps taken by governments to address them. Transparency goes hand-in-hand with accountability, which speeds up the process of enhancing actions that work and curtailing those that do not work.

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FIG was represented in the World Urban Forum by delegation led by President Holger Magel. Other representatives of FIG included Vice President Ken Allred, Ms. Jenny Whittal (South Africa) and the FIG Director, also some other actives from FIG participated the conference and its preparations. Preparatory meeting included the FIG Commission 7 organised Expert Group Meeting in Bangkok and Global Land Tool Network in 2005.

President Magel represented in two sessions organised by UN-Habitat on the Global Land Tool Network. The first session was a Networking Event on the GLTN - Development of pro poor land tools. FIG is one of the main professional partners of UN-Habitat on this major initiative for the next few years. The GLTN was officially launched after this session by the newly appointed Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Mrs. Inga Björk-Klevby. The GLTN Network has been mobilised by Dr. Clarissa Augustinus and Mr. Ulrik Westman. Read more about GLTN at

The Global Division of UN-Habitat organised also a round table on gendering land tools. This session was opened by Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-Habitat. FIG's contributions were made by President Magel and Ms. Jenny Whittal. The focal point for the Gendering Land Tools is Dr. Siraj Sait.

The third major event for FIG during the week was the Networking Event organised by the Habitat Professionals Forum. This event "Public Engagement: The Inclusive Approach" was attended by more than 100 delegates, so that the room was overcrowded and some delegates had to sit on the floor. At this two-hour session five presentations were made. The facilitator of the session was Prof. Magel, Chair of the Habitat Professionals Forum. Speakers were Dr. Irene Wiese - von Ofen (IFHP), Prof. Matthias Reichenbach-Klinke, Prof. James R. Taylor (IFLA), Ms. Christine Platt (SAPI) and Mr. Selman Ergüden (UN-Habitat). read more about this session on web site:

During the WUF there was also the meeting of the Steering Committee of the Habitat Professionals Forum. At this meeting future activities including participation to the 20th Meeting of the Governing Council in 2007 and at the 4th World Urban Forum in Nanjing, China in 2008 were discussed.

During the conference also the initiative of organising a joint FIG / UN-Habitat Seminar in Stockholm in conjunction to the FIG Working Week 2008 was launched. This event and initiative has been prepared between Sweden Government, the Swedish FIG member association SLF and FIG, especially commission 9. It will focus on slum upgrading and the importance of financial mechanisms. FIG will consider how to link this initiative to the other joint activities with UN-Habitat. At the meeting with Executive Director Tibaijuka and Director Lars Reutersward full support from UN-Habitat was confirmed to this project. The focal points for this project are Lars Magnusson, Bengt Kjellson and Ann Jennervik from Sweden.

Presentations of the FIG representatives:

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