Phase IV: Cities, Pollution, Health Nexus

13 Nov - 4 Dec 2017
Go back to UN Environment Management Group Nexus Dialogues

Published on 25 April 2017 in UN Environment Management Group Nexus Dialogues

Welcome to Phase IV of the Nexus Dialogues. We look forward to hearing your inputs on the questions below.

Question 1:

Given the population dynamics of this century, urban communities will to be at the forefront and key to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The New Urban Agenda launched at the Habitat 3 conference has laid the ground for partnerships within SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). The upcoming 3rd UN Environment Assembly will gather ministers of environment of the world to focus on combating pollution. Agencies have long since identified plenty of opportunities at the local level and with local authorities to address rampant pollution and achieve environmental sustainability. However this is not a straight forward exercise.

What are the inter-linkages between the urban and health agendas for Sustainable Development?

Question 2:

Enriched by unprecedented e-discussions launched by UN Environment in partnership with WHO and hosted by UNDP, the UNEP-WHO joint report Healthy Environment, Healthy People served as the policy bedrock for the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). This report highlighted the link between environmental degradation and health outcomes. It is clear that pollution is severely detrimental to ecosystems and human health. Cities are the core of this nexus, and it is at the local level that action will need to be taken to address this growing problem. 

How can we integrate urban and health policies to combat pollution and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

Question 3:

The pollution/health/cities nexus in practice - there are numerous examples of collaboration and lessons learned to be found within initiatives addressing specific health, urban, or pollution outcomes. There are less examples of solutions to be found which aim to address the nexus between them or that considers all three dimensions. Your experience and knowledge is valuable.

What are some solutions that can be implemented to end pollution, improve health, and achieve environmental sustainability in cities?

Comments (24)

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

I am referring certain modern developments which are systems that are to be counted in modifying human lives of present and future citizens of world.

 

1.The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) just launched their Youth Ambassador program - can be found :https://news.globallandscapesforum.org/24593/join-glf-youth-ambassador-program/

This program is a one year long internship program (including 5 days onsite training and one year virtual mentoring), particularly geared towards youth, interested in agriculture, ecosystems and sustainable development, and with a healthy appetite for using social media professionally.

2.UNDP-;Every day, some 250,000 people around the world graduate from extreme poverty. And since 1990, we’ve cut in half the number of people who live in extreme poverty. Yet 7 out of 10 people think that poverty has only increased.
How do we change this?
Changing opinions isn’t easy, it’s hard work. But engaging people in conversation is a good starting point that can have wide-ranging impact.

That’s why we’re challenging you to change 3 people’s minds about poverty – talk to your neighbor, your family, your best friend, or even that person you bump into on the street.
Ask them whether they think poverty is increasing or decreasing around the world.
Let them know that poverty is decreasing globally – How did they react?!
We’ve put together this simple infographic for you to use, numbers that illustrate the progress we’re making.
With your help, we can change opinions.
Because poverty isn’t permanent.
YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE MINDS
United Nations Development Programme.

3.Milica Begovic <milica.begovic@undp.org>

To:RBEC Knowledge Innovation,Team Leaders IRH-Nov 8 at 6:32 PM

Life-size social #robot Sophia (created by Hanson Robotics Limited) with the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed at the UN General Assembly Second Committee and the United Nations Economic and Social Council joint meeting on "The future of everything – sustainable development in the age of rapid technological change”.Ps. Saudi Arabia is the first country to grant citizenship to a robot- Sophia ‘herself’

4.A futuristic vision of Big Brother out of control? No, it's already getting underway in China, where the government is developing the Social Credit System (SCS) to rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/chinese-government-social-credit-score-privacy-invasion Milica Begovic, PhD,Knowledge and Innovation Team Leade

5.WNN Daily: 13 November 2017 'Anti-nuclear' Germany is Europe's biggest GHG emitter
Germany's Energiewende policy has made things worse for the climate by shutting down carbon-free nuclear capacity and locking in the dependency on coal burning for decades, despite hundreds of billions in investments and subsidy-schemes. This is the conclusion of the European Climate Leadership Report 2017, Measuring the Metrics that Matter published last week in Bonn, Germany, at Conference of the Parties 23 by the NGO Energy for Humanity.

Where do India ‘largest human chain owner’ along with its neighbor “sisters and brothers” who also carry ‘exorbitant population density on land’ are still looking in to sky to avoid the use of coal boilers for power generation by miracle.

No concrete action is on ground to condemn the old air conditioners,old cars,and old electrical items and old electrical illumination systems.

On ground no specific action to spend the huge monies or assets owned in their name or in other ownership[Benami].Such monies are not spent for Renovation and borrowing new technology for use by the society.Thus blocking the air with unwanted gases.In a sense the unknown factors of business are blocking the investors from making investments in to new technologies.

There is a an unplanned system,implemented from 1980 on wards,the teaching of public health and Sanitation were almost closed in the name of Environmental Engineering .

This led to poor understanding on the part of well educated Engineers and professionals.

The system is leaving huge gap in dealing with ‘huge urban generated’ ‘waste waters’ and thousands of ‘tonnes of urban garbage dumping’ across leading to many including mosquito borne diseases and many contamination of water bodies.

Sanitation for such huge cities is around 50% or less than half of what is wanted,or can be done.

6. several parts of India are in the grip of severe dengue outbreaks, a team of researchers has found clues to why the mosquito-borne disease might be spreading across the country faster than before.

The answer lies in increased temperatures, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.

A rise in temperature results in a shorter “extrinsic incubation period” or EIP, which is the time required for the virus to develop in the mosquito, the study by scientists from Hyderabad, Guwahati, and Liverpool shows.

A shorter incubation period leads to higher transmission rates of dengue infection in a community, the authors said.
India’s mean temperature rose by more than 0.5 degree celsius between 1960 and 2009 as a result of several environmental factors, including climate change. William Brieger MPH, CHES, DrPH (Atunluse of Idere, Otun Ba'asegun of Igbo-Ora)
malaria updates twitter: bbbrieger
Tropical Health Blog: http://malariamatters.org/

7.https://blog.f1000.com/2017/11/08/you-are-what-you-eat-detecting-diseases-carried-by-mosquitoes/

Gates Open Research, a new publication platform for grantees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has published its first articles this week. One of the first articles to be published there is by Lisa Reimer and colleagues and is now awaiting peer review.

Here, she describes their work in monitoring pathogens present in mosquitoes from their feces captured using a superhydrophobic cone and why they chose to publish on Gates Open Research.

With emerging and resurgent vector-borne diseases threatening the health of people around the world, we are exploring novel approaches to support low-cost, sensitive disease surveillance.

William Brieger MPH, CHES, DrPH, malaria updates twitter: bbbrieger
Tropical Health Blog: http://malariamatters.org/

We have to change our use of water for irrigation/agriculture to meet the global climate changes[as per our discussions at GACSC][The paper written by meon Irrigation is with them]

Finally my Conclusions- are below---

Thefinal step-The world employed agencies with randomly developed systems of grading for nations,which generally falls behind the human development index.

The systems adopted are at least 15 years old and do not match to the present day or future requirement.

An example is still we value a Doctor as a public health professional and do not recognition the field engineer to dispose the waste and waste water as an important person,and so the workers employed under doctors for various deeds are never counted [forget about their efficiency]to rate a country.This is also same case with the world bank ranking on property holdings,with out making a mention of sewage and garbage/night soil disposal systems.

Please do ask countries to validate public health/sanitary sewage/night soil systems a paramount necessity,along with preserving the eco systems by adding more carbon free energy and transport systems to protect the health of the citizens.Wish the small modular reactors will be ready in a few years to help the planners of urban systems.

Save water/change food systems,conserve food and water.Treat waste water.The list is enourmous.But not enless

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Not Thank you, Saripalli, for your anguishing post. I read, in between the lines, your anguish about the situation in India vis-à-vis the pollution/health/cities nexus. 

Energy - is the driving engine of "progress." Coal the easily available source of energy, is the biggest polluter in India, by all accounts.  If we look at this problem from the "village" perspective you will the nexus - bad health due to pollution.

Not only the failure to rein in, but a deliberate and willing collaboration and promotion by the government of the coal industry in India is unconscionable. 

For the purposes of productive discussion on this topic I would like to invite for participants to focus on case studies. It is easy to be engaged in a macro-level conversation; however, I think, a micro- level focus will be much more engaging and bring the message home, rather than just being an academic exercise. 

 

 

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Ayush Garg • Planning Consultant at MPPRDD from India

3. In order to obtain a positive results by the end users, it was very much needed to change citizen behaviour and perspective towards sustainability and sustainable development. Which cannot be done overnight, it requires educating them even the most educated and show them the advantage they will get in terms of living conditions, environment, health, economy etc. through which, they can relate their benefits.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Mr.Garg it is wonderful that we find same views on item  3.I find you are working on rual Development agencies of Madhya Predesh.Bhopal is really a nice city.It is also getting effected by the burning of organic waste,left out of extract of wheat in Haryana and Punjab.So also the near by local rural areas.The present government in its directive to AICTE and all such bodies have asked to keep the Engineering graduates and others on apprentice at Rural areas so that they really understand the needs and look for solutions.In near next two three years we shall be sure at least each village shall have some doctor/engineer/technicians/and of course the teachers.We do really prey that the village social leaders come to terms with changing times and encourage the citizens not to burn the crop waste and convert it in to bio-fertilizer.Also Methane gas pipeline supply is starting in USA,and hope Indian states organise to make such healthy systems and avoid open excreting practices.

The present governments are also restricting people use of coal stoves for cooking and supplying gas to rural areas.With that lots of habitual systems may vanish.But from our part we have to look to condem the use of out dated electric bulbs,out dated coolers,air conditioners and refrigerators.Also out dated vehicles and some of 7-10 years old public transport[emitting large carbon dioxide] need to be advocated for taking out of roads.

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Glad to know, as Saripilli indicates, that at least in Bhopal some action is being taken, However, if you go down south to Goa, you will find just the opposite, where the coal miners are having hey day with full support of the Government - and all that in the name of PROGRESS.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

I like to state here,normally i live in Hyderabad,but to attend the apprentice requirements of final year engineering graduates,our Engineering council  of India[i am a member of it,and had an invitation]hosted a seminar-15 th national conference on preparing engineers for role in Industry with a supporting organisation,All India Council For Technical Education[they look after the syllabus curriculum and fit out of the pass out students in engineering-and this yearly number in India is around 1 million a year].I started on 8 th and luckily at 12 noon our flight landed at Delhi.On 9 th it was worse smog,I travelled to offices,and found this year smog is bad.On 10 th it was some what better.On 11 th morning i started to Agra by car and by 4-30 PM darkness was descending and came back to Delhi after seeing the Tajmahal. 12 th we were lucky our airlines could fly us back to Hyderabad.Two years back in 2015 i was unlucky and could not travel much at the same time.But papers and news have shown that this year smog/air ladden smoke, is very high.

 

yahya msangi
YAHYA MSANGI • TECHNICAL ADVISER - SUSTDEV, CLIMATE CHANGE & CHEMICAL SAFETY at WELFARE TOGO from Togo

Response to Q1 What are the linkages between urban and health agendas under SD

The linkages are:

1. Population dynamics e.g. high concentration of people, high rates of immigration and emmigration in and out of cities, high rates of air, soil and water due to industrialization and high consumption rates of different goods and services.

2. Enclosed living by this I mean there is little open space to allow proper circulation of air or city dwellers are forced to close their windows and doors and use air conditioning systems. This has a huge implication on health.

3. High cost of health services in an urban setting which is caused by various factors e.g. high operation costs in an urban setting

4. Availability of proper or adequate housing, waste disposal services, good city planning. These have implications on health.

5. Presence of certain services in urban areas e.g. airports, landfills, slaughter houses, mortuary, etc have impact on health.

Response to Q2 How can we integrate urban and health policies to combat pollution and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

The intergration should start at school level. There must be a curriculum that integrate urban and health planning. If the mind is not integrated to fully understand the linkage between urban and health planning it will be extremely difficult to intergrate issues at the implmentation level. City administrations should work together with key ministries particularly ministries of health, environment, industrial development and infrastrucure in planning urban centres. WHO should provide guidance to National Governments.

Response to Q 3: What are some solutions that can be implemented to end pollution, improve health, and achieve environmental sustainability in cities?

First is to identify all the sources of pollution in an urban area. In doing so experts from line ministries must be involved. For example urban agriculture, city transport, manufacturing, waste disposal etc contribute to urban pollution. There should be a mapping of all sources and quantification of pollutions. Than an integrated approach based on the concept of Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste (SMCW) under the SAICM process should be applied. There should also be concrete public education programs to sensitize the urban population. Involvement of all stakeholders including CSOs and Industry is needed. National quality standards are needed. New investors must be required to observe these standards and to submit an Urban Health Impact Assessment in addition to other assessments e..g EIA (Environmentam Impact Assssement) and SIA (Social Impact Assessment). 

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

Yes you are right.The systematic changes in lives with the Auto and mechanical revolution has made certain living conditions uneasy.Many areas have become old parts of a city,and neglect starts.

What happens with the new inventions of say helicopters and say a flying car etc,we shall be able to imagine to develop a city to stand for next 100 years.

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Thanks, Yahya. The 5 linkages you have identified in response to Q1 are right on the spot. I would like to invite further discussion on these linkages. It will be helpful to see how in different regions these linkages tend to unfold.

yahya msangi
YAHYA MSANGI • TECHNICAL ADVISER - SUSTDEV, CLIMATE CHANGE & CHEMICAL SAFETY at WELFARE TOGO from Togo

Basillo, thanks. We can discuss this further and learn from others too

Elif Yasemin Azaz • Volunteer at Architecture For All Association of Turkey from Turkey

In my opinion, the urban environment and health connection is too much important that resolutions focused on this connection will be the solutions of many problems related to urban areas, natural areas, environment and problems caused by humans, humans' inattention.

In addition, the urban, environment and health must not be considered separately as terms, too. I suggest the combination of these terms; the urban health and the environment health to be considered as main terms for environment management and environmental works. Therefore, clinical definitons could be made, clinical resolutions could be found and clinical solutions could be achieved. I see the clinical refinement vital for environment management and environmental works.

Juan E. Chebly • Lead Adviser at UN Environment at UN Environment Programme from Venezuela

Dear Elif, 

You make good points here. For sure this e-discussion is not attempting to silo or separate urban issues, from health issues, and environmental sustainability. On the contrary. What we are looking for are examples of how the three intersect. We are also looking for practical solutions or case studies which show an integral approach to policy or development which focus or incorporate the three. These solutions will be fed into the UN Environment Assembly during the 4 Nexus Dialogue event hosted by the UN Environment Management Group. 

Cheers,

Juan

Elif Yasemin Azaz • Volunteer at Architecture For All Association of Turkey from Turkey

Juan, thank you. My suggestion of combination of the terms like 'the urban health' and 'the environment health' would lead to a more sensitive, sustainable and continious approach for the urban and the environment themselves. Because, it makes the environment or the urban 'the subject' of all the works related to them, therefore it provides all the works to be effective more directly. Also I think this is a more serious approach.

The language of the works is so important that it would change the professional's and the people's perception for the better and maybe the best. My perception of environmental works so far has been like doing environmental works for environmental good. But if you do environmental works for the environment itself, this would be the direct effort to protect and sustain the environment and would lead to better resolutions, solutions. I think there is difference in saying 'I do environmental works (or environment management)' and 'I work for the environment health'. The latter is more effective for one's perception.

I don't have case based experience, but what I say is very important and I didn't want to skip it.

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

All my friends have expressed about migration.The migration is three or four types.[1]Migrating to Urban areas,or clusters for the need of transport,education[for children]and finding what ever possible employment.Also finding reasonable food systems ,of various types at reasonable costs.Reasonable modest houses with modest developments available at suburban areas.[2]Migrating far away from places of birth,either due to shortage of jobs in his field,or has very high education,but with in ones own country.[3]Migrating to other countries by paying one way or other reasonable fees,either by way of admission charges to an education center,anticipating jobs/settlements in that country.[This in fact is the problem faced by many developed countries including the US].Even the OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING PROGRAMME OF 36 MONTHS is considered a boon to retrive the investments made for education in US.Thus most of the countries the Migration has completed before first world war,but still trying to keep its citizens on tender hooks they call out side persons to their educational institutes.[4]The persons who have lost everything out of clashes or war,migration for livilihood is imminent.

Here i would not use on all the migration patterns the word ,"Human Rights".But would definitely say that the executives overlook ground realities[do not ascertain such]and create future problematic children for society and country.

One of such is when persons are migrating they need to look"FAMILY'as block and not women and children separate,leaving the male companion who has to look after their well being. 

The resultant of these migrations is the unexpected urbanization. Some may have space,some may be congested.The executives may forget the country planning for years conviniently.What ever the hind sight falls back on the human lives.

I further add the new technologies we are using,GIS,Geo-tagging of houses for a better planning of not only taxation and users,but also consumption of electricity,water,gas,Road use,and transport systems.These are the essential tools in town planning.The density/the vacant-or easy money transaction houses[I read in Guardian,UK,about plenty of houses in London,whose ownership could not be established[they pay taxes and people stay rarely in a years][this was also same in Grenfell Tower][now it is same in many cities in India]- and the needs to be controlled and regulated. 

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Rachael Kupka • Director at Pure Earth / Global Alliance on Health and Pollution from United States

Findings from the recently published Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health points out that cities, especially rapidly growing ones, are the most affected by toxic pollution. As hubs of economic activity, construction, industry, traffic, consumption, large populations in urban areas are exposed to multiple types of pollution, the most visible of which is outdoor air pollution.  The poor are particularly at risk. Rising demands for housing in urban areas due to rapid urbanization has led to informal settlements (shantytowns, favelas) in contaminated areas in many countries, including abandoned industrial sites. Currently, around one third of the world's urban population lives in slums, where basic infrastructure and services are lacking and where inhabitants are exposed to environmental health risks, including uncontrolled dumpsites, landfills, incinerators, contaminated sites from defunct and active industry, and other "toxic hotspots" that emit and release hazardous chemicals. 

The Lancet report notes that a majority of the pollution control strategies that have been well tested and proven effective in higher income countries can be adapted by cities. Solutions such as the remediation of contaminated land in urban areas (i.e. brownfields development, or urban redevelopment plans) can lead to reclamation of land and restore and increase access to valuable resources such as land and waterways. Many cities, such as Montevideo, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, are concerned with pollution, and see value in pollution prevention and remediation. Remediation can help not only mitigate current and avoid future toxic health exposures, but will also help alleviate immediate short-term and longer-term housing needs.

Cities such as Montevideo are taking action to reduce pollution. In partnership with the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, the City of Montevideo successfully identified and remediated some of the worst toxic hotspots in the city caused by the burning of electronic trash and electrical cables. The burning, undertaken by low income earners, were releasing lead, heavy metals and other toxics into the air and soil, causing significant health risks to 15,000 local residents.  

Pure Earth and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution have dozens of examples where we are working with city governments, communities and other stakeholders to implement cost-effective solutions to reduce pollution in urban areas, from remediating lead contaminated soil from unsafe informal used lead acid battery recycling in cities such as Dakar, Senegal, Haina Dominican Republic, to Tegal, Indonesia, as well as mercury, chromium and other heavy metals in cities all around the world, to helping e-waste recyclers to convert to safer practices in Accra, Ghana.  http://www.pureearth.org/projects/completed-projects/ 

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Rachael, it is wonderful to know that efforts are being made, albeit scattered attempts, by city planners and administrators to structure the planning of the cities that is healthy. I am heartened to know that so many cities in Africa are embarking on this healthy activities. 

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Monica Mhatre • Legal Consultant at Sanjeevani Foundation from India

In response to Q.3, my recommendations are as follows: 1. Education and awareness creation on a large scale is the need of the hour. 2. Education of the younger generation in schools and colleges is mandatory as they are our future. Teach them the 3 'R' s     3. In Mumbai, the municipal authorities have made it incumbent for housing societies to segregate waste for the purpose of recycling and making compost, failing which the authorities have refused to collect garbage. The only challenge here is the sprawling slums in Mumbai which makes it difficult for the govt to impose systematic waste disposal processes. 4. Segregation of waste and recycling would reduce the burning of waste. 5. Use of plastic has increased manifold. Stringent measures ought to be implemented by the govt to ban the use of plastics. 6. As per reports, altogether 17 states and union territories in India have imposed a complete ban on manufacture, sale and use of plastic carrybags. Other states should also follow suit. 7. Complete ban on the use of fire crackers as implemented in Delhi. 8. Courts to continue to take a pro active approach in directing the govt to take measures to reduce air pollution. E.g. Fire cracker ban in Delhi by the Supreme court. 9. Setting up of more waste to energy plants. 10. The buzzword today is clean energy- something that we can reap from nature.  Preference to be given to production of other forms of clean renewable energy such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal, hydro and even bio gas. 11. Adoption of the odd even rule for private vehicles as imposed in Delhi. 12. Implementation of gradual deterrents for private transport. 13. Reports suggest that the state govt. of Maharahtra plans to launch a project- walking, cycling and public transport. It involves prioritizing infrastructure development for the same. Introducing additional charges to the cost of vehicles and fixing parking charges based on location to reduce private vehicles in urban areas and boost public transport. 14. Introduce battery operated public transport buses which would result in zero emission 15. Incentivising hybrid and electric vehicles

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Thanks, Monica, for concrete examples how the state of Maharashtra in India is addressing the issue of pollution and health, where public policy seems to be the driving force of the necessary changes at the level of infrastructure. 

One of the underlying problems is the notion of PROGRESS. What is progress? The model of PROGRESS is the Western urbanization. Every country want to replicate the western model of development in the name of progress. Granted, in the new economy which is driven by knowledge and IT, metropolis -cities- become the hub where people are drawn to. Bombay (Mumbai) is a classic example where we see the "perfect storm" of wealth, poverty, pollution, and health issues, and the vertical growth of the city, which necessarily relies on energy, which pollutes. The service industry driven by ICT is city bound/confined. As long as masses of people squeeze in tight places pollution will be inevitable. It is not only the industry that pollutes the environment, but human beings pollute the environment.

 

Juan E. Chebly • Lead Adviser at UN Environment at UN Environment Programme from Venezuela

Dear colleagues,

I am sharing an interesting article pertinent to this e-discussion:

UCLG and major city and local government networks join the World Water Council to guarantee access to water for all

Five organizations have joined forces to face the global challenges related to water: (UCLG) United Cities and Local Governments, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA/UN-Habitat), the Brazilian Confederation of Municipalities (CNM) and the World Water Council (WWC). The signed Partnership Agreement seeks to gather all mayors and local representatives and will serve as an important stepping stone for the preparation and organization of the Local and Regional Authorities Conference to be held in conjunction with the World Water Forum between 18th - 23rd March 2018 in Brasilia, Brazil.

The 8th World Water Forum is the largest international meeting on water and sanitation, and is held every three years gathering governments and central ministers, local and regional elected representatives and local governments. After the last Forum held in Daegu-Gyeongju, South Korea, in April 2015, the 8th Forum will be held in Brasilia from 18 to 23 March 2018. The Forum is expected to be attended by over 30 000 participants, including global leaders, opinion makers, experts and professionals with the objective of catalysing positive change for a water-secure world.

The UCLG alliance with these organizations comes into force before the Conference of Local and Regional Authorities for the World Water Forum to be held in Brasilia on November 22. Currently 54% of the world’s population resides in urban areas, this represents a 50% increase in demand for energy and water in cities. This puts high pressure on water resources and a local challenge. Local governments lead with initiatives related to overcome these water obstacles that hinder global water security. Financing needs should therefore be centered on urban areas and infrastructure in both, urban and rural areas, this will allow local and regional governments to overcome the challenges related to water security and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

More information:

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Juan: Do you think focusing on providing water resources to city-citizens is better than re-thinking how we THINK of cities? how we PLAN and STRUCTURE cities? 

The "hutongs" of China, now on the chopping block few that are left in Beijing, is something to look at and learn how living arrangements were developed as places of power (economic, political, industrial, etc.) became the sources of livelihood/employment.

 

Juan E. Chebly • Lead Adviser at UN Environment at UN Environment Programme from Venezuela

Dear Prof. Monteiro, thanks for your provocative question and wonderful moderation. I would argue that clean water access as a human right should be an immediate top priority for policy-makers. Without clean water our citizens would not be around long to enjoy the long-term benefits of re-thinking city planning. However, that is not to say that we also simultaneously need to rethink cities and I think the Habitat 3, New Urban Agenda gives us a good framework. As you mention though, we are far from having sustainable cities and unfrotunately are still caught up on unsustainable models of development. Business as usual will not cut it in any way. 

More on my views on water: http://www.esr.ie/article/view/137

Saripalli Suryanarayana • from India

HABITAT-3 discussions were at more regional places including in to wide range of topics.The spread of each city in to regions,making the open spaces for all is an important tool,that was well accepted.This helps to arrive at probable health care, arranging economical electric power for health,house,industry transport,and for public health and sanitation.The fact that some cities have mid forest cover in each zone is encouraging but has not yielded good results.

The end problem is for all citizens,irrespective of their wealth.That is why the key to the success of health and wealth for mankind for next generation depends on their involvement,physically.Each and every one has to participate in each of such programme literally,and physically,then the SDGs results will come to fore ground.

Basilio Monteiro • Director, Institute for International Communication, St. John's University, NY, USA at Institute for International Communications - St John's University from United States Moderator

Juan, you make a good point.  The centrality of water for living organism ought to be considered as the organizing principle for any community/society. As the new economy is spawning urbanization water sources and resources become almost a footnote in urban planning. The commodification and monetization of the natural resource, the water, is being normalized, and the people have surrendered themselves to this hegemonic constructed reality.