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Polish city, Katowice to host world urban forum in 2022

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The World Urban Forum (WUF), the premier global conference on sustainable urbanisation – WUF11 will be held in the Polish city of Katowice next year.

This is the first time that WUF, convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), will hold in Eastern Europe.

The WUF was established in 2001 by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. The first WUF was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002 and has been held around the world ever since.

Representatives of governments, academics, business people, community leaders and urban planners will be among the thousands of people expected to attend WUF11, which is co-organised by Poland’s Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, the Municipal Office of Katowice.

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The Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Maimunah Mohd Sharif, said, “WUF11 is an opportunity for Poland to demonstrate to the world community its own commitment to achieving a sustainable urban future.

“Katowice is a wonderful example of urban regeneration, and I hope we can build on these examples and leadership to share a wide range of global experience in 2022, creating inclusive, prosperous cities with opportunities for all.”

The theme of WUF11, ‘Transforming our Cities for a Better Urban Future’, will provide greater insights and clarity on the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as suggest ways cities can be better prepared to address future pandemics and a wide range of other shocks.

The long-term prospects point to a world that will continue to urbanise over the next decade— from 56 per cent of the world’s population living in cities today, to 60 per cent by 2030. Urban areas are the engines, which will absorb virtually all the future growth of the world’s population.

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“Every region is expected to become more urbanised in the next 10 years. Clearly, this tells us that the future of humanity is undeniably urban, and we must plan our cities well to ensure sustainability, equity and shared prosperity.”

The Coronavirus pandemic is a stark reminder that urban areas need to be prepared for a dynamic and unpredictable future. COVID-19 clearly exposed the existing challenges that cities face, and their vulnerability to shocks. But each region and each country saw differences in these challenges and these vulnerabilities. The future of cities is “plural”, and we must consider these differences as potential strengths, unpack regional differences, learn together, and adapt urban models accordingly.

The theme of WUF11 will focus on these questions, providing us with the opportunity to anticipate change, course-correct, and become more knowledgeable about the different possibilities that the future of cities offers.

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