View of Naples from the Castello St Elmo. [shutterstock]


Nairobi-based administrators of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign have launched a new Manifesto for Cities during the 2012 World Urban Forum in Naples.

Prepared with input from leaders of diverse member groups of the World Urban Campaign steering committee, the multilingual document clarifies 15 statements and goals; in summary:

  • We affirm that urbanisation is inevitable.
  • We acknowledge the increasing dominance of urban space.
  • We recognise that the current models of urbanisation are socially, economically and environmentally unsustainable.
  • We assert that urbanisation is a positive force to be harnessed in support of social equality, cultural vitality, economic prosperity and ecological security.
  • We further recognise the ever-changing dynamics and the diversity of cities.
  • We believe that the battle for a more sustainable future will be won or lost in cities.
  • We advocate a Global Urban Agenda that envisions equitable, resilient, liveable, creative and productive cities.
  • We call for strong partnerships, Habitat Agenda Partners, to craft and implement a Global Urban Agenda.
  • We know that strong partnerships involve City Changers. [Note: ‘I’m a City Changer’ is a new World Urban Campaign promotion aimed to ignite positive actions and ventures from socially entrepreneurial citizens.]
  • We declare ourselves City Changers. We commit to take action and change cities for a better urban world. We will help craft a new Global Urban Agenda according to the following principles/building blocks:
    • Accessible land, infrastructure, services, mobility and housing;
    • Socially inclusive, gender-sensitive, healthy and safe development;
    • Environmentally sound and carbon-efficient built environment;
    • Participatory planning and decision-making;
    • Vibrant, creative and competitive local economies promoting decent work and livelihoods;
    • Assurance of non-discrimination and equal rights to the city;
    • Empowering cities and communities to plan for and efficiently manage diversity and change.
  • We invite all Habitat Agenda partners to join forces and participate as equal partners.
  • We call upon national and local governments to work together to plan frameworks for a sustainable, equitable urban future.
  • We call upon the international community to build upon The Future We Want commitments adopted at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development 2012.
  • We call upon the international community to built upon the positive experience of the Habitat II conference and adopt an open and inclusive Habitat III (2016) conference, including its preparatory processes.

Dr Joan Clos, Director General of UN-Habitat. Sketch by ‘Paul’, a robot programmed by London computer artist Patrick Tresset with Frederic Fol Leymarie.

UN-Habitat’s Director General, Dr Joan Clos, launched the latest meeting of the World Urban Campaign steering committee by commending ‘new strength and refreshment’ among UN-Habitat’s staff, the strong advancement of the campaign, and a commitment to helping clarify ‘the human agenda for the rest of the 21st century’.

He announced two new advocacy agendas for UN-Habitat: persuading UN members to develop national urban policies and encouraging their city governments to administer well-planned extensions to their urban developments.

Read the Manifesto for Cities here.