From 26 to 30 June 2022, France took part in the 11th session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11), organized in Katowice, Poland by UN-Habitat. WUF11 brought together 17,000 participants from 155 countries. It is the largest global high-level conference on urban development and has taken place every 2 years since 2002. This year’s theme was “Transforming our cities for a better urban future”, a key challenge of the 2030 Agenda.
The World Urban Forum generates momentum for the implementation of international commitments to sustainable urban development through dissemination and sharing of collective knowledge, as well as by encouraging international cooperation. The Forum has the advantage of bringing together different types of stakeholders, including all entities involved in urban development: national and local government, civil society, the private sector and academia.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, at the opening of the World Urban Forum ©UN-Habitat
Governance of urban areas is a crucial aspect of sustainable development. By 2050, more than 68% of humankind will live in cities, and 95% of future urban growth will take place in development countries, primarily in Africa and Asia.
The swift growth of cities has consequences for social, economic, public health and environmental balances worldwide. Extensive urban growth has a major ecological footprint as cities consume 70% of the world’s energy and account for 70% of its greenhouse gas emissions.
France is a leading international actor in promoting and implementing sustainable urban development. It was a fervent advocate of the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III conference in 2016 and for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 (FR)on sustainable cities. Through its official development assistance, France has committed €3 billion to sustainable cities since 2019, including €1 billion for African cities.
True to its commitments, France made significant efforts to ensure the success of WUF11. France was one of the four best-represented States at the forum, with a delegation of 120 people, including representatives of ministries, local government, the private sector, NGOs and academia, illustrating the diversity of French expertise. Several “youth ambassadors for the environment” also joined the French delegation, ensuring the views of young people were taken into account to conceive and build tomorrow’s sustainable cities.
Around 30 events at the French Pavilion helped foster sharing of experiences and best practices and showcase French expertise.
At multilateral level, France is committed to continuing its support for UN-Habitat when it comes to smart, inclusive cities. Digital technologies are a fundamental in optimizing sustainable urban development and should be used appropriately to guarantee inclusiveness and respect for human rights . France will continue this commitment.
Inauguration of the French Pavilion ©MEAE
The crises the world has seen in the last two years have highlighted new challenges for tomorrow’s sustainable cities. The war in Ukraine demonstrates the importance of shaping resilient cities capable of taking people in and rebuilding. The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the crucial role of local authorities in delivering essential services for populations and the putting health back at the top of the agenda.
In light of this context, an Extraordinary Dialogue on Urban Crisis Response and Recovery deepened thinking and discussions around tools to help bolster cities’ resilience and reconstruction following crises.
Find out more about France’s action to support sustainable cities: (PDF (FR) - 1.9 Mo)