The eleventh session of World Urban Forum (WUF), organized by UN Habitat every two years, was held in Katowice, Poland, on 26-30 June 2022, with the motto “Transforming our cities for a better urban future”.
UCLG-MEWA and its members actively participated in many sessions at WUF, which was held as a hybrid for the first time. UCLG-MEWA took part in the Advisory Board of the Forum, representing the “Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments”.
Hosting over 10 thousand online and physical participants, the event started with the joint opening of various assemblies on 26 June. Speaking at the opening, Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of UN Habitat, thanked all cities and communities for their success in implementing the New Urban Agenda. In her opening speech, UCLG Secretary General Emilia Saiz stated that cities have to reconsider their relationship with people, the environment and governing. In the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, which took place in the afternoon and attended by UCLG-MEWA; local leaders, network representatives and civil society came together to address the problems of cities from both New Urban Agenda and peacebuilding perspectives.
The official opening of the Forum took place with a ceremony on 27 June. At the ceremony, besides Maimunah Sharif, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak from the Polish Ministry of Investment and Economic Development, Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice, and –who was the President of UCLG together with Konya Metropolitan Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay – Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener, delivered a speech. The event, which continued for five days, witnessed many simultaneous panels, workshops and trainings. In the exhibition section of the event, organizations, cities and countries hosted the participants at their stands and pavilions.
Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, took part as a speaker in two different sessions within the scope of the Forum. In his opening speech at the “State of Arab Cities” panel held on 27 June, Duman discussed the efforts for Voluntary Local Reviews in the region and stated that the cooperation between UCLG-MEWA, UN Habitat ROAS and UN ESCWA strengthens the sustainable development agenda in Arab cities. Speaking at the “People with Disabilities Round Table” on 28 June, Mehmet Duman emphasized that access to urban areas should not be a privilege, local governments have a responsibility in this regard, and that UCLG-MEWA continued its efforts in this direction with the Workshop on Accessible Tourism held in Kyrenia last year.
UCLG-MEWA members also had a busy schedule during the event. Fatma Şahin, Mayor of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality and President of the Union of Municipalities of Turkey; took part as a speaker at the sessions of “Human Development and Peace Building”, “Priorities Under Pressure”, “Towards Improved Urban Migration Management”, “Women-Led Businesses Supporting Women-Led Cities” and “Shaping a Fair Urban Future” and shared Gaziantep’s practices with the world. Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Yücel Yılmaz participated in the panel on environment and shared Balıkesir’s vision. Marmara Municipalities Union (MBB) met with the participants with its stand in the fair area.
World Urban Forum came to an end with the closing ceremony held on 30 June. Cairo, the capital of Egypt, will host the 12th World City Forum in 2024.
You can find photos of the event HERE.