“You must start acting as soon as you return home!” Katowice’s Mayor Marcin Krupa added a sense of urgency to the discussions on the last day of WUF11 encouraging participants to use what they have learned to spark sustainable urban transformations in their home cities. The Forum’s final sessions provided ample opportunities to do so.
The Special Session on People-Centered and Green Technology and Innovation focused on how smart cities can generate inclusive change, with speakers underlining how local governments could use new international guidelines in the matter. The Dialogue on Greener Urban Futures addressed synergies between the urban and climate global agendas, and highlighted cities’ key role in meeting climate targets.
Trade Union and Workers Roundtable participants called for re-municipalizing services that have been privatized, including health care, highlighted core principles of just transition, and emphasized that unions should be “systematically” included in the UN-Habitat processes.
During the Dialogue on Transforming Cities Through Innovative Solutions and Technologies, panelists stressed the importance of: closing digital divides, including divides affecting people with disabilities; putting people, rather than technology first; establishing technology standards and ethical decision making; and aligning technology with cultural identities.
The Civil Society and Grassroots Organizations Roundtable featured speakers with long histories in community organization and grassroots work. They spoke of their experiences with the shrinking space for grassroots organizations, but highlighted WUF as an opportunity to reflect on what more can be done, including how to “kick open the doors” for others too. Themes of partnership, capacity building, co-creation, and action featured heavily among the discussions.