The World Urban Forum (WUF) will be the largest event of this type, organised in Central and Eastern Europe. The 11th session of the WUF will be held in Katowice from 26th till 30th of June 2022. The forum gathers participants from all over the world. It would be an occasion to discuss and seek answers to the challenges of the present day that affect most of us – dynamically developing cities, smog, degradation of green areas, progressing globalisation or climate change.
The World Urban Forum is held every two years by the UN-Habitat – the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Last – tenth – edition took place in February 2020, in Abu Dhabi – the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The forum, which will take place in Poland, is co-organised by the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and the City Hall of Katowice. Next year's event will be held within the slogan: ‘We are changing our cities for a better future".
Not only accessible to all social groups but also healthy and safe urban space is valuable for urban dwellers. The WUF session in 2022 will take place during the time when some cities in the world, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, will be transforming into cities, which are more human-oriented. From the cities with the large number of cars, full of concrete spaces, excluding less privileged residents, to cities taking into account their needs – accessible, green, prioritising pedestrian traffic, bicycle traffic, and public transport.
The World Urban Forum is another important international event that will be organised in the capital of Silesia.
The aim of this cyclical conference is to promote the sustainable development of cities and to discuss the challenges of modern urbanisation. Nowadays, most agglomerations and urban centers face challenges such as rapid urbanisation and its impact on society, urban space, the economy and climate change. During the WUF, the open debate will be held, which will have an influence on increasing knowledge and awareness regarding sustainable urban development.
Each edition of WUF is an opportunity to exchange good practices. During this event participants develop recommendations for urban policy and regional development for governments and local governments. The forum was organised for the first time in 2002. Several thousand people from most countries of the world participated in the WUF meetings, including representatives of the authorities, the scientific community, financial institutions as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The decision to organise WUF11 in Katowice was announced in May 2019 at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the UN agency, assured that she appreciated Poland's commitment to the work of the UN-Habitat agenda and its contribution to the implementation of the sustainable development goals.
The organisers of WUF11 plan that the topics discussed during next year's edition of the event will be the transformation of cities towards safe, healthy, friendly and ensuring a high quality of life for their inhabitants.
The event brings together, among others, representatives of governments, regions, cities, non-governmental organisations, as well as organisations and financial institutions. Young people are an equally important group present at WUF.
Polish organisers decided not only to involve young people in participating in the event, but also in its preparation. In December 2020, a Youth Council was established for this purpose. It consists of students who show a passion for the subject of cities. The task of the council will be to prepare and implement initiatives accompanying the preparations of the government and Katowice for the World Urban Forum. Young people will be able to organise competitions, debates and interviews on the most important challenges in urban policy and the opportunities that sustainable cities can offer song people.
Organisation of the WUF will bring many positive aspects – a response to today's challenges for cities and the need for better implementation of global sustainable development goals at the city level (Sustainable Development Goals). During the Forum, the Action Plan for Cities will be presented – a catalog of actions to guide cities towards green, accessible and productive transformation. It assumes, inter alia, promoting low-emission means of transport, encouraging changes in transport behavior, greening cities, increasing biologically active areas, activities to design public spaces, including green areas, in line with the idea of a 15-minutes city and the model of sustainable urbanisation. It will be developed together with the cities. At the moment, more than 40 Polish cities have expressed interest in participating in this project.
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