A football match, youth and gender assemblies as well as the launch of a new report marked the beginning of the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum which kicked off in this scenic Italian city of Naples at the weekend.
The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing problems facing the world today: rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.
Organised jointly by UN-Habitat, the Government of Italy, the Campania Region and the City of Naples, the theme for this year's meeting is The Urban Future. Over 3,000 participants registered for the premier conference on cities and urban issues.
The four focus areas for discussion are: Urban Planning: Institutions and Regulations, including the improvement of Quality of Life; Equity and Prosperity: Distribution of Wealth and Opportunities; Productive Cities: Competitive and Innovative Cities and Urban Mobility, Energy & Environment.
On Saturday 1 September, an entertaining but one sided football match kicked off the Forum as a team from the United Nation faced off with lads from Scampia, a locality of Naples battling for the Habitat Cup. The Italian boys were in a different class hammering the cup sponsors 6-2.
The Habitat Cup is a new initiative of UN-Habitat to promote urban development and youth empowerment through sports.
The debate is underway with nearly 1,500 people signing up for the online e-Debates at www.worldurbanforum.org The online platform gives people who are not be able to travel to Naples the chance to join the debate while also using the opinions given to shape the Forum discussions.
The Forum is one of the most open and inclusive gatherings of its kind on the international stage. It brings together participants from all over the world representing governments, academia, civil society and the private sector as partners working for better cities. Previous meetings were held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002, Barcelona in 2004, Vancouver 2006, Nanjing in 2008 and Rio de Janeiro in 2010.
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