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A Manifesto for Cities, “The Urban Future We Want,” represents a common vision of the 21st century city and aims to contribute to the Global Urban Agenda toward Habitat III.

The Manifesto affirms urbanization trends and develops key principles and directions for sustainable urban development, including environmentally sound and carbon-efficient built environments.

4 September 2012: The World Urban Campaign (WUC) launched “The Urban Future We Want: A Manifesto for Cities” during a special session at the Sixth World Urban Forum (WUF 6), on 3 September 2012, in Naples, Italy. The manifesto aims to contribute to the Global Urban Agenda towards the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III), which is scheduled to be held in 2016.

The WUC is coordinated by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and aims to build momentum toward Habitat III. The WUC prepared the Manifesto with Habitat Agenda Partners.

According to the WUC, the Manifesto represents a common vision of the 21st century city. It recognizes the role cities play in shaping a sustainable urban future, and notes the need for improved governance at all levels. It calls on the international community to commit to a Global Urban Agenda that positions cities at the heart of 21st century development.

Noting urban trends such as environmental degradation, inequality and segregation, the Manifesto aims to prepare for the urban future by collectively developing key principles and directions. These principles include, inter alia: environmentally sound and carbon-efficient built environments; gender sensitive, healthy, safe and socially inclusive development; participatory planning and decision making; and creative, competitive local economies that promote decent work and livelihoods.

Participants at the launch expressed support for the Manifesto. Henry Duncan Dama Phoya, the Housing Minister of Malawi, recommended empowering local authorities and ensuring good governance to promote sustainable urbanization. Mayors from Agadir, Morocco, Medellin, Colombia, and Naples described positive changes in their respective cities. Private sector participants noted business’ dependence on the sustainability of cities. Civil society representatives urged translating the Manifesto into concrete actions and involving citizens. Youth appealed for intergenerational linking for change, while women emphasized their role in contributing to sustainable solutions. [Publication: Manifesto for Cities: The Urban Future We Want] [UN-HABITAT Press Release]

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