NEW YORK, 31 Oct. 2017 — In observance of World Cities Day, the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS), together with the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union (AU) to the UN, the Permanent Mission of Gambia to the UN, the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), the Universal Peace Federation (UPF), the World Association of Non-governmental Organizations (WANGO), and the Better City Institute (BCI), held its 12th Global Forum on Human Settlements and 2017 Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards (GFHS-XII) Ceremony at the Millennium Hilton New York One UN Plaza hotel from 30 to 31 Oct. 2017.
Under the theme of "Effective Planning and Managing Urban Spatial Development to Implement 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda”, GFHS-XII has attracted around 400 representatives including government officials, experts, and entrepreneurs from over 30 different countries participated in the two-day seminars, including a closed-door meeting and high-level dialogues on International Green Model City Initiative (IGMC), and the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda at local level. The Conference achieved fruitful results: discussed in depth and effectively with the objective of promoting innovative actions, honored a number of best practices, launched the Online Rating System of International Green Model City Initiative, etc.
The important guests attending the Forum included: Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative; H. E. Mr. Mamadou Tangara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Gambia to the United Nations; Ms. Martina Otto, Head of Cities Unit, Economy Division, United Nations Environment Programme; Mr. Arab Hoballah, Senior Sustainability Expert, Former Chief, Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch, UNEP; Ms. Yamina Djacta, Representative of Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization and Former Director of UN-Habitat New York Office; Dr. Taj Hamad, Vice Chairman of Global Forum on Human Settlements, Chairman of World Association of Non-governmental Organizations; Mr. Lu Haifeng, Secretary General of Global Forum on Human Settlements, President of Better City Institute; Mr. Serge Salat, President, Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris, France, etc.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury said, “ Sustainable urban development is one of the most pressing challenges facing the human community in the 21st century.? As more and more people make cities their home, cities will be the arenas in which some of the world’s biggest social, economic, environmental and political challenges will be faced and need to be addressed collectively. It is therefore significant that GFHS has, since its establishment, been focusing on these challenges at each of its annual conferences. This twelfth forum in the series is again another timely, relevant and appropriate initiative that is aimed at making the international community alert and proactive to the issues of urbanization in a holistic manner. ”
Ms. Martina Otto said，“the way we plan land use, how we plan, design and manage cities will determine whether the amazing transformational power of urbanization contributes to or stifles the objective of Sustainable Development for All, that we leave no one behind, and achieve sustainable and inclusive economies and environmental sustainability.”
GFHS-XII is an innovative action-oriented conference. The Observance Ceremony for "World Cities Day 2017” was held during the opening ceremony. Six city Mayors representing the local governments from different regions in the world and six distinguished individuals from the business and academia (including non-governmental organizations) have made their own commitments to sustainable urban development.
The conference discussed in depth on the "The International Green Model City Initiative (IGMC)", explored the International Green Model City Standards 3.0 as an advanced planning tool for assessing and guiding sustainable urban development and promoting sustainable cities and human settlements for all. The city of Vancouver, the city of Cape Town, the city of Seberang Parai, the city of Cuenca, the city of Mannheim, Liuyang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Changsha Vanke Real Estate Co., Ltd., Country Garden Pacificview Sdn. Bhd., Mission Hills Group were presented the plaques recognized as IGMC foundation partners to encourage them to be the pioneers to integrate the IGMC standards 3.0 in their own cities and project development, and to be more effectively planning and managing urban spatial development and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda.
The Launch Ceremony of “Online Rating System of International Green Model City Initiative” was held at the opening session. Mr. Lu Haifeng, Secretary General of GFHS and Ms. Martina Otto, Head of Cities Unit, Economy Division, UN Environment and other guests unveiled the system. The system is a well-developed global online assessment and certification platform for sustainable cities and communities, based on the "IGMC standard 3.0", using the internet and big data technology to make assessments and diagnosis in a much easier way for everybody to score for their own city and community. Moreover, as an advanced technical tool and guidance for sustainable urban development, the system greatly facilitate the engagement of city and community administrators including all relevant stakeholders. Participants at the launch ceremony had a real-time experience of? testing the system on their mobile phones.
2017 Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA) Ceremony was held on the evening of 30 October, which was an excellent highlight of GFHS-XII. The total 23 winners were selected and granted the awards, including the City of Mannheim, Germany, the City of Surabaya, Indonesia, Wuyi County, Zhejiang Province, China, Zipline Adventure Tours in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, USA, Reimagining Public Spaces in Mumbai, India, Changsha Vanke ?Wonderland, China, Sustainable Improvement of Romani Settlements in Bulgaria, Mr. Serge Salat, President of Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris, and other outstanding models (Please refer to GFHS official website www.gfhsforum.org/?_l=en for full list of winners). These winners have made a wonderful integration of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda. SCAHSA means the flying wind in Chinese language, implying that the wind of green is flying around the world and fight for the sustainable urban development and human settlements goals. We anticipate more people to join in ,support and contribute.
According to the announcement by Global Forum on Human Settlements, the 2018 GFHS annual forum is scheduled to be held in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, in October 2018. We are confident to expect that the 2018 event will be more exciting!
Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC. GFHS is committed to sustainable cities and human settlements for all, and build a world platform for dialogue on sustainable cities and human settlements. GFHS has successfully conducted the cooperation in various areas with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. The annual conference of Global Forum on Human Settlements has been successfully held in China, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Colombia and Ecuador for 12 consecutive years. Around 13,000 representatives from all sectors of society have attended the Forums, which provides a high-level of dialogue platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, corporates, and scholars, and contributes a lot to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the Habitat Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda.