As the seventh World Urban Forum (WUF) begins this week, I am taking advantage of the situation to do a bit of ‘promotion’ for our exhibition booth and presentation- just in case you are in Medellín!
First, a bit on the World Urban Forum.
“The 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.” 
The World Urban Forum (WUF) has turned into the world’s premier conference on cities. Since the first meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002, the Forum has grown in size and stature as it travelled to Barcelona in 2004, Vancouver 2006, Nanjing in 2008, Rio de Janeiro in 2010, and Naples in 2012. This year, 2014, the seventh session of WUF will take place in Medellin, providing a key platform for discussing the role of sustainable urbanization.
The Forum will gather more than 10,000 participants –heads of state, governors, mayors, the international community, professionals and the private sector – from over 130 countries at the Convention Center Plaza Mayor of Medellin. As such, WUF provides an incredible opportunity to showcase UNOPS’ strength, potentials and driving principles aiming for sustainable development.
For the Forum, UNOPS was granted an exhibition space and talk, primarily based on the experience of the 16/6 Project in Haiti, the first government lead housing reconstruction and urban rehabilitation project in the country. Now for a bit of promotion:
THAN A ROOF, BUILDING COMMUNITIES
Some of the main challenges in achieving a more equitable and sustainable urban development revolve around the access to safe, good quality housing and basic services.
In many countries- developed and developing- low-income (social) housing is impeded by high costs and inhibiting policies, as well as inefficient designs and processes that result in short-term, unsustainable projects and programs, continuously recreating existing social and spatial segregations. In these cases, housing is perceived as a sole product, ignoring the multiple socio-cultural, economic, and political dynamics surrounding the livelihood of residents and the politics of place, neglecting the diversity in realities and necessities of communities, and the need to integrate aspects of infrastructure, urban design and urban amenities into projects.
Based on an initial presentation of UNOPS approach, principles and strategies surrounding sustainable social housing- primarily centered on the 16/6 Project, the first government lead housing and urban rehabilitation project in Haiti- the event will provide a platform to rethink models around housing and habitat, community development, infrastructure and services, and their direct link to sustainable urbanization, seeking more equity, welfare and shared prosperity.
EXHIBITION: White Pavilion, Stand #10
TALK+DISCUSSION: Agora Room, Monday 7th of April from 4 to 5PM; Presenter: Adriana Navarro Sertich, Housing Advisor, UNOPS Haiti
Photo credits: Claude-Andre Nadon