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World Urban Forum 29 April - 3 May 2002

Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, invites the world's media to the World Urban Forum, The meeting place for everyone concerned, with the future of the world's cities and towns at UN-HABITAT headquarters, Gigiri, Nairobi, 29 April - 3 May 2002
Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, invites the
world's media to the World Urban Forum, The meeting place for everyone concerned, with the future of the world's cities and towns at UN-HABITAT headquarters, Gigiri, Nairobi, 29 April - 3 May 2002

A biennial event, the first session of the World Urban Forum brings together those who can generate innovative ideas to chart the course of our urban future. Some 80 panellists from all over the world will make presentations on a spectrum of urban issues from street children to sustainable urbanization. Because what happens in our cities affects everyone, it is anticipated that one out of five participants will be slum dwellers. They will build their version of a model slum dwelling in one of the slums in Nairobi and a replica on the grounds of the United Nations at Gigiri.

In this urban millennium, the battle for the future will be won or lost in the streets of our cities. Fifty years ago, metropolitan New York was the only urban centre with a population of more than 10 million, today there are 19 such cities. For the first time in history, half of humanity, about
3 billion people, now lives in cities and towns. It is estimated that between 1990 and 1995 alone, the cities in the developing world grew by 263 million people, the equivalent of another Los Angeles every three months.

People are on the move in search of better lives. Rural refugees escape regional conflicts to the safety of nearby cities; economic refugees cross borders seeking jobs. Long recognized as engines of economic growth and social development, in today's international economy, cities are busy
competing to attract capital and labour. But in cities all over the world, social exclusion and spatial segregation are on the rise. Globalisation widens the rift between business communities and the homeless who live in cardboard boxes In the developing world, over one billion poor people are
unable to satisfy basic needs such as food, water, sanitation, education and shelter. The marginalized and homeless are at high risk of infection from HIV/AIDS. Landless and deprived of security of residential tenure, the poor are hostage to rapacious slum landlords or live in fear of arbitrary
eviction which severs them from their means of livelihood and the chance of improving their situation.

From Balzac to Pepys, from Eliot to Zola, authors and journalists have long exposed the human condition that exists in concrete and cardboard jungles. We invite you to continue the tradition by joining us.

For further information contact: Mr. Sharad Shankardass, Spokesperson,
Ms. Zahra Hassan, Press & Media Liaison, Press & Media Relations Unit,
Tel:(254 2) 623153/623151, Fax: (254 2) 624060,
E-mail:habitat.press@unhabitat.org, Website: http://www.unhabitat.org

Zahra A. Hassan
Media Liaison
Media & Press Relations Unit
Office of the Executive Director
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
P.O. Box 30030
Tel: ( 254 2) 623151; Fax: 624060
E-mail: habitat.press@unchs.org
Website: http://www.unhsp.org

Monday 29 Apr 2002
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