Reflections From World Urban Forum V

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 1, 2010
Buildings in Rio de Janeiro

About the Authors: María Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Esther Brimmer serves as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and Reta Jo Lewis serves as Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs.

As we arrived at the site of the UN Habitat-organized World Urban Forum V, we were immediately struck by the energy and enthusiasm in the air. At the nearly mile-long stretch of once dilapidated warehouses that now anchor Rio de Janeiro's downtown redevelopment, nearly 15,000 of the world's elected officials, municipal leaders, NGO activists, and urban thinkers came together to address the complex challenges and opportunities shared by rapidly growing cities and urban corridors. With more than half the world's population now living in cities, we know that the management of urbanization connects with many of our foreign policy goals, including our response to climate change and improving global public health.

Given these connections, this year the State Department sent to the World Urban Forum our most senior delegation to date -- signaling the United States' recognition that urban growth and development affects millions of citizens at home and abroad. We clearly sensed the appreciation from our U.S. and global partners for our increased engagement in this biennial gathering.

The diversity of our discussions and presentations at the World Urban Forum reflect the range of issues within urbanization: We addressed the unique aspects of governance, participation and civil society; the important role of the United Nations and international organizations working on urbanization; lessons learned from Haiti's earthquake and a call to action for continued efforts; and the special significance of municipal and sub-national leadership in coming together to respond to this global reality.

We look forward to working together in new ways and with partners to build cities of opportunity for all.

We would like to continue our engagement on this topic through online communities. To start the conversation, what elements of city life do you think could be most improved as the number of people in your city increases? What impact do you think urbanization is having on foreign policy issues?

Related Entry:Addressing Urban Issues: An Important Element of International Engagement



South Korea
April 2, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

i`m very interesting, return of N-Korea`s six-prty talk.

and, Kurt M. Campbell Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs visit in Seoul.

and, Kurt M. Campbell has a rich career the problem the people who must solve, the thought does.

The solution method thinks always economy. If there was not support of China, almost ........... Recently thinks the influence of China became larger more.

and USA

To escape the fact that is formal announces the statement there is a result which is substantial.

The shipyard and the auto industry think with the fact that will have the competitive power which is considerable. (The heavy chemical industry) the restraint means becoming, does, .....

April 3, 2010

Nimref in the Philippines writes:

Everywhere in the 3rd World, 60% or more of populations crowd into cities despite the scarcity of urban jobs. The result: slums, crime, prostitution, child labor and every imaginable misery too common in poor countries.

What’s the solution? Obviously billions of good-paying jobs have to be created in the rural 3rd World.

How? The best way appears to be thru the profit motive, using the internet as world-scale facilitator. Thru blogs and websites, millions of individuals and various World Aid organizations may contribute ‘affordable capital’ towards setting up of highly-profitable agribusiness models in the 3rd World. Examples: hundred-hectare multi-crop farms, forest ranches, managed forests, reforested mini-hydropower chains, forest resorts (upland, coastal, waterways), mangrove shrimp and crab farms, etc. Such projects can yield above-average dividends to investors. The topper is ethanol distilleries with sweet sorghum plantations and contract growing for small farms, which cost just $15 million per project yet profits at an astounding 80% of sales! Such high profit rates should encourage billions of low-income 3rd World employees to replicate the models.

Capital lack forces them to press for a local law that lends capital to thousand-employee groups that set up joint ventures with 1st World suppliers of farm machines and production equipment. Joint ventures triple local capital and raise tax incomes so the law should quickly pass. Perennially dollar-short 3rd World governments will in turn lobby 1st World states to pass laws that grant long-term loans to the joint ventures.

Agribusinesses address global warming and create huge markets for 1st World products so said 1st World law should likewise pass with little difficulty. Non-profits as proven agribusiness modelers may be expected to manage the consequent trillion-dollar lending funds. Laws are forever unless repealed so the twin laws should create millions of rural jobs for 3rd World poor, for all eternity. All the miseries incident to urban congestion and unemployment eventually ends as urban populations spread out countrywide towards jobs that yield good salaries, plus stock shares, bonds, interest and dividends that together afford quality education which is the proven road to the middle classes. (For details of this scheme, visit

Yang L.
United States
April 4, 2010

Yang L. in U.S.A. writes:

In my mind the sense of urbanization, especially in countries with less resources, is an important idea that can unite world leaders from all over. We constantly find reasons to argue and dispute over, but seldom can we find an issue or topic to agree upon and work towards as a global community. The United States has always been a world leader in foreign policy and with that said, it is our social duty with agencies such as USAID to provide solutions for tomorrow’s problems today in these underdeveloped nations.

I feel that it is more important during these recent natural disasters that various heads of states come together with the support of the United Nations to foster and coordinate a joint effort in combating disease and malnutrition all over the world. Programs of governance can and should be adopted by our government to assist developing countries seeking ways to promote urbanization within their infrastructure. Because of resources like the Civilian Response Corps and the Civilian Stabilization Initiative our country should be at the frontlines of helping others.

One of the biggest trials that these nations face is the problem of affordability in these instances of radical self improvement. There is no easy way to give much financial aid, especially when our country is just getting out of a recession, but it is still in our country’s benevolent nature to aid and assist. Sending the most senior delegate to this forum has given me a newfound sense of satisfaction that we are a country that is blessed with so much, yet we are still a country humble enough to help others whenever we can.


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