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Outside the Box. Benefits of Civic Tourism . UN World Urban Forum . Globe2008 - Cities

Job Creation Starts Here...

Since 1975 our association (ATA) has been hosted by over 30 African Cities, and Africa Travel Magazine has enjoyed a special relationship with key individuals in numerous cities, towns and villages. Today, thanks to the UN World Urban Forum we have had a rare opportunity -- getting to know and learn about mayors, administrators, professionals and personalities from many African communities. That is why we have decided to launch a special edition on Africa's Gateway Cities in print and DVD, and to make WUF3 the springboard to an ongoing series on this website. One of the meaningful comments I heard at the event that struck a chord with me was, "There is no closure."

n other words, even though the conference has ended the spirit of 'habitat' lives on - and our media group plans to keep that spirit alive and active. Readers with comments in this vital area are invited to write. Cities of Africa. The Africa Travel Association's Canada Chapter, of which myaelf and Muguette Goufrani are members, had an added opportunity- that of taking two different groups of African mayors on an escorted tour of Vancouver, an unforgettable experience. We intend to keep these friendships active and to visit each of the mayors in their respective countries sometime soon
Jerry W. Bird, Editor


Summary of WUF3
With some 10.000 participants from over 100 countries, the Third Session of the World Urban Forum paved the way for a new drive forward on the international urban agenda in a world of rapidly growing cities. Just as the Habitat I Conference in Vancouver in 1976 placed local community concerns on the international agenda and highlighted the critical importance of inclusiveness, the Forum in Vancouver, 30 years later, lived up to its promise of moving ideas to action. It symbolized inclusiveness, with balanced participation from public, private and civil society sectors. Compared to previous sessions of the Forum, there was a notable increase in private sector participation.

The Quest for innovative ideas and practical solutions - rare for a meeting convened by the United Nations - was underscored in the six Dialogues, 13 Roundtables and more than 160 Networking Events, Ministers, mayors, academics, community-based organizations, federations of non-governmental organizations, and the private sector shared their insights and experiences on what would improve the quality of life in the world's growing cities. The inclusive approach followed at the Forum is a model for cities. Some are already following this model while others would benefit from doing so.

It was promising that participants, in such large numbers and from all walks of society, began to converge towards an outline for the way forward:

They agreed on the need for all urban players - citizens, local governments, state and provincial governments, national governments, the private sector and civil society organizations - to work harder to solve urban problems and challenges. There was widespread agreement that they all must do their part, rather than simply transfer responsibility to others.

They agreed that risk-taking and the pursuit of innovation must characterize municipal leadership it cities are to achieve sustainable development. Vancouver's example in taking the lead in such areas as air and water quality, public transit and planning was mentioned often in this context.

They agreed that appropriate engagements, partnerships and relationships need to be build in an inclusive manner to better understand challenges and develop practical solutions. Participants from many parts of the world presented examples that can serve as guideposts for these strategies.

They agreed on the importance of transparency and accountability. Citizens need to be informed of challenges and steps taken by governments to address them. Transparency goes hand-in-hand with accountability, which speeds up the process of enhancing actions that work and curtailing those that do not work.

The spirit and enthusiasm evinced at the Forum in formal and in the Interstices are difficult to capture in words. But it was very clear that ev


The conference speaker list included many high profile Africans. Here are just some of the people who shared their expertise and experience with participants at WUF3:

Contact numbers and some biographies available.

Ali   Mohamed Shein: Vice President, Government of Tanzania

Harriette  Amissah ArthurL Director, KITE, Ghana

Mary  Balikungeri: Rwanda Women's Network, Rwanda

Tasneem  Essop: Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development, Government of the Western Cape, South Africa

Eric   Falt: Director of the Division of Communications & Public Information, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Kenya

Bhekokwakhe  Hamilton Cele: Transport Safety and Community Liaison Officer, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Lamine  Mbassa: Director of Economic and Financial Affairs, Communauté Urbaine de Douala (CUD), Cameroon

Jean-Pierre  Mbassi: Secretary General, United Cities & Local Governments Africa

Smangaliso   Mkhatshwa : Councillor of Tshwane, South Africa

Abbès   Mohsen: Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia; President of the Féderation Nationale des Villes Tunisiennes, Tunisia

Rose  Molokoane: South African Homeless People's Federation, South Africa

Maria  Mutagamba: Minister of State for Urban Employment & Poverty Alleviation, Government of Uganda, Uganda

John  Pombe Magufuli : Minister of Housing, Lands and Human Settlements, Government of Tanzania, Co-Chair WUF 3

Lindiwe  Sisulu: Minister of Housing, Government of South Africa


Local examples of sustainability
Examples of urban sustainability were just outside the doors of WUF3. Delegates saw how a waste water treatment plant works or cycle around the University of British Columbia campus. Free guided tours took them off the tourist track to see why Vancouver is one of the most sustainable cities on the planet.

WORLD MAYOR AWARDS- AFRICA; Finalistgs 2006:  Mayor of Antananarivo, Madagascar; Johannesburg, South Africa; Maputo, Mozambique; Tunis, Tunisia

Under the current local government reforms in Africa, Mayors and Councillors are key actors in establishing strong and sustainable local governments. They have a dual role of democratising local government and fostering local development. They represent the citizens and are supposed to provide both political and economic leadership; have an appreciable level of civic knowledge with the ability to manage public affairs; and create an environment for maintenance of peace and security in their jurisdiction. However, until the late 1980s, it was never conceived that representation of ordinary people requires a mayor or a councillor to have extraordinary skills. This was possibly due to the fact that their engagement was on a part time basis and for a fixed term of one or two years. Many elected officials come to local authorities without prior management skills or knowledge of local government systems, or knowledge of national priorities and goals.

MAYOR'S OUVERHAUL OF ADDIS ABABA: Executive Mayor Arkebe Oqubay



UN WUF3 Newsletter