The eastern Chinese city of Nanjing is hosting the 4th World Urban Forum from November 3 - 7 under the theme of "Harmonious Urbanization: the Challenge of Balanced Territorial Development".
The forum, through a series of round table discussions, seminars and dialogues, works as a lab for translating the latest visioins on urbanization into actions.
More than 10,000 people from a wide range of sectors, ranging from non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, urban professionals and academics to governments, local authorities and national and international associations, are attending the forum.
The opening ceremony of the forum on Monday was presided over by Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.
Representatives on urban issues from different countries and regions attend the opening ceremony of the 4th World Urban Forum in Nanjing on November 3, 2008.[CRI]
"When the world converges on Nanjing, the global urban population will have passed the halfway mark and more people will be living in cities than in rural areas," Tibaijuka said.
"In this era of rapid urbanization, compounded by the complexities of climate change, we look forward to a stimulating exchange of ideas on how best to make the process of urbanization more harmonious and less divisive." Tibaijuka adds.
China, the host country, is now one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world. Its urban population rose from 191 million in 1980 to 380 million in 1997, imposing heavy strains on city administrations. The number of Chinese cities also soared from 223 in 1980 to 668 in 1997.
The World Urban Forum is a biennial gathering established by the United Nations in 2002. It works to examine one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, that is, the rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies.
Its previous three sessions were held in Nairobi (2002), Barcelona (2004) and Vancouver (2006).
(CRI November 7, 2008)