The 2011 World Habitat Day theme was “Cities and Climate Change” and focused on climate change and the rapid rate of urbanization in the world as leading international development challenges of the twenty-first century. It also highlighted that cities present challenges but also offer opportunities for innovative ideas and solutions to climate change and other issues.
At the United Nations Headquarters, the UN-Habitat New York Office and the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization joined to host a high-level discussion, which covered key developments since the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), and the need for a new development agenda that can respond to the new challenges, in an era of climate change and ever increasing urbanization. It brought together high-level experts and representatives from governments, non-governmental organizations, institutes, foundations and industry, who worked to identify the challenges and opportunities that a possible future global conference on human settlements and cities, following the tradition of Habitat I and II, should pursue in response to the emerging challenges and the new role of cities. The following objectives were discussed:
1) To clarify the relationship between cities, urbanization, and climate change;
2) To propose how innovations and best practices can be shared among urbanized and urbanizing areas;
3) To highlight the need for innovative solutions for sustainable urbanization; and
4) To identify challenges and opportunities for a global conference on human settlements and cities.