CG Meeting Reports

Berlin Meeting Report
Inaugural Meeting of the Cities Alliance
December 16-17, 1999
Berlin, Germany

Highlights from the statements made at the inaugural meeting are reflected below:

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Minister Wieczorek-Zeul welcomed the delegates to Berlin. "I appreciate that cities and local authorities have now the opportunity to play their part in the decision-making process. Without local democracy, without people at local level being given a voice, sustainable development cannot be achieved," she said. The Minister also announced Germany's pledge of US$1 million to the Cities Alliance Trust.

Klaus Töpfer, Acting Executive Director, UNCHS (Habitat)

Mr. Töpfer said that the Cities Without Slums effort links the Bank's new urban strategy with Habitat's recently formulated strategic vision, which will be advanced through its global campaigns for secure tenure and urban governance: "For many millions of people around the world, urban living has become a nightmare, especially for the young, who will inherit the urban millennium. The biggest challenge lies in focusing on the social dimension of urban poverty in the design of new strategies".

James Wolfensohn, President, World Bank

Mr. Wolfensohn noted that "The rapid growth of urban areas in the developing world in the next few decades poses a huge challenge to the fight against poverty. The urban poor must be the business of everyone if we are to achieve successful, sustainable cities." He said that it is essential, as we enter a new millennium, to scale-up efforts in urban renewal, to set a target not in thousands but in hundreds-of-millions of lives lifted out of poverty in urban areas.

Nelson Mandela, Patron of the Cities Without Slums Initiative

President Nelson Mandela said: "The Cities Without Slums initiative is a creative and daring response to urban poverty… Poverty reduction and upgrading of informal settlements will not be possible unless cities are productive and efficient, and capable of providing the poor with economic opportunities to build their assets and incomes". He concluded his remarks by saying that he is "not going to be a, sleeping patron," but wants to participate actively in promoting this initiative, and to be kept informed with quarterly reports of progress.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, State Secretary for Finance, Japan

State Secretary Hayashi said: "We are pleased that the Japan-funded regional City Development Strategy program is being expanded to a multi-donor facility with a global scope. I believe that Japanese post-war experience is valid to some developing countries in the field of city planning. In the process of reconstruction after the war, many Japanese cities faced a great challenge of rapid concentration of population into city areas on top of strong needs of house upgrading. The Japanese Ministry of Construction and local municipalities have ample experience and expertise which are applicable to the developing countries with similar difficulties." He also announced Japan's pledge of US$ 1 million to the Cities Alliance for the first year activities.

John Hodges, Department for International Development, United Kingdom

Mr. Hodges expressed support for the Cities Without Slums initiative on behalf of the Honorable Clare Short, Secretary of State for International Development. He said that the challenges posed by urbanization are too big for any individual donor, and that it is essential to work together in order to achieve ambitious human development targets. He confirmed the UK's commitment to the Cities Alliance of US$ 1 million per year for three years.

Leiv Lunde, Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Development, Norway

The Cities Alliance can facilitate local participation in urban development strategies. Deputy Minister Lunde said Norway was greatly encouraged by the World Bank-Habitat cooperation and recalled the Norwegian support to the restructuring and revitalization of Habitat. The Government of Norway is positively considering a contribution to the Cities Alliance for the 2000 budget year.

Alessandro Gaudiano, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy

Mr. Gaudiano said that a unique feature of the Alliance is its plurality: international financial institutions, UN agencies, bilateral agencies, local authority associations, NGOs, and the business community will guarantee that a broad spectrum of expertise and resources will be put together to foster urban development and improve the living conditions of millions of people. The initial Italian contribution to the core-funding will be US$ 250,000. Italy is also interested in the possibility of supporting Cities Alliance activities in India through a joint urban poverty reduction initiative, with a contribution earmarked of about US$ 10 million in grant funds, and in exploring similar initiatives in South Africa, Mozambique and Latin America.

Max Ng'Andwe, President, International Union of Local Authorities (IULA)Counselor of Kabwe, Zambia

"I speak as representative of managers responsible for managing the spine-chilling statistics that have been given this evening regarding urban poverty… We are very committed to participate very actively through our global network of cities and national associations in (this initiative's) implementation."

Joan Clos, President, METROPOLIS, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain

" We will be totally supportive of this program... In order to be truly effective there should be a linking between programs, a twinning between cities. Please let the voice of the cities be heard in this process."

Pierre Bourque, Vice-President, METROPOLIS, Mayor of Montreal, Canada

"It is important that we act rapidly... We have proposals for you. This is maybe the major challenge we have in the next decades to work all together, all the Northern cities with our friends in the South."

Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn, Germany

"I can only welcome this initiative to involve municipal know-how on the multilateral and UN level… Cooperation is never a one-way street."

Christa Thoben, Representative of the Mayor of Berlin, Germany

Ms. Thoben welcomed the meeting in Berlin, on behalf of the governing mayor who was unable to attend.

Antonio Garcia-Fragio, DG Development, European Commission

The EC welcomes the initiative, and will look into possibilities in the future to cooperate with the Cities Alliance. Mr. Garcia-Fragio called for cooperation with all other programs that are already on-going.

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