At the international stars symposium held in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland from 3-6 October 2009, private sector representatives highlighted their interest in global trends in urbanisation. The symposium titled Fit for the Future – Challenges and Choices 2020 had the stated aim of preparing “Leaders of the Next Generation”.
The global financial crisis, the geopolitical shift of influence from U.S. to China, implications of global climate change, and the formation of Megacities were discussed at the symposium.
Those attending were high-powered executives from various global corporations who were personally recommended by their respective CEOs. Most of the companies represented had strong commercial interests in developing and transitional countries. Also in attendance were invited academics and representatives of various governments and international organisations. Speakers included CEOs and executives from the Club of Rome, Nestlé, Credit Suisse Group, US Chamber of Commerce, and Japanese Development Bank JBIC.
Among the speakers was Prof. Gunter Meinert, a Sr. Urban Specialist of the Cities Alliance. His presentation was on the global perspectives of urbanisation with emphasis on urban poverty. Prof. Meinert noted that the most visible expression of inequality within Megacities will be in the form of urban slums and that capacities of many countries will be stretched trying to manage urbanisation. However, he stressed that the urban poor are not merely a challenge, but also part of the solution.