Transcript - DIVIDED CITIES caught between hope and despair...

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1 “DIVIDED CITIES” caught between hope and despair MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF RAPID AND CHAOTIC URBANISATION IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE Beatty Memorial Lecture McGill University, 20 October 2007 by Dr. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Executive Director of UN-HABITAT Director General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi Check against delivery
2 Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum Provost Anthony Masi Vice-Principal of Research and International Relations Denis Thérien President of the McGill Alumni Association, Ann Vroom Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a great honour and privilege for me to join you this morning to deliver the 2007 Beatty Memorial Lecture. It is also a pleasure to be in this beautiful city of Montreal, a city that is renown in urban planning and management circles for its innovations, diversity and dynamism. During my first visit in 2002, I was awarded an honorary doctorate. So it is particular pleasure for me to address you this morning as a fellow alumnus of this prestigious institution. On that occasion, I had the opportunity of addressing graduates at their Macdonald Campus for what was only my second visit to Canada. However, in the last five years, I am happy to say that I have become a regular guest, meeting with gatherings of civic leaders, planners, architects, provincial and federal ministers, and even Hip-Hop artists! I will forever fondly remember the Third World Urban Forum which took place in Vancouver last year. It was a truly wondrous experience. Over 10,000 people representing all spheres of government, civil society and practitioners partook in a massive brainstorming session to exchange their knowledge and expertise on u rban issues and to “turn ideas into action”. The discussion took off from an inspiring vision given by Prime Minister Harper who officiated at the opening ceremony of that Vancouver meeting in recognition of the challenge of our times, namely, rapid and chaotic urbanization. The Third World Urban Forum was more than just a meeting of minds. It embodied many of the values and characteristics I have come to appreciate in this nation of diversity. The enormous interest shown in the World Urban Forum and the intensity of debate it generated is a true testament to the incredible foresight of leaders who gathered in Canada some thirty years ago to create UN-HABITAT, a United Nations institution established to help member states with challenges of developing human settlements. Accordingly, my lecture today is divided in three parts. The first part of my lecture will be devoted to some facts and figures on rapid and chaotic urbanisation and why we need to continue to focus our attention on this issue, especially in the face of climate change.

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