Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC

Implementing RIO+20 Decisions and Promoting 
Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism

High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism & Global 

Forum of Human Settlements 2014 Held Successfully in Bogota

Time: 10-12 August 2014 

Location: Lievano Palace and Plaza of the Artisans, Bogota D.C., Colombia

Organized by

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)
Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) 
City of Bogota, Colombia 

Bogota -- High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism & Global Forum on Human Settlements 2014 was successfully held on 10-12 Aug. 2014 in the Capital of Colombia, Bogota. This high level international conference that is aimed at implementing Rio+20 Decisions is taking place as the follow-up event and commemorate the second anniversary of what is popularly known as the Rio+20 summit. It was co-organized by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) and the Municipal Government of Bogota.

It was specially attended by some high-ranked persons, including Mrs. Luz Helena Sarmiento Villamizar, Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development of Colombia, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, United Nations Colombia, Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production UNEP/DTIE, Mrs. Margarita Astrálaga, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNEP, Mr. Elkin Velázquez, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN-Habitat, Mr. Gustavo Petro Urrego, Mayor of Bogota, Mr. Lu Haifeng, Secretary-General of Global Forum on Human Settlements, Mr. Gino Van Begin, Secretary-General, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and some of the ministerial officials from other countries, mayors of well-known cities, business leaders, experts and professionals.
Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, United Nations Colombia, indicated that “Sustainable development will be one of the main topics to be addressed in the next decade. He also emphasized that the fair use of natural resources will contribute to the development of safe, inclusive, and sustainable cities and human settlements. Currently, the major challenge that cities are facing is the unsustainable consumption and production. On top of that, the loss of biodiversity will seriously impact the economic growth, therefore green economy, green transportation, green growth will be the important ways out of the challenges."
Mrs. Luz Helena Sarmiento Villamizar, Minister of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development of Colombia gave the welcome remarks on behalf of the Colombian president Santos. She noted that "Colombian government is attaching high importance to sustainable cities, transport and tourism. We have to take actions right now to cope with the sustainability challenges. I hope this event would make great contributions to the discussions of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals."
“The world is getting increasingly urbanized, about 75% by 2050, with its consequences on use of resources, economic growth, waste generation and emissions. Managing a city from a resource flow and use perspective presents many challenges but also lot of opportunities, in particular by applying the decoupling concept at city level, by maintaining or improving quality of life (depending on development status) while using/consuming less resources per capita/per product and having less impact on the environment. Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) is the most urbanized developing region in the world, with about 80% of residents now living in cities. It is estimated that by 2050 it will increase to and even exceed 90% by 2050. It is urgent to develop resource-efficient cities in this regard”, noted by Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production UNEP/DTIE.
Mr. Elkin Velázquez, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN-Habitat shared that “Bogota is the right place to host the high-level dialogue, because there are a good number of wonderful practices on sustainable development including the project of Bogota Humana, Transmilenio with huge capacity, heritage protection and renovation, and so forth. It is right time to have this event in Bogota and it is expected to produce the outcomes that will contribute to the Preparatory Committee meeting for Habitat III that will take place in September in NY. ”
The mayor Gustavo Petro expressed that “Cities needs to take cautious measures to adapt and mitigate climate challenges and empower the people the right of life, build cities for citizens and care for the poor and disadvantaged. A new environmental metro line is being undertaken in Bogota. A feet of 50 pure electric cars imported from China has been in operation, and the electric bus network is planned to be built in the southern part of the city. He highlighted that the Transmilenio system in Bogota could contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions by 283,000 tons annually, which greatly enhance the air quality."
GFHS Secretary-General Mr. Lu Haifeng said, "The sustainable cities contain a lot of meanings, and cities should be safe, clean, healthy, equitable, accessible, affordable, compact, resource-efficient, environment-friendly, dynamic, inclusive, prosperous, harmonious, happy and others. Similarities exist among different countries and regions while uniqueness varies. Local governments should emphasize the protection and development of local culture, particularly the sustainable culture. Above all, we should build people-centered cities and live in harmony with nature."

One of the highlights at this high-level event is the three high-level dialogues on “Resource efficiency for sustainable cities,”, “Sustainable cities, transport and Mobility”, and “Local Development and Sustainable Tourism”, respectively, which were centered around the discussions on the corresponding policies, actions and practices. Following the thematic high-level dialogues, 10 technical parallel sessions were organized including urban planning for green cities and resource-efficient cities, climate change and resilient cities, waste management, practices and experiences in sustainable urban transport systems development, transformation processes towards cycling friendly cities, retrofitting tourism infrastructures: historical center revitalization and renaturalization, innovations for sustainable development in human settlements, cities confronting spatial socioeconomic segregation, competitiveness, productivity and sustainability, innovations in low carbon and eco-cities. 

Some 80 speakers participated in the discussions and an estimated of 6000 delegates from 25 countries and regions in Asia, Africa, America and Europe attended the High-level Dialogues and technical parallel sessions. Among them there are mayors, government representatives, professionals, international organizations, business leaders. A Chinese delegation comprised of over 30 government officials, experts and entrepreneurs were invited to participate in the conference.

What brought the event to a climax was the Global Human Settlements Award Ceremony 2014 that grandly took place in the National Museum of Colombia on the evening of August 11. The “Global Human Settlements Awards” is an annually worldwide prize launched and organized by Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) and specially supported by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It has been successfully held for 8 consecutive years. This one in Bogota was the ninth edition, producing more influence in international community. 

24 awards under 6 categories were presented then. The city of Vancouver won the award of “Global Green City” for its widely known livable environment and the Greenest City Action Plan 2020. Tanggangzi New Town from the city of Anshan, the demonstration zone for modern service industry and pilot region for comprehensive reforms in Liaoning, was recognized as “Global Green District”, and El Gouna from Egypt was honored as “Global Green Town”. The host city of Bogota received Global Human Settlements Award on Sustainable Innovation for its efforts on green mobility and ecological restoration. The Bikeway of Bogota and Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative were awarded as "Global Best Practice of Green Mobility". The awards for Global Model of buildings or Residential Areas were given to MissionHills Centreville, Greenland · Lishan Flower City, China Railway· Lucerne's Bank, Ronghui Hotspring Valley, Dalian Sweetland City. The Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to Dr. Kenneth Chu, Chairman and CEO of Mission Hills Group, for his leadership and contribution on sustainable tourism, and Mr. Stephane Pouffary, Founder and Honorary President for ENERGIES 2050, for his efforts and leadership on sustainable energy education. Applied Energy Innovation Institute, Huadian Electric Power Research Institute and Shenzhen Solartech were recognized as Global Human Settlements Model of Green Technology. The UN high-ranked officials and international guests presented the awards to the winners and extended their congratulations as well. 

These green stars set good examples as to how to implement Rio+20 Decisions and focus on the development of sustainable human settlements with practical actions.

During the conference, the host city organized five options of tour for the participants who visited the Revitalization Plan for Bogota Traditional Center, Central Cemetary-Historic and urban legend’s convergence, Participatory Recovery of The Streams- Las Delicias and Moraci, Botanical Garden, ‘La Requilina’ Agro-tourism Route, and had the bicycle tour, experiencing the sustainability charm and cultural vitality of Bogota. The city of Bogota was selected by Global Forum on Human Settlements and UN agencies as the host city due to its success experience on sustainable city, transportation and heritage protection.

At the opening, the 40th Anniversary on Bogota’s Cycle paths was celebrated. This project is aimed at providing exclusive lanes for biking, walking and leisure for the people, which has been through forty years of persistence, playing an important role in promoting green mobility and sustainable culture in the city. It has become an internationally known brand for sustainable development, thereby being recognized by “Global Human Settlements Award”. 

On top of that, UN-Habitat World Urban Campaign organized and promoted the activity “I am a city changer”, attracting more people to get involved in the cause of transforming traditional cities into sustainable cities.

This event acts as a continuation of Berlin High-level Dialogue on Sustainable Cities and Transport & Global Forum on Human Settlements 2013, dedicated to the implementation of Rio+20 Decisions and Promotion of Sustainable Cities, Transport and Tourism. It has provided a platform for national and international information exchange for all the stakeholders from relevant countries and regions, and promoted capacity building for the participants, in particular for those from developing world. The success experiences were demonstrated by the host city and other partners on sustainable cities, transport and tourism, which facilitates bilateral and multilateral communication and cooperation of economy, technology and culture. The conference outcome is believed to provide references and inputs to the discussion of post-2015 UN sustainable development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals; and contribute to the preparations of 2016 UNHABITAT III conference and the New Urban Agenda.

Forward-looking and practical themes and topics were addressed at the conference that took place under the background of the Latin American urbanization, and this brought out diverse and fresh practices and models and examples, producing positive impacts and allowing all the participants to enjoy the rich outcomes and creating memorable experience. It is believed that the conference will encourage and motivate more countries, enterprises, organizations and the public to engage in the building of sustainable cities and make joint efforts towards the future we want and need.

(Feeds: The Public Information Department of GFHS)

More details please visit:
Summary presentation on Bogota High-level Dialogue

City TV
El Colombiano

Extra Bogotá