Medellin Declaration: Equity as a Foundation for sustainable urban development

We, the participants of the Seventh World Urban Forum —governments, private sector, international organizations,

academia, professionals and civil society — reaffirm our commitment to integrate urban equity into the develop

-ment agenda, employing all means and resources available to ensure that cities are transformed into inclusive, safe,

prosperous and harmonious spaces for all. As a matter of urgency, we must take action, collectively and individually,

to bring the benefits of sustainable urban development to all.

We, the participants of the World Urban Forum, commit ourselves to advance this vision, and to promote equitable

urban development in our communities, towns, cities and countries.

The City as Opportunity

Since 2008, the majority of the world’s population has lived in cities. Today, urban areas are a living combination of history, civilization, diversity and culture. Urbanization has been a force that has changed almost everything: ways of thinking and acting, ways of using space, lifestyles, social and economic relations, and consumption and production patterns. Cities, as economic and productive innovation spaces, provide opportunities for improving access to resources and services, as well as options in the social, legal, economic, cultural and environmental fields. Urbanization has ushered in economic growth, development and prosperity for many.

However, cities are also spaces where multidimensional poverty, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to disasters and the impact of climate change are present. Today, more than two thirds of the global population live in cities with greater levels of inequality than 20 years ago. We acknowledge the notable efforts that are underway to ensure that urban places can overcome challenges to sustainable and inclusive development; while recognizing and commending these efforts, we agreed that much work remains to be done.

The Seventh World Urban Forum, convened by UN-Habitat, gathered 22,000 attendees in Medellin — a city recognized globally for its innovation in sustainable urban development — to search for ways to promote inclusive development in all parts of the world.

Participants at the Seventh World Urban Forum acknowledged that when equity is an integral part of the development agenda, the deep structural problems and challenges of cities can be better addressed. Equity is both a moral obligation and a central element of social justice, and becomes part of transformative change.

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