By 2050, nearly three-quarters of the global population will live in cities. This is one of the biggest sustainability challenges and opportunities facing humanity. This week I’ve had the privilege of discussing this megatrend at the World Cities Summit in Singapore with city leaders and other key voices on urban development and sustainability.
As I said today in the Summit’s Opening Plenary, my view is clear: if we don’t make cities sustainable, the world will not be sustainable. This is our call to action that will require all stakeholders working together.
Singapore couldn’t be a more apt location for these discussions. Asia is home to a significant number of the world’s largest and fastest growing cities, and in many of these cities resources are being stretched to the limit. This isn’t the case in Singapore. Singapore is a showcase for smart solutions to sustainability and resource efficiency challenges, such as state-of-the-art water management technology allowing wastewater to be collected and reused to produce drinking water, and electronic road pricing to help manage road congestion. Singapore is also working closely with businesses in addressing these challenges, such as a collaboration with Siemens to identify CO2 reduction opportunities in transport, housing and IT.
This collaborative approach with business is key – and we at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) believe that businesses are a vital player in ensuring that a sustainable future can be achieved for urban areas all over the planet.
A key question asked in today’s session at the World Cities Summit was: ‘Can cities create their own sustainable pathways?’ In my view, they absolutely can. Recently, WBCSD’s Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII) released a report which studied ten cities and their sustainability goals. Six of the cities were in Asia – India, China and Japan – reflecting our desire to focus on this rapidly developing continent. The UII project explored how city leaders, such as those attending the World Cities Summit Mayors’ Forum, can engage with businesses early in the planning process to tap into their expertise to identify sustainable infrastructure solutions. For cities to become efficient and resilient, this dialogue is crucial.
NB: Press Cutting Service
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat