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Brussels, 2 Dec 13

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, discussing the role of cities in the battle against climate change and poverty during European Development Days 2013 (picture ©European Commission)
Concluding two days of dialogue and exchange on possible options for the post-2015 development framework, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson exhorted European Development Days participants to "adapt to the new global landscape", including communication and information, migration, urbanisation and youth unemployment.

The role of urbanisation as a driver for socio-economic transformation has been increasingly recognised over the last year by European institutions dealing with territorial cohesion, environment and foreign policy. The importance of urbanisation has also started to be acknowledged by the European development and cooperation community, as demonstrated by this year's European Development Days, the European Commission's platform on international cooperation issues.

At the invitation of European Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira strongly advocated for a greater focus on the role of cities in addressing both the challenges of climate change and poverty eradication.

Important partners have come to recognise the specific contribution of local and regional authorities in driving a "place-based" approach to development. UN-Habitat good practice was emphasised by Ms Eva Joly, Chair of the European Parliament Development Committee, who made specific reference to the Organisation's projects carried out in Syria. 

The value of culture and creativity in urban development was also explored as an emerging topic with reference to initiatives undertaken in both Nairobi, Kenya and Medellin, Colombia which will host the World Urban Forum in April 2014. These and other cities' success is especially linked to their ability to develop trust, respect, confidence, and a sense of identity by intervening in the allocation of public space.

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