United Nations Conference Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Quito, Ecuador

Excellences, Mayors, Dear colleagues and friends,

I am here representing the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation. I am also here as coordinator of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, an initiative launched 20 years ago at HABITAT II in Istanbul by UNDP and UN HABITAT.

Many of the speakers over the past few days have noted the importance of South-South Cooperation in achieving the New Urban Agenda. We could not agree more. Most urban infrastructure today is modeled in response to rapidly urbanizing societies that emerged after the industrial revolution. While some of the systems that were built, and which remain today, indeed improved standards of living, it is clear that the city of the future in both the north and in the south must be a city modeled on innovations emerging in the cities of the South.

To help showcase these solutions, UNOSSC has, for the past 8 years, held its annual United Nations Global South-South Development Expo — an annual celebration and showcasing of Southern Innovations in tackling southern poverty challenges.   This year’s Expo takes place next week in Dubai, with the generous support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, through its Zayed International Foundation for the Environment, and in conjunction with more than 20 UN agencies and partners.

Since its inception in 2008, the GSSD Expo has actively showcased and promoted best practices from hundreds of partner countries, United Nations agencies, private-sector enterprises and civil society organizations. Past expos have taken place in New York, Washington, DC, Vienna, Geneva, Rome and Nairobi.

This year’s Expo comes within the context of Agenda 2030 and its sustainable development goals. Beginning in Dubai, the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, which organizes the Expo, will highlight and promote the ways that developing countries themselves are meeting the challenges of the SDGs, including that of Goal 11 to create cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

In closing, it is my pleasure to announce the support and endorsement of both UNOSSC and the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty for the ambitious and inclusive New Urban Agenda. Let us all work diligently towards achieving a world where all the details of this document become our new reality.

Excellences, Mayors, Dear colleagues and friends: thank you for your attention.