Sixth World Urban Forum

Naples, Italy, 2 – 7 September 2012

Naples, the capital of the Campania Region in Italy, hosted the 6th World Urban Forum with the theme “the urban future” from 2nd to 7th September 2012. It was reported that a total of 8,271 participants from 152 countries attended this biennial event. Participants came from all segments of society including national, regional and local government, parliamentarians, multilateral organizations, civil society organizations, academia and research organizations, private sectors and United Nations agencies.

Some of the personalities from within the FIG community that was seen at the Forum included Honorary President Prof. Stig Enemark (Denmark); FIG Foundation President John Hohol (United States); FIG Young Surveyors Network Chair Kate Fairlie (Australia) and Secretary Eva-Maria Unger (Austria); FIG Task Force for Africa Chair Dr. Diane Dumashie (United Kingdom); University of Twente’s Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen (The Netherlands); FIG’s incoming Vice President Bruno Razza (Italy) and Commission 3 Chair-elect Enrico Rispoli (Italy); Italy’s Consiglio Nazionale Geometri e Geometri Laureti President Fausto Savoldi and International Director Maria Scorza as well as United Kingdom’s Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor’s Senior Vice President Louise Brooke-Smith and John Tracey White.

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Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

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John Hohol [L] FIG Foundation President & Stig Enemark [R] FIG Honorary President.

The Forum was held in the context where some fifty percent of the world’s population are currently living in urban areas often in inequitable condition. This urban population is projected to increase to sixty percent of all humanity by 2030. There is also the growing urban young, estimated to increase to sixty percent of all urban dwellers by 2030. Hence at this sixth session, the focus were on urban planning: institutions and regulations, including the improvement of quality of life; equity and prosperity: distribution of wealth and opportunities; productive cities: competitive and innovative cities; and urban mobility, energy & environment. In his opening speech, UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos said the Forum provided UN-HABITAT with the perfect chance to listen to what the stakeholders had to say and that it is the responsibility of his agency to relay to governments what the participants wanted done.

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FIG Young Surveyors Network’s Kate Fairlie & Eva-Maria

FIG Young Surveyors Network through Kate Fairlie and Eva-Maria Unger actively participated in the Forum, in particular, the Youth Assembly as well as the roundtable on Youth confirming that the younger and the youth have relationships with land. Both participated and assisted in the drafting of the WUF6 Youth Statement and the help to feature the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) within the Youth Statement. In this regard, the younger and the youth amongst our surveying fraternity has a role in communicating, piloting and up-scaling the Social Tenure Domain Model towards securing land and property rights for all.

Uganda showcased a new land record system at this Forum designed to ensure that land rights of the poor are enshrined and respected in towns and cities across the country. HE Daudi Migereko, Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development of Uganda explained how the country had used the STDM in capturing and registering the relationship to land of informal settlers in Mbale. The FIG Foundation also supported this pilot project in the Ugandan southwestern town of Mbale led by the Global Land Tool Network of UN-Habitat. (The Foundation made a token financial and technical contribution where FIG Platinum Corporate Member, Trimble Navigation, provided the GNSS/mapping technology and access to technical support through the Foundation).

At the Global Land Tool Network Roundtable with the theme “Celebrating the Recognition of a Range of Land Rights: Taking Stock and Moving Forward”, FIG President CheeHai TEO said that the Continuum of Land Rights has provided an “initial point of entry” for many jurisdictions and allowed many more to begin the journey towards secure tenure rights for all. These are reasons enough to celebrate. He opined that as the quest for secure tenure rights for all continues, GLTN should look beyond rights. With secure tenure rights, there will be responsibilities. Hence there would be a series of continuum within this continuum of land rights.

FIG President observed that the Profession has the competence to contribute significantly, is contributing and has the courage to take upon this complex technical component in this “Continuum”. Hence the Profession should not complicate further that which is already complex, rather to contribute in the development and implementation of more “fit-for-purpose” approaches, taking into consideration context, scale and opportunity. He opined that the Profession must remain resolute in this contribution.

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Lantmateriet of Sweden, an Affiliate Member of FIG had a “Networking Session” within the Forum and had invited FIG President CheeHai Teo to make a presentation. The session was titled “Land Administration and Sustainable Economic Development” and in his presentation, the FIG President reiterated that land administration and management must be intentional and now generational. It needs sound land policies, good and trusted land information, together with efficient and collaborating institutions, effective land administration and management leads to informed decisions that will address the challenges of sustainable access to land, secure tenure rights, adequate shelter, infrastructure, basic services and thus sustainable development. Land administration is about people to land relationship and must be sensitive to the disadvantaged. Going forward, it needs to consider the succeeding generation that has hopes and aspirations, that has at times demonstrated and demanded, a segment in society who are in touch with current realities. Given the current challenges and scenarios, bold and creative approaches are necessary and land administration and management is not spared this need for boldness and innovativeness.

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Some of the key messages that came out of the sixth session of the World Urban Forum include:

  • To attain sustainability, it is essential to strengthen participatory approaches to assure inclusive ownership of the urban development process;
  • Legal and regulatory frameworks aimed at giving access to land for the urban poor should be based on clear understanding of how urban land markets work;
  • The need to recognize the strong positive link between urbanization and development;
  • Urgent attention be given to the urban economy especially job creation with deliberate effort to empower women and youth initiatives in designing job creation proposals at all times; and
  • A call for a new approach in providing adequate and affordable housing.

At the closing ceremony, it was announced that the city of Medellin in Columbia would host the seventh session of the World Urban Forum in 2014.

CheeHai TEO
September 2012

5 October 2012