He says: “The time has come to face the facts. The urban environment is deteriorating: at least 600 million people, for the most part in developing countries, live in insalubrious housing. At least one third of the world’s citydwellers live in inadequate housing conditions”. (Read more on urbanism).
He says also: ”We need, as a society, in nations large and small, things that bind us together rather than divide us. We need that cement of human solidarity”.
Listen to his five minutes video on Big-Picture.
Wally N’Dow – Gambia
And he says: “If you look at the sum total of all our collective endeavours for human welfare, you realise that unless you have a functioning human habitat, you can’t do anything much, for instance, with education – there’s no housing. You can not do anything about health, clean water, you cannot do anything about physical security of people, you cannot do anything at all – at all – about democracy and civic responsibility when these places fail”. (Read the whole interview on Global Vision).
He has worked with the United Nations in Africa for more than 25 years. He is the former Secretary General of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and is Co-chair of the State of the World Forum. Speaking at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, Dr N’Dow talks about the need to reduce the ecological footprint of the world’s cities. With regards to sustainable development worldwide, he speaks about the emergence of a culture of collaboration; one that is slowly replacing old patterns of competition and contest. He sees a significant shift happening as civil society and NGOs form partnerships across national boundaries. This has created an environment of unprecedented cooperation and opportunity, he notes, as different communities share their various problems. He ends with an inspiring vision for the 21st century. (Read all on Big-Picture).
I am here representing not only the UN-because I’m still a staff member of the United Nations, on special leave and engaging with the State of the World Forum – I’m also with a colleague who has her own spiritual journey and organization, Mrs. Audrey Kitagawa from Hawaii. Mrs. Kitagawa is here to help me coordinate the State of the World Conference that will take place in New York in September. You will see material from her organization being displayed on the literature table. I am here to announce the good message and the good news that civil society, including spiritual civil society, is being asked and expected to come to that rendezvous of ideas and civilization to which reference has been made. And that this group and groups like it all over the world today are being engaged in new and original ways to put at the foundation of that cosmic effort, the spiritual dimension. (Read more on Aquarian Age Community).
Excerpt: But I do want to reiterate that unless we take the steps essential to help reduce and ultimately eradicate the grinding poverty that afflicts so much of humanity, unless we start a process that will significantly expand productive employment, unless we move vigorously and decisively to do away with the disaffection that now tears at society, we may well doom the new century to even greater alienation, more social conflict and wider human suffering than anything we have experienced up to now. In a world irrevocably bound up in every aspect of its planetary life – from the economy to information to the environment – failure is an outcome we dare not chance. I speak to you today in my capacity as Secretary-General of Habitat II, the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, that will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in June 1996. And I know I speak for our host country in extending a most cordial invitation to everyone here to join us 16 months from now in what will be both the last of a remarkable continuum of United Nations Conferences held in the decade of the 90’s and, indeed, the last UN Conference of the century. (Read more on un.org).
In the field of human settlements, it is particularly crucial today that the solutions we seek and apply include the contribution of the private sector. Today, more than ever before in the past, this contribution is indispensable because governments are no longer in a position to provide the means, they are no longer able to claim that they alone hold the vision for the future of human society, and they are no longer able to continue the advocacy all on their own in support of improving living conditions of people. The private sector has more than just a role to provide resources–that’s important but not all. Think of a working city, a town, a neighborhood in a big city, the townships. It is the private sector that provides the industries, the jobs and livelihood to the people and therefore an important component to human development. When jobs disappear, when the private sector isn’t active, you immediately see a breakdown in social relationships. the social peace is broken because people don’t have livelihoods, there is social exclusion and tension so that human settlement will not work. That’s one. The private sector does most of the research and development work whether it is in the field of energy, transportation, the environment, they build the roads and infrastructure. They build the housing as well in many parts of the world so how can you discuss the future of the cities of towns and mega-cities and say the private sector does not have a contribution to make….a contribution in ideas now, this time, not just a contribution in resources. So we have arrived that this point where in terms of seeking sustainable human features, the human settlements dimension–how we live, how we are going to live in this organized 21st century. We have got to a point where we cannot not partner with the private sector and as governments, as the civil society, as NGO’s, but also as people active in international development such as the UN. That is what Istanbul tried to convey. (Read the whole interview on women’s group).
Gorbachev, Queen Noor and N’Dow Open the Forum to the Beat of Many Drummers. (read all on simulconference).
International Conference on Governance for Sustainable Growth and Equity;
State of the World Forum’s Charity Navigator;
Earth Negotiations Bulletin, Vol 11 … ;