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Planning Division

World Urban Forum



Why is Vancouver, Canada considered “the birthplace of UN-HABITAT”?

In 1976, Vancouver, Canada hosted HABITAT, the first United Nations Conference on urban issues that led to the formation of the United Nations Commission on Human Settlement and then the establishment of the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT). Representatives of national governments meet every other year to govern UN-HABITAT and on alternate years convene a World Urban Forum. The first was held in Nairobi (2002), the second in Barcelona (2004), and the third at Vancouver (June 2006). Nanjing, China is hosting the World Urban Forum IV in 2008.

What is the World Urban Forum?

By 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities that today face sustainability challenges. The World Urban Forum has been an international opportunity to share experience in addressing urban sustainability issues such as housing, infrastructure and economic development. They have brought together decision-makers, public and private institutions and experts from around the world to discuss these urban challenges.

What was the theme of the 2006 World Urban Forum?

The main theme for the Vancouver WUF was: Our Future: Sustainable Cities – Turning Ideas into Action. The Forum is organized to highlight three sub-themes:
  1. Urban growth and environment
  2. Partnership and finance
  3. Social inclusion and cohesion

The Vancouver World Urban Forum comprised five days of dialogue sessions, networking events (workshops), and roundtables. A final report for the event can be viewed at:


Networking Events

Networking Events provided participants with an informal atmosphere to share ideas and best practices. The Province of British Columbia was involved in five Networking Events (workshops) that showcased made in B.C. approaches to sustainability.
  • Preserving the Land that Feeds the Cities
    Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, BC Agricultural Land Commission
  • Social Cohesion ― Ensuring the Inclusion of Immigrants and other Newcomers
    Multiculturalism and Immigration Branch, Ministry of Attorney General
  • Local Government Excellence through Collaborative Partnerships
    Local Government Management Association of BC, in partnership with the Ministry of Community Services
  • Measuring Up: The Accessible and Inclusive City
    2010 Legacies Now
  • Urban Aboriginal Diversity: Supporting Communities
    Greater Vancouver Urban Aboriginal Steering Committee and the National Associations of Friendship Centres (in partnership with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation)


Ministry of Community Services Workshop Materials:

As part of the lead up to World Urban Forum, a series of discussion papers were commissioned to promote thinking and dialogue about urban sustainability. Based on its experience in working on the issue of transition in a small town context after industry closure, the Ministry contributed a paper on resiliency (below) as part of the series. All of the papers, and the authors are listed below:


Supporting youth participation and multicultural arts celebration and other events

The provincial government provided resources to help ensure youth from all regions of B.C. were able to participate in the World Youth Forum and the World Urban Forum.

The Province also provided support for the Earth World Urban Festival, the Official Arts and Culture Festival of the World Urban Forum that featured multicultural performances, exhibitions and workshops. The Province also provided funding support for the World Planners Congress

Important Links

World Urban Forum 3 (WUF Canada)


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