World Bank Consultation in Australia Highlights Importance of Sustainable Urban Planning in Pacific Islands

22 February 2010: The World Bank office in Sydney, Australia, held a civil society consultation on the World Bank's proposed new Environment Strategy, on 22 February 2010. Stakeholders at the consultation highlighted the importance of urban planning in countries that are especially vulnerable to climate change, such as the low-lying atoll nation of Kiribati.

The meeting included representatives from local and international non-government organizations (NGOs), academia and the private sector. A recurring theme during the discussion was the call for the Bank's new Environmental Strategy to solve multiple equations and to be incorporated into a wide variety of sectors. Specifically, looking at the Pacific region, participants stressed the need to link environmental sustainability with cultural sustainability. Noting a strong trend towards urban drift, consensus emerged amongst civil society representatives that education campaigns ought to be factored in to keep people living culturally enriched lives in rural areas, thereby reducing the pressure placed on urban environments due to over-population. The consultation was a first step in the early stages of the strategy's development, and participants indicated they looked forward to a continued dialogue. [IISD RS Sources] [Environment 2010 Consultation Meetings]