The fifth World Urban Forum (WUF-5), which took place from 22-26 March 2010, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, under the theme “The Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide,” was hosted by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Brazil. The event gathered a record of over 13,700 participants from 150 countries to discuss issues related to the sustainability of cities in the context of rapid urbanization, and a changing climate and environment. During the forum, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka unveiled the World Urban Campaign, which will provide a platform for action for local communities, neighborhoods and leaders to promote democracy and human rights, and enhance global health, food security and energy efficiency.

On 23 March, congress members of several countries participated in a debate on “Parliamentarians of the world about climate changes and human settlements,” coordinated by Peter Goetz, President of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat. On 25 March, participants engaged in a dialogue on "Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate," during which they addressed broad concepts and ideas, and then held thematic open debates on: “Sustainable urbanization: cities in a changing climate,” which presented policies and practices that cities, governments and communities around the world are embracing to address the challenges of climate change; “Reducing vulnerabilities to climate change,” which stressed the need to address climate change impacts within a framework that acknowledges the presence of the urban divide and embraces social inclusiveness; and “Promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities,” which addressed how cities can reduce their carbon footprint and effectively engage the informal sector in low carbon economic growth, while fostering inclusive economic development.

UN-HABITAT, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank jointly launched a Global Greenhouse Gas Standard for cities, which will provide a global and harmonized protocol for quantifying the amount of greenhouse gases emissions attributable to cities and local regions. It is expected that this common methodology for calculating GHG emissions on a per capita basis will support policy and access to finance, allowing cities to compare their performances.

During the closing ceremony, Tibaijuka called on governments and leaders at all levels to “provide the requisite resources and to make investments that will provide sustainable cities in a changing climate.” Participants also considered the recommendations from the World Urban Forum, which will be presented to the UN-HABITAT Ministerial Governing Council, a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2011. The Rio Declaration endorsed by participants outlines recommendations related to the need to promote civil society participation and governance to build inclusive policies and cities. The sixth World Urban Forum will be hosted by the Government of Bahrain in 2012.

Links to further information

World Urban Forum-5

UN-HABITAT Executive Director's speech