Organised biannually, the World Urban Forum is the premier global event with a focus on urban development. The first edition was held in Nairobi in 2002. To date, the Forum was held i.a. in Vancouver, Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi, attracting attendants from all over the world, their numbers ranging from several to as many as twenty thousand. UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlements Programme) is the WUF’s concept author and lead organiser.
For the first time in WUF history, the event will be held in the Polish city of Katowice on 26-30 June 2022. “Changing Our Cities for a Better Future” has been chosen as the Polish WUF edition’s leitmotiv.
In early 2022, the Association offered cities and towns an option of joining a series of World Urban Forum preparation seminars, designed to provide representatives of cities and towns with knowledge regarding issues of associated with this year’s focal World Urban Forum themes. “These meetings will allow us to identify and discuss essential matters which might be presented by representatives of Polish municipalities, and pinpoint individuals who can be coached and potentially notified by the Association as attendants of assorted themed events at the World Urban Forum proper in June this year,” reads the invitation sent out to cities and towns by Executive Director of the Office of the Association of Polish Cities Andrzej Porawski.
The second online seminar organised as part of the series will be held on 11 May 2022 at a studio hub in Gdynia, with a focus on Gdynia – CITIES AND TOWNS OF TOMORROW – DIALOGUE AND JOINT GOVERNANCE IN TIMES OF MULTIPLE CHALLENGES. An unquestioned civic society leader, Gdynia will host the meeting. For years, the city has been a multiple-time winner of LivCom Awards, a competition focusing on best international practices in the field of local environment and development governance. Over 160 cities worldwide were analysed under the most recent LivCom Awards edition. Gdynia was the only Polish city to make the top 22, ultimately (yet again) awarded 3rd place (bronze) in the urban project category. “Gdynia as a Model Clean Living Quality” focused on issues essential to any city worldwide: green areas, art and culture, healthcare and solutions supporting local residents. Gdynia’s fellow finalists included cities from i.a. the United Kingdom, China, Turkey, Japan and New Zealand.
The World Urban Forum preparation seminar agenda will include the experience of other cities exploring the theme of building civic attitudes and their significance in the context of contemporary challenges, including Ukrainian refugee influx. It will be also an opportunity to discuss methods of preventing disinformation and crisis response mechanisms.
The Association of Polish Cities succeeded in securing a World Urban Forum Accompanying Event status for the preparation seminar series.
It is noteworthy that the series of seminars is delivered as part of the “Local Development”
Programme implemented by the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy within the framework of the 3rd edition of Norway and European Economic Area Grants. The Local Development Forum is an open platform introduced by the Association of Polish Cities for purposes of debates with contributions from local governments, the central government and experts, combined with an integrated activity package designed to promote attitudes and tools supporting sustainable and endogenic local development.