MEDELLIN, Colombia - Mayors of 39 world capitals pledged Monday to build cities for life that are more equal and capable of responding to "new vulnerabilities" arising from climate change.
At 'Cities for Life', a two-day forum held in the Colombian city of Medellin, the participants adopted a 14-point declaration which stated, "freedom, peace and human rights are the foundations of the cities for life", and pledged to apply this concept to projects in their respective cities.
Carolina Barco, Coordinator of the Sustainable Emerging Cities Platform at the Inter-American Development Bank, moderated the plenary session of the forum and summarized its main conclusions, stressing on the importance of collaboration between cities.
"Collaboration between cities is vital. That is what has brought us here together and resulted in a broad-ranging, generous response," said Barco.
According to Barco, who served as Foreign Minister of Colombia between 2002 and 2006, declaration gave priority to the creation of "educating, inclusive cities which respond to problems of inequality that especially affect Latin America, with its poverty levels."
The mayors also emphasized the construction of cities for peace with a robust judicial system and in which "human rights are respected" to confront new challenges including "modern day slavery, human-trafficking and drug-trafficking."
The document also highlights cities designed to respond to "new vulnerabilities" arising from the effects of climate change and the importance of risk-mitigation.
The participants expressed interest in promoting sources of employment and the importance of public spaces and urban mobility for creating cities that are "closer and compact."
In the closing address of the first day, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille urged her counterparts to not focus solely on the physical transformation of cities or on making them cleaner, but also on economic growth and forming democratic governments.
Lille highlighted the development of the co-creation platform "platform.citiesfor.life", which will be used to analyze specific urban challenges and receive proposals for solutions from the global community.
The platform will also include a bank of successful innovation experiences as part of the Cities for Life ecosystem in order to create action plans for cities.
In 2013, Medellin won the "Innovative City of the Year" competition, organized by The Wall Street Journal and Citigroup.
"Cities for Life" is led by the Mayor's Office of Medellin, Ruta N Centre of Innovation and Business and is supported by UN-Habitat, World Bank and the CAF Development Bank of Latin America, among others.