10th World Urban Forum: State Secretary Pascal Smet presented innovative and sustainable Brussels projects and strategies
From 8 until 13 February 2020, State Secretary Pascal Smet represented the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) at the tenth World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi. The theme of this foremost international gathering, which is organised by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Settlements Programme, was “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation”.
The World Urban Forum helps define cities’ sustainable urban development agenda. The Forum’s inclusive nature, combined with high-level participation, makes it a unique United Nations conference and the premier international gathering on urban issues. It enables cities to exchange views and improve local and regional knowledge about sustainable urbanisation, while promoting exchange and cooperation at a global level.
The theme of the 10th Forum, which took place from 8 until 13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, was “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation”.
Presence and commitment of the Brussels-Capital Region
State Secretary Pascal Smet, who is responsible for Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations and Foreign Trade, represented the BCR at this gathering.
Whether during the ministerial round-table, as a panellist during the satellite event of the Metropolis network and during the networking event of the Chief Architect of the City of Brussels, the State Secretary and the Brussels representatives showcased the BCR’s growing ambition and innovation at the local and international level, as the capital of Europe.
The State Secretary also participated in several project presentations and best practice sharing sessions, as well as in meetings with representatives of UN-Habitat, such as Victor Mokom Kisob, the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Rafael Tuts, the Director of the Programme Division.
Signature of the Voluntary Local Review Declaration
State Secretary Pascal Smet signed the Voluntary Local Review Declaration during a special session organised by UN-Habitat and the City of New York. With this document, the cities commit to report on the progress made in terms of the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), to share best practices and encourage other cities to join the movement.
Innovative and sustainable Brussels projects
The BCR booth showcased Brussels projects with a link to the theme of the 10th forum, i.e., innovative and sustainable solutions for creating inclusive and resilient urban developments as well as participatory and co-building processes, that meet the needs of our society.
They included the Sustainable Neighbourhood Contracts for Primeurs-Pont de Luttre (Divercity project) and “Navez-Portaels” (social housing projects, 2017 Mies van der Rohe Award), the first urban renewal contract for Citroën-Vergote (and the underpass project for the Trooz, Van Praet and Sainctelette bridges), the construction of the pedestrianised zone in the city centre of Brussels, the Tour & Taxis site with the Gare Maritime project or the ZIN project and the redevelopment of the old WTC towers.
Brussels at Expo 2020 Dubai
From 20 October 2020 until 10 April 2021, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be hosting 2020 Expo Dubai on the theme of “Connecting minds, Creating the future”. The Brussels delegation took advantage of this opportunity to visit the Belgian pavilion (that is currently under construction) on the Expo site.