For centuries, urban areas have served as the cradles of innovation. While this distinction endures, urban areas now provide the home for over half the world’s population and produce close to three quarters of the world’s GDP. Their lure and capacity to serve as an engine for economic growth, however, fosters not only the advantages but also the stress of globalization, population growth and migration. Furthermore, as centers for population and development, cities must address the consequences of environmental degradation including climate change; and, social inequalities, including poverty and unemployment. It is no wonder that the United Nations Secretary-General claimed that “sustainable cities are crucial to our future well-being.
As powerful centers of a complex society, cities must be sustainable. To this end, the UNITAR New York Office will hold a half-day workshop in collaboration with IBM during the lead up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro on 18 June. The workshop’s agenda will also draw on expertise from the United Nations—including the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)—and top IBM Smarter Cities subject matter experts.