Harmony and Balance in all Cities now!


Chairperson, your excellencies and participants.

There are civil society organizations present at the 4th. World Urban Forum, perhaps not as many and as diverse, as this Forum deserves. You will have the opportunity to receive their perspectives, demands and messages on the challenge of harmonious urbanization through the networking events and all the other events of the Forum. Civil society is diverse and so are their perspectives, demands and messages.

The view I would like to share from my own global organization, Habitat International Coalition, founded in 1976, is inspired by a principle of Chinese thought. It is the Ying-Yang principle of the two great opposite but complimentary forces at work in the cosmos and society. Ying-Yang symbolizes that there are two sides to everything: no light without dark, no day without night, no good without bad–and likewise, no harmony without balance. Harmony and balance are mutually interdependent.

There is, as you know, gross social imbalance prevalent at the local, national and global levels, in the form of inequalities. To meet the challenge of harmonious urbanization would demand:

The realization of human well-being, that is, the health, safety and security of the many, rather than the few everywhere.

Greater participation of people in shaping and sharing power and to exercise their voice in decision making processes at all levels, including the reform of our political systems toward this end.

More equitable distribution of wealth and wider participation in its creation, and serious regulation of the market, including the stringent regulation of the global financial market.

Greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and democracy, and definite stop of ever increasing forced evictions of people and the dispossession of their assets.

Unprecedented demonstration of rectitude or ethical conduct by decision makers at the local, national and global levels, and show real evidence of transparency and accountability, ending corruption and the culture of impunity.

Realizing harmonious urbanization implies that the social imbalance must be addressed across gender,class, race, ethnicity,generations, and across the North-South divide.

History tells us that social imbalance begets social disharmony. Let us resolve to collaborate as individuals and collective actors–governmental and nongovernmental,in the local, national and global social processes, toward a just social balance, so that, just social harmony may emerge, but in a way that sustains the ecological balance of the built and natural environments. Our call is for Harmony and Balance in all Cities now! The Ying-Yang principle if acted upon in this manner may show the way.

I thank you for you attention.