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World Urban Campaign, Sponsored by GDF Suez & Veolia, Wants a Cities SDG

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- UN HABITAT unveiled "The City We Need" booklet on Tuesday at the UN, in advance of an event at the nearby Ford Foundation.

  Inner City Press, when able, asked about the corporate sponsors listed in the booklet, including GDF Suez (protested for example about a hydro-electric dam in Brazil), Siemens (Western Sahara) and Veolia, a French firm recently contracted on Syria chemical weapons which does business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

After thanking the panel including HABITAT's Joan Clos on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access, Inner City Press asked: how were these corporate sponsored vetted?

  The answer, from Nick Yu of the World Urban Campaign, was as is so often the case at the UN that the private sector is important, is a stakeholder. Yes, but what about these particular companies? What is the process? And what is their involvement, beyond paying to be listed in promotional materials?

A goal of the campaign seems to be to try to get a holistic "Cities" Sustainable Development Goal. Inner City Press has reported on a similar move, involving Palau, to get an Oceans SDG. The list is growing.

A panelist who was also a New Yorker, Eugenie Birch, answered Inner City Press question about the last and the current New York City mayors. Bill de Blasio, Birch said, is a corrective on issues of affordable housing and free kindergarten (what about pre-K?). Michael Bloomberg, whose meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to be summarized by the UN as Inner City Press has requested, will be at the Ford Foundation. Watch this site.


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