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16 / 09 / 2004
Point of clarification from World Urban Forum

According to the records of the 4,000 registered participants of the World Urban Forum, organised by UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with the Universal Forum of Cultures, no delegate has been known to withdraw from the sessions. Nor have the organisers received any official complaint from any associations or non-governmental organisations.

The basis of the World Urban Forum is open dialogue and discussion. It is not an intergovernmental meeting. Instead it was established as a think tank that does away with the formal rules of procedure that usually govern official UN meetings. The aim is to provide a platform for debate and discussion for everyone from government officials, mayors, academics, non-governmental representatives and slum dwellers.

Over a quarter of the registered participants at the World Urban Forum are from the NGO community. They are clearly in the majority and they have not only been participating in the dialogues but, together with all other participants, were invited to work with the organisation to plan and prepare networking events. For example, members of the Habitat International Coalition, the community of Candeal from Brazil, from Palo Alto in Mexico, from the slum of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya have all participated officially as have many other participants from other NGOs from around the world. In the spirit of the forum, they have been free to discuss a range of topics, from sustainable urbanisation, slum upgrading to eviction free cities. Apart from such official participation, everyone has been free to express their views at all the dialogues and the over 85 networking events.

In ensuring the full participation of all interested parties, the World Urban Forum has been a successful meeting place for the exchange of ideas about urbanisation and in particular how to improve the living conditions of the urban poor all over the world.