“It is estimated that two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, so the development of sustainable urbanism is imperative, not just a political goal of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM),” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at the beginning of the third UfM ministerial conference.
“This framework of political cooperation is extremely important for peace, stability, economic, cultural and transport cooperation, but also an opportunity to jointly try to find solutions to urban development issues,” said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in his opening address.
Zagreb is hosting the third ministerial conference of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) on sustainable urban development. The previous ones were held in 2011 in Strasbourg and in 2017 in Cairo.
“The Mediterranean is the cradle of numerous civilizations, a unique area of exchange and cooperation between Europe, Asia and Africa. What we have in common is the impact of climate change, high population concentration in coastal areas, openness to tourism, exposure to sea pollution and unsustainable use of natural resources,” Plenković said.
UfM is an intergovernmental institution that includes a total of 43 countries - 27 member states of the European Union and 15 countries of North Africa and the Middle East.
"Sustainable urbanism is imperative"
By 2050, two thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas.
“Sustainable urban planning is imperative, not just a political goal of the Union for the Mediterranean,” said the Prime Minister.
The host, Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property, Branko Bačić, said that "the reason for creating an alliance like the Union for the Mediterranean does not stem from our heritage, but from the contemporary challenges we are faced with that require urgent action and responsibility towards space".
The third ministerial conference also deals with the housing issue.
“The increase in construction prices that we are seeing in Croatia and the particularly significant increase in housing prices require additional efforts by public authorities to find additional ways to ensure accessible and affordable housing,” Bačić said.
“Croatia is implementing a program to encourage housing through which around 8,800 apartments were built and a program to subsidize housing loans, primarily for young people,” Bačić added.
The Union for the Mediterranean is currently co-chaired by the European Commission and Jordan.
A platform for dialogue
European Commission Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira welcomed the Union for the Mediterranean as a unique platform for dialogue and is convinced that the work of the ministerial conferences will contribute to the implementation of the goals of the UN Sustainable Development Program until 2030.
“Cities are centers of innovation, inspiration and action,” said Ferreira, adding that cities will play a key role in the fight against climate change.
Spatial planning ministers presented a common urban agenda five years ago, and then adopted the "Strategic Action Plan for Urban Development until 2040".
Ministers from the relevant sectors will determine in Zagreb today whether progress has been made since the last meeting in Cairo.
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