That was the message delivered by AkzoNobel CEO Ton Büchner this week when he delivered the opening address at the On the Road to Habitat III Netherlands Stakeholders Meeting, held in Amsterdam.
The two-day meeting was designed to help prepare a substantial Dutch contribution to Habitat 3’s New Urban Agenda. Due to be unveiled in Quito, Ecuador, next October, this agenda will set a new global strategy around urbanization for the next two decades.
“AkzoNobel is delighted to be facilitating this event, which focuses on an area we also have a keen interest in,” he said. “There is a lot of work to be done, but we’ll only come up with the answers by working together.”
He added that Dutch companies have a lot to contribute to Habitat 3 in areas such as land administration, technical solutions for infrastructure and financing.
The meeting was attended by a number of influential stakeholders, including Kees Rade from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, Kitty van der Heijden (World Resources Institute, Brussels) and Enrica Duncan (Our Cities, Rio de Janeiro).
They also heard from AkzoNobel’s Corporate Director of Sustainability, André Veneman, who took the opportunity to highlight the company’s own Human Cities initiative.
“The objectives of Habitat 3 have much in common with our own aims when it comes to improving urban environments,” he explained. “With urbanization set to continue at a rapid pace, we are united in the belief that we need to put people at the center of how we improve our cities by asking them what they want. Because by focusing on the human aspects, we will lay the foundations for our cities to grow faster and become more successful.”
The UN stages its Habitat conference on housing and sustainable urban development every 20 years. The Habitat 3 event in Quito will build on the agenda unveiled in Instanbul in 1996 in order to produce a new, forward-looking and action-oriented agenda.