Media release

AkzoNobel and Ministry of Foreign Affairs launch Human Cities Coalition

April 20, 2017

Dutch public-private partnership to improve life in mega-cities

Founded by AkzoNobel, the Human Cities Coalition (HCC) brings together more than 150 stakeholders and 20 partners, such as Arcadis, Philips, ABN-AMRO, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Slumdwellers International, to focus on realizing Goal 11 of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals: sustainable cities and communities. Ton Büchner, CEO of AkzoNobel will officially kick off the Human Cities Coalition today with stakeholders across business, government, NGOs and academia. 

Human cities Coalition

Büchner: “One billion people are currently living in slums around the world, and that number is expected to rise to three billion in 2050 as a result of rapid urbanization. AkzoNobel has made cities more liveable and inspiring for years through our Human Cities Initiative. In 2016, we reached more than nine million people. The Human Cities Coalition is a way to make an even bigger difference in society, build sustainable partnerships and generate business opportunities and innovations at the same time.”

Sheela Patel, Chairman Slumdwellers International: “This is the first time we collaborate with the private sector as we believe that this coalition will really bring the voice of the community to the table.”

Inclusive bottom-up approach

The ambition is that millions of people living in slums will benefit from this public-private collaboration. Poor sanitation, slum housing, inadequate basic services and flooding are making megacities unliveable. HCC will focus on building liveable cities together with its partners and address these challenges. HCC recently started work on two pilot projects in Jakarta, Indonesia and Manila, the Philippines, and will then scale up and expand to more cities. 

HCC acts as a catalyst for new innovative solutions, financing mechanisms, basic services delivery and better inclusion of grassroots organizations in urban planning. Using a novel approach in the field of inclusive and sustainable urban development, the coalition will connect bottom-up and top-down processes. HCC invites urban communities to participate as equal partners, and build scalable, commercially viable solutions together with the private sector. Furthermore, HCC aims to use a blended finance model to attract public and private capital. Fleur Henderson and Ronald Lenz, Directors of HCC: “We distinguish ourselves from other urban initiatives by the large role of the private sector in our coalition. We are convinced this will have an enormous impact on the livelihood of the poor”

Building liveable cities together

The HCC launch centers around the theme: “Building liveable cities together”. The event will include a keynote from Büchner who will speak about working together to improve life in slums, Jan Peter Balkenende, Chairman of the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition and contributions from panelists such as Christine Musisi, Director for External Relations of UN-Habitat and Gert Kroon, CEO of Arcadis in the Netherlands. More information about the program is available here

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