Expert group meeting on bridging the urban divide in the ESCWA region: Towards inclusive cities Skip to main content

Expert group meeting on bridging the urban divide in the ESCWA region: Towards inclusive cities


The urban divide is one of the major paradoxes of our times. As the number of people living in urban areas has crossed the 50 percent threshold and is projected to reach 70 percent in 2050, cities worldwide are becoming hubs of complexities and contradictions. On the one hand, they are the centres of wealth and the engines of economic opportunities and growth. On the other hand, they are often stricken with poverty and deprivation. The “urban advantage” that most people seek in cities is often available only to those who are able to get access to adequate housing, social services and job opportunities. However, for a large number of urban dwellers the advantage of a city location is never realized due to gaping urban inequalities and steep invisible barriers. Unless serious action is taken to address the growing economic, social, political and cultural inequalities, the disparity between those who ‘have’ and those who ‘have not’ will broaden in many cities across the world.
In this context, the Social Development Division (SDD) will be hosting on 25-26 November 2010 an Expert Group Meeting entitled “Bridging the Urban Divide in the ESCWA Region: Towards Inclusive Cities”, which will bring together a number of  national and regional urban development experts, practitioners, decision-makers,  UN agency representatives as well as representatives from key regional organizations.

The meeting aims to discuss issues related to growing urban inequalities and social divisions in the ESCWA region, share lessons from experience and provide policy recommendations to concerned central and local governments.  It will focus on three thematic areas, namely: (1) Unbalanced Growth and the Challenge of Inclusive Development; (2) Urban Dualities and the Role of Urban Planning and Management; and (3) Urban Poverty and Targeted Development Initiatives.