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World Citizens To Debate Urban Sustainability Online, Dec. 1-3, 2005

Habitat JAM, an unprecedented online global dialogue on urban sustainability, will be held for 72 hours from 1-3 December, 2005. Sponsored by the Government of Canada, in partnership with UN-HABITAT and IBM, the Habitat JAM promises to engage, empower and stimulate tens of thousands of global citizens, rich and less fortunate alike, with the ultimate goal of turning ideas into action on critical issues related to urban sustainability. The Habitat JAM is a preparatory event to the third session of the World Urban Forum being held in Vancouver in June 2006. The World Urban Forum is an initiative of the United Nations Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) held every two years to debate ideas and issues about sustainable development in today’s context of rapid urbanization. Topics for discussion will include improving the lives of people living in slums, access to water, environmental sustainability, safety and security, finance and governance, and the future of our cities. The Habitat JAM will bring together academics and students, planners and builders, politicians, governments, the private sector and ordinary citizens from across the globe in real time, all contributing ideas and expertise during the 72-hour global problem-solving session. Moderators will include government leaders, renowned experts, and key thinkers. To ensure the most inclusive event possible, grass root organizations, institutions, women, youth groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are helping to bring people to the technology who might otherwise not have access or opportunity to share their experiences and ideas with others around the world. To name just a few examples, the Habitat JAM is teaming with the:

* World Bank Institute to offer access to many of their satellite-based Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) to enable people living in regions with inadequate or no Internet access to participate in the Habitat JAM.
* Huairou Commission and GROOTS Canada to bring the voice of non-English speaking women into the Habitat JAM.
* World Urban Forum and Youth Organizing Committee (WUFY) who will hold over a dozen World Urban Cafe JAM Sessions to engage communities in slums and impoverished human settlements in Asia, Africa, India and Latin America.

For additional information on Habitat JAM and to register for the event, visit www.habitatjam.com.

Amy Lang
Amy Lang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia. She wrote her dissertation on British Columbia’s groundbreaking Citizens’ Assembly process, and is currently doing follow-up research on the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly.

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