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AkzoNobel Launches Human Cities Coalition to Create Inclusive, Sustainable Cities of the Future

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires extensive cooperation with a long-term vision, which is why AkzoNobel has brought together more than 150 stakeholders and 20 partners, including Arcadis, Philips, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Slumdwellers International to launch the Human Cities Coalition (HCC). Together, they will focus on realizing SDG 11 — sustainable cities and communities — through innovation projects, financial mechanisms and collaboration with grassroots organizations.

“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 livable and inspiring for years though our Human Cities Initiative. In 2016, we reached more than nine million people,” said Ton Büchner, CEO of AkzoNobel.

“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.”

HCC will serve as a catalyst for developing 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, which encourage urban communities to build scalable, commercially viable solutions together with the private sector.

“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,” said Fleur Henderson and Ronald Lenz, Directors of HCC.

As the world becomes increasingly more urbanized, cities will need to find new ways to create inspiring, welcoming spaces that put citizens’ health and well-being first. Collaboration with locals and the urban poor is a core element to HCC’s approach and the key to sustainable growth. “We know our cities. We know our priorities because we live there day and night,” said Emily Moholo of the Management Committee South Africa.