Green town focus

The 5th Pacific Urban Forum ended yesterday. Picture: FILE

PROMOTING green towns in accordance with principles of the green economy is a key tool to promoting human rights, says Pacific Islands Development Forum program management team leader Mark Borg.

While speaking at the 5th Pacific Urban Forum side event in Nadi, he said the PIDF had an objective to promote green towns.

He said a green city was more environmentally friendly and brought to mind walking spaces, clean non-fossil fuel vehicles, a city economy powered by renewables, plastic free shopping and eating, abundance of trees and other biodiversity.

“Usually there is little mention of human rights in this narrative but human rights are behind many of these green cities features,” he said.

“It is certainly in our interest to have a healthy lifestyle which many of these changes would contribute to and there are other more rights-significant features of green cities that are not necessarily obvious at first sight.”

He said an example was focusing on green buildings which offered better and safer shelter.

“A better cleaner mobility in our cities would also have human rights’ gains again through health gains not only physical through reduction of pollution, but also mental through reduction of noise pollution and a focus on having an efficient public transport would release the traffic congestions we now experience and this is good for productivity and good for our sanity.”

The side event on “Human rights — a transformative framework for the achievement of SDG11 and the New Urban Agenda” was organised by the United Nations Human Rights Pacific office in partnership with PIDF featuring panellists from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Mr Borg.

The 5th Pacific Urban Forum ended yesterday.

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