HABITAT III – Official side event

The Future of Tropical Cities

Panel discussion at Habitat III – Quito, Ecuador

 Thursday, 20th October 2016, 12.30–1.30pm,  Room R4, Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana


Population growth and urbanization rates in the world’s tropical zone are significantly greater than those outside the region. Such major transformative trends, alongside large infrastructure deficits, high rates of poverty and inequality, and limited technical capacity, present major challenges for sustainable urban development in the tropics. Higher heat and humidity, a greater burden of pests and diseases, extreme weather events, and the increasing ecological footprint of urban areas alongside the world’s most biodiverse and unique ecosystems, add further to the hurdles faced by tropical nations. Furthermore, climate change is set to disproportionately impact the tropics. Communities in equatorial regions are set to experience hotter and wetter climatic conditions than have existed at any other time during human history, while the latitudinal expansion of the tropics is set to bring tropical conditions to more regions. How urban sustainability challenges are addressed in the tropics will be critical to the successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This event brings together leading experts from across the tropics to discuss urban sustainability issues in the region. The discussion will explore issues that are especially relevant to the tropics and explore the importance of tropical cities in the global development agenda. It will highlight initiatives and strategies developed by tropical cities to increase sustainability, prosperity and equality and how these may be more broadly applied to other parts of the tropics and beyond.




Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira

Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for the United Nations Human Settlements Program

Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of the Republic of Rwanda is the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General providing critical leadership to promote sustainable cities and human settlements globally. Previously, Dr. Kacyira held various government positions including as Governor of the Eastern Province of Rwanda, Mayor of Kigali and an Elected Member of Parliament. Dr. Kacyira is also a former President of the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities, former President of the Eastern African Association of Local Government Authorities, and former Vice President of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.


Ian Atkinson

Professor Ian Atkinson

Director of the eResearch Centre, James Cook University

Professor Ian Atkinson is a Tropical Leader and Director of the eResearch Centre at James Cook University, Australia. Over the past decade the rapid expansion of the Internet, mass data storage and computing has impacted every area of research and academic activity. With a background in high-performance computing and as Director of the JCU eResearch Centre he has the privilege of working with researchers to apply new and ever changing ICT tools and methods to their research and amplifying their impacts. He has a long-standing interest in eResearch methods, tools, scientific data management and user interfaces for High Performance Computing tools. He is also actively involved in researching how new systems and software can connect the physical and virtual worlds, particularly focusing on environmental monitoring with sensor networks and the development of sustainable smart cities.


Dr Enrique Silva

Lecturer in Urban Planning & Design, Harvard University Graduate School of Design 

Enrique R. Silva is the Senior Research Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) program at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP). At the Lincoln Institute, he is responsible for overseeing the LAC research portfolio and its relationship with the larger educational and policy initiatives of the program and Institute. Silva supervises research that ranges from land-based fiscal instruments, the fiscal and land policy dimensions of large scale urban projects, affordable housing and urban segregation, to planning regimes and climate change adaptation. On behalf of the Lincoln Institute, Silva is also actively involved in global discussions leading up to the United Nations’ Habitat III Summit in 2016.


Dr Carol Archer

Associate Professor, University of Technology, Jamaica

Dr. Carol Archer’s professional life has been involved with positively influencing public policies relating to housing, land use management, and community development in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean through research, training and education. She successfully managed people, processes, and budget using the team approach guided by effective public policies informed by empirical evidence, critical thinking, and technological innovation.


Mr Aw Tuan Kee

Director, Centre For Liveable Cities, Ministry Of National Development Of Singapore

Tuan Kee AW currently serves as Director at Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), a nexus and knowledge centre for liveable and sustainable cities, where he oversees capability development programs, initiatives, collaborations and  dvisory work. Capability Development is a key arm of the Centre’s activities, as it aims to draw on its research to become a leading academy for cities. CLC’s flagship initiative in this area is its Leaders in Urban Governance Programme for local public servants, as well as the Temasek Foundation Leaders in Urban Governance Programme, which is aimed at international city leaders. CLC functions as a division within the Ministry of National Development (MND), Singapore.

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