Habitat Jam starts Dec. 1 with 178 countries registered to participate

Habitat JAM, a historic 72-hour event happening from Dec. 1-3, will bring together people from all over the globe to discuss critical issues of sustainability for the world's cities. People in 178 countries have registered to take part, logging on from offices, homes and Internet cafes around the globe. In addition to individuals, over 50 organized Habitat JAMMING sessions in over 20 countries will take place in regions as remote as the barrios of Colombia and metropolitan as New York City...

VANCOUVER, BC, Canada, Nov. 30, 2005 -- Starting at 7:00 am (PST) tomorrow, people from all over the world will go online and begin to "JAM." Habitat JAM, a historic 72-hour event happening from Dec. 1-3, will bring together people from all over the globe to discuss critical issues of sustainability for the world's cities. So far, people in 178 countries have registered to take part in this unprecedented democratic exercise. They'll log on from their offices, homes and internet cafes all over the world. In addition to individual JAMMERS, over 50 organized Habitat JAMMING sessions in over 20 countries will take place in regions as remote as the barrios of Colombia and as metropolitan as New York City.

For those curious whether this has anything to do with the water industry, yes, it certainly does, according to an event spokesman, Jeremy Dunn, with Curve Communications Group Ltd. "It's an event designed to talk about slums, habitat, living conditions, as well as water/wastewater treatment/sanitation, which -- in Less Developed Countries -- is a huge issue. Water quality is one of the tracts of discussion. We will have many water treatment experts online as moderators... Check it out www.habitatjam.com," he said.

World Urban Cafes have been organized by The World Urban Forum Youth, and the World Bank Institute's Global Development Learning Network Centres (GDLN) are inviting people to JAM. Understanding the importance of these voices in this worldwide discussion, events are taking place in the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bolivia, Tanzania, India, Vietnam, Africa and China. It is expected that over 15,000 slum dwellers throughout the world will be engaged and their thoughts will be translated and added to the English and French JAM discussions.

Using leading edge IBM technology, Habitat JAM is the world's largest think tank. Ideas discussed in this 72-hour period will help refine the agenda for the upcoming biennial World Urban Forum happening in Vancouver on June 19-23 -- a United Nations sponsored meeting where issues of sustainability for the world's rapidly expanding cities will be discussed. These ideas may well form corporate and social policy that will affect the world's population and cities for years to come.

Moderators for the "opening day" of Habitat JAM will include William McDonough, a renowned visionary and "green" architect, whose theories are being built on the ground in "New Cities" in China; Pietro Garau, Coordinator of the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers; Dr. Alexander Butchart, who is the Prevention of Violence Coordinator in the Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention at the World Health Organization; Mexico's Environment Secretary, Claudia Sheinbaum and many other distinguished moderators. On March 16-22, Mexico will be hosting the World Water Council's Fourth World Water Forum.

Participants will be able to discuss and interact with global leaders and thinkers on issues of importance to all: access to water, urban safety and security, urban finance and governance, the future of the world's slums, and environmental sustainability.

Habitat JAM is sponsored by the Government of Canada, in partnership with UN-HABITAT, IBM, and organized by the GLOBE Foundation of Canada. For additional information on the event and to register, visit www.habitatjam.com.

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