Sustainable urbanization is the focus of the event, which is the first-ever meeting of ECOSOC’s integration segment – a new annual segment on the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.“The decision to focus on sustainable urbanization for the first session of the segment was sensible and timely in view of the growing impact of urbanization trends on sustainable development; and in view of the growing importance of cities in delivering practical results to reduce poverty, protect the natural environment and improve disaster reduction and resilience,” said ECOSOC Vice-President Vladimir Drobnjak.More than 50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas today. By 2050, about 70 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas, and more than 60 per cent of the land projected to become urban by 2030 is yet to be developed. Ninety-five per cent of urban expansion will take place in developing countries.“Urban areas are at the heart of many great challenges, opportunities and promise,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering. “People move to cities for jobs and other opportunities. But too many cities face challenges, including weak infrastructure, unemployment and pollution. Climate change is increasing risks in all cities, where the poorest people are hit the hardest.”He noted plans and policies must consider the people that they affect. This means that urban transport policies should focus on the safety of women, access for the disabled, and meeting the needs of all vulnerable people; that efforts to encourage business activity should also promote corporate responsibility; and that the capacity of governments should be strengthened to plan, construct and manage urban areas.Isabelle F. Picco, Vice-President of the General Assembly, said that with the right policies and approaches, urbanization can be a “transformative force” that helps address some of the world’s major challenges, such as poverty, unemployment and climate change.“We must harness the creative energies and resources of cities. For they will be the fertile ground where our global sustainable development efforts take root,” she added.The President of Rwanda, the Vice-President of Colombia, and the mayors of Istanbul, Kingston, Johannesburg, Paris and Victoria, amongst other cities, are among the participants at the event being held at UN Headquarters, as well as former Mayor of New York City and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg. read more

Royal Mail is required to provide a post box within half a mile of 98 per cent of addresses in the UK and the nearest box to the subsumed one on Ninian Road is around half a mile away.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. A baffled resident at the blocked post box in Cardiff Postmen have been told they are no longer allowed to collect letter from a post box after it was deemed a safety risk having been enveloped by a tree. The Royal Mail has boarded up the Grade II listed post box, saying that after 120 years of service in Cardiff, it was no longer safe for its staff to collect letters from it. A bi-lingual sign on the red box, which dates back to 1891 bears Queen Victoria’s initials, reads: “Regrettably Royal Mail has had to remove this posting box from service as, due to the growth of the tree and the raised pavement, it is no longer safe to collect mail from.”There are alternative posting boxes a short distance away,” before listing the nearby replacements in the wealthy suburb of Roath.But residents have branded the move “health and safety madness”, pointing out that the well-used postal box has survived two World Wars, but has now been decommissioned due to “postmen worried about stepping over a root or two”.  Houses on the street were built on land owned by the Bute Family who brought power and prosperity to the Welsh capital by developing the city’s docklands for the coal trade.Building work began on the road in 1891 and was finally completed in 1910. The London Plane was planted as a sapling but now stand towering more than 120ft.Meg Bryant, 32, said: “This postbox has survived two World Wars and millions of letters – but why are the postmen worried about stepping over a root or two.”Surely it can’t be too much of a risk to step over the tree roots. It is a lot less dangerous that a barking dog coming at a letterbox.”Conservation policies dictate the oldest and rarest letter boxes must be protected within their community.Father David Leyshon, 46, said: “It is a real landmark and a talking point – it is a shame it is now being blocked up by the Royal Mail.”They should make a feature of it rather than consign it to the rubbish bin of health and safety madness.” The sign on the now-blocked off post boxCredit:Wales News Service Local councillor Sue Lent said: “The postbox has always been there and the tree wasn’t always so far around it. It wasn’t like that years ago. The postbox was certainly well used in the past.” A baffled resident at the blocked post box in CardiffCredit:Wales News Service The box is on historic Ninian Road in the Welsh capital – named after Lord Ninian Creighton-Stuart, the former MP for Cardiff, who was the son of landowner the 3rd Marquis of Bute. He was killed in battle in the First World War. The sign on the now-blocked off post box read more