"Now more than ever, we need to change the way we build," Ms. Faremo explained during her address to roundtable participants, which included high-level representatives from the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the UN Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
"Greater efforts need to be made to build resilience - in essence, to help communities prepare in such a way that they will quickly recover from inevitable disasters, rather than requiring a concerted international assistance to recover," she added, later referring to the devastation Hurricane Matthew brought to Haiti earlier this month.
The roundtable 'Ecological, climate change resilient, disaster-responsive cities' explored both the enormous challenges and opportunities for environmental sustainability and resilience in cities and human settlements.
Cities and human settlements are the largest contributors to unsustainable consumption and production – but they also offer the largest potential to change that.
"There is no reason that a child in Haiti shouldn't have the same safe home and school building as children in richer countries. We must bridge development and humanitarian efforts –well-planned development can minimize the extent of humanitarian responses."
The roundtable further discussed concrete actions and partnership initiatives that address perceived barriers to sustainable consumption and production patterns. Roundtable participants also spoke about ways to support the New Urban Agenda, which advocates for a robust shift to environmental sustainability and resilience in urban development.
Read the speech by Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNOPS