Durban has a shot as New7Wonders city finalist

2013-10-14 11:06
Durban has a chance of being a finalist in the New7Wonders Cities competition. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Durban has a chance of being a finalist in the New7Wonders Cities competition. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The countdown is on for the only South African city that has a chance in the New7Wonders Cities to become a finalist.

Durban is among 77 cities selected for the competition that will see a list of 28 finalist cities being produced next week.

South Africa's tourism hub is in competition against formidable cities like Barcelona, Havana and Sydney.

The competition highlights the move toward mass urbanisation as the Earth's population grows.

According to the UN, population growth will exceed 10 billion by 2083, and most that will be in cities.

"This dramatic urbanisation is radically changing the social, economic and environmental landscape of our planet. The Panel of Experts is, therefore, selecting the shortlist of 28 at a time when our world has entered an urban era and where cities are defining the future of humanity," said Eamonn Fitzgerald, head of Communication at New7Wonders.


Rapid urbanisation has put more pressure on city resources such as water, sanitation, health and energy systems.

The lack of affordability for services means that larger percentages of people in cities are falling into a poverty trap, with lower incomes and increasing costs of living.

The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 and the UN has said that meeting the targets of water and sanitation could go a long way to raising the standard of living for vulnerable people.

"The economic benefits of meeting the MDG targets on water and sanitation amount to around $60bn annually. So you can also make the strong economic case apart from the humanitarian and moral.

"We also know that for every dollar spent on water and sanitation can bring you a five-fold return, mainly through diminished health costs and increased work productivity," said UN deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

Members of the public are encouraged to vote for their favourite city and after a system of elimination, the final cities will be announced on 7 December 2014.

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Read more on:    durban  |  environment

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