The 12-day U.N. conference on cities, which ended early Saturday, buzzed with talk of new partnerships. Now comes the challenge - getting the new partners to work together in cities big and small to make life easier and more enjoyable for billions of urban dwellers.

For the first time, the United Nations acknowledged that governments can't solve the problems alone. So it invited mayors, activists, legislators and businesses to help governments prepare for the coming urban century."All the actors have to have a piece of the follow-up," said Wally N'Dow, the conference secretary-general, who heads the Nairobi-based U.N. Center for Human Settlements.

But that's only the beginning.

The greater challenges are generating political support and finding billions of dollars to house 100 million homeless people, improve the homes of at least 600 million squatters and slum dwellers and cure a host of urban ills from polluted water to overcrowded transport.

"The resources exist to bring safe water and sanitation and a roof over the head of people everywhere - women, men and children on this planet earth, our global village," N'Dow said in his closing speech.

If governments divert just 5 percent of their military budgets into "the new human security" over the next 10 years, he said, the world would be able to start addressing the problems of massive urban growth.

But none of the 171 countries attending the city summit, known as Habitat II, announced significant new financial commitments.

If anything, the turmoil of the closing session reflected many of the deep divisions that persist the post-Cold War world.