27 Oct 2016
A rich international dialogue on the role of the Global Compact in the New Urban Agenda

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos opened Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador on October 17 2o16. It was attended by member states and a record number of local government, business and civil society representatives from around the world – some 46, 000 people. It resulted in the member state’s endorsement of the New Urban Agenda, a document that defines all future lines of action in regards to the urban context for the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals leading up to 2030.

UN Global Compact Parallel Event

The Cities Programme and UN Global Compact (HQ) supported a parallel event on Sunday 16 October which was hosted by the UN Global Compact Local Network Ecuador. This dialogue specifically focused on informing and engaging Global Compact Local Networks in the New Urban Agenda, within the context of the global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Opened by the President of the Ecuadorian Global Compact Local Network, Ricardo Dueñs N, the event started with an opening address from UN Global Compact Latin America Director, Javier Cortés, on the Global Compact’s role in the NUA and the SDGs. Cities Programme Chair, Michael Nolan, then followed with a presentation on the development of public-private sector partnerships and cross-sectoral projects to advance sustainable urban development.

“The urban pressures are accelerating and the political will is increasing to meet this challenge,” Nolan said. “It is clear from discussions that better collaboration between public and private sectors is required – better coordination across agencies and partnered implementation are critical for success.”

Expert Panelists

Joined by six panelists representing: UNITAR; Global Compact Local Networks from Mexico, Colombia and Peru; the city of Porto Alegre; and a Puerto Rican NGO Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan facilitated a panel discussion centred on SDG 11. The panel focused on how to achieve sustainable cities and communities – partnership models, funding and implementation strategies.

Having been involved in the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015 and the drafting of the post-2015 development agenda, UN Assistant Secretary General and Executive Director of UNITAR, Dr Nikhil Seth, contributed his rich experience with the United Nations, inter governmental relations and mobilising global agendas.

Jorge William Ramírez spoke of Medellin’s social and urban transformation. As Water Provision Manager of the Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) he shared his insights of EPM’s corporate social responsibility and the important role it plays in urban equity as the lead provider of electricity, gas and potable water.

We were also joined by the Executive Director of Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña. As Executive Director for both this organisation and Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Caño Martín Peña (a private, non-for-profit community land trust), Lyvia N. Rodriguez Del Valle has worked with an interdisciplinary team in Puerto Rico’s most salient example of participatory planning in creating innovative mechanisms to overcome poverty and address pressing environmental degradation.

ENLACE is also engaged in over 30 programs of participatory democracy and critical thought that include adult literacy, violence prevention, youth leadership, community organising and environmental awareness.

Director of Sustainability of PetStar, Carlos Mendieta spoke of his organisation’s wide reaching social and environment projects in Mexico. Director Ejecutivo de la Cámara Peruana de la Construcción (CAPECO), Guido Javier Valdivia spoke about strategies for advancing collaboration in urban development in Peru. He also addressed the tricky question of how to direct funding towards the communities who need it most.

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