12 May 2016
The road to Habitat III: Toluca Regional Meeting, Informal Meeting NY and the GAP

The world is gathering for another milestone United Nations conference – Habitat III. A twenty year event, which also follows on the heels of the 2015 UN Sustainable Development conference, Habitat III looks set to squarely place cities and urbanisation at the forefront of action to advance global sustainability.

The last of the regional preparatory meetings, Latin America and the Caribbean, was recently held in Toluca, Mexico from April 18-20, 2016. A stirring case was presented by many for the need to build networks, share resources and foster collaboration across sectors and across the region to overcome inequity, address climate change and shape cities that are centres for sustainable development.

United Nations Global Compact cities and partners were well represented.

The Ecuador earthquake, only two days before Toluca opened, threw a shadowy and sad reminder of our vulnerability. A minutes silence was held at the meeting opening for the many lives lost and the devastation experienced by 1000s in Ecuador, whose capital, Quito, will host Habitat III in October 17-20, 2016. We send thoughts of concern and care to our friends and cities in Ecuador.

The outcome of the meeting, the Toluca Declaration, proposes that the New Urban Agenda address issues such as: urban and territorial planning; urban governance; adequate housing; water and sanitation; sustainable mobility; land management; and environment, climate change and resilience.

Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan represented the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme international secretariat and presents a visual report of the Toluca Habitat III Regional Meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean.

April 25-29, New York: Habitat III Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings

Toluca was immediately followed by the Habitat III Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings as part of the

Intersessional Process in New York. These consultations featured panels that included Policy Unit experts.

Cities Programme Global Advisor and Director of the RMIT Centre for Urban Research, Professor Jago Dodson was one of the Policy Unit experts who contributed to panels moderated by co-leaders and United Nations Advisers. In parallel, the findings of the Declarations of the regional and thematic meetings were also presented and discussed with representatives of the respective governments and Policy Units experts.

Professor Dodson said that “one of the strongest outcomes of the Habitat III consultative discussions and meetings was the broad recognition among member states that robust national urban policies are critical to shaping and guiding the urban agenda post Habitat III, on both a national and local level”.

Professor Dodson is pictured with Cities Programme Deputy Director, Elizabeth Ryan, during meetings that followed at the New York headquarters of the UN Global Compact. Discussions with a number of colleagues, including the Caring for Climate and Social Issues teams, included the importance of fostering local cross-sectoral action, meaningfully engaging the private sector in the Urban Agenda and aligning city actions with the Global Compact Issue Platforms.

The General Assembly of Partners (GAP) presents ‘Partnerships for the New Urban Agenda’

The Cities Programme is one of the many partners that have joined the global gathering, the General Assembly of Partners (GAP), to actively support the development of New Urban Agenda.

On the final day of the Informal Consultative Meetings in New York, the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) presented the document Partnerships for the New Urban Agenda to Dr Joan Clos, the contribution of GAP’s 15 Partner Constituent Groups to the Habitat III Conference and its outcome document, the New Urban Agenda.

GAP believes that the success of the Habitat III process depends on multi-stakeholder efforts that enable member states, regional, and local governments, and all non-government stakeholders to work together to achieve sustainable urban development around the globe in the decades to come. As such, ‘Partnerships for the New Urban Agenda’ is a roadmap for multi-stakeholder engagement for the New Urban Agenda.

For a comprehensive background on the GAP, and the intentions and commitment of the Partnerships document, see the Cover letter to Dr Joan Clos from GAP President, Eugenie Birch and Vice-President, Shipra Narang Suri.

Congratulations to Genie and Supra for their leadership and to the drafting team for their massive efforts.

Connected Cities