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Habitat Bulletin

Volume 231 Number 1 | Tuesday, 2 May 2016


Summary of the Habitat III Open-ended Informal Consultative Meetings

25-29 April 2016 | UN Headquarters, New York


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Visit our IISD/ENB+ Meeting Coverage from UN Headquarters, New York at: http://enb.iisd.org/habitat/3/oeicm/

The Habitat III Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings took place from 25-29 April 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together over 500 participants from civil society, academia, international organizations and governments. The meeting was organized around daily themes on: regional perspectives; transformative commitments for sustainable urban development; effective implementation; and how to enhance means of implementation (MOI).

Panels took place to examine the recommendations and outputs of the ten Habitat III Policy Units on: the right to the city and cities for all; socio-cultural urban framework; national urban policies; urban governance, capacity and institutional development; municipal finance and local fiscal systems; urban spatial strategies – land market and segregation; urban economic development strategies; urban ecology and resilience; urban services and technology; and housing policies.

Panels were also organized around the outcomes of seven Habitat III thematic meetings on: civic engagement; metropolitan areas; intermediate cities; sustainable energy and cities; financing urban development; public spaces; and informal settlements. One session also captured outcomes of Habitat III regional meetings, namely Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

BRIEF HISTORY

As a result of the First UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat I), which took place in Vancouver, Canada, from 31 May to 11 June 1976, the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements officially established the UN Centre for Human Settlements as the major UN agency mandated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. By UNGA resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977, the Commission for Human Settlements was also established as the governing body for the UN Centre for Human Settlements.

With six out of every ten people in the world expected to reside in urban areas by 2030, UN-Habitat notes that cities face unprecedented demographic, environmental, economic, social and spatial challenges. According to UN-Habitat, more than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Hence, urban areas are central to sustainable development efforts. Habitat III will build on the work from Habitat I and the second UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), as well as on recently agreed global frameworks, including: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030; the Paris Climate Agreement; and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.

HABITAT II: Habitat II convened in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3-14 June 1996, on the 20th anniversary of Habitat I. The Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, adopted by the Conference, outlined over 100 commitments and strategies to address shelter and sustainable human settlements. With the adoption of the Habitat Agenda, the international community set itself the twin goals of achieving adequate shelter for all and ensuring sustainable human settlements development. Habitat II also reaffirmed the commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing.

56TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: In its resolution 56/206 of 21 December 2001, the UNGA decided to transform the UN Centre for Human Settlements into UN-Habitat. The UNGA also decided, in the same resolution, to transform the Commission on Human Settlements into the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. The Governing Council, which was also made into a subsidiary body of the UNGA, reports to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and provides overall policy guidance, direction and supervision to UN-Habitat.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), adopted by the Summit, calls for achieving a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020, as proposed in the Cities without Slums initiative.

The JPOI calls for actions at all levels to: improve access to land and property, adequate shelter and basic services for the urban and rural poor; use low-cost and sustainable materials and appropriate technologies for the construction of adequate and secure housing for the poor; increase decent employment, credit and income; remove unnecessary regulation and other obstacles for microenterprises and the informal sector; and support slum upgrading programmes within the framework of urban development plans.

22ND SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: This session took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 30 March to 3 April 2009, on the theme: “Promoting affordable housing finance systems in an urbanizing world in the face of the global financial crisis and climate change.” The session reviewed the activities of UN-Habitat and adopted its work programme and budget for the biennium 2010-2011. It also adopted 11 resolutions, including on: affordable housing finance; cities and climate change; strengthening the development of urban young people; guidelines on access to basic services for all; South-South cooperation in human settlements; and human settlements development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

5TH WORLD URBAN FORUM: Designated by the UNGA as an advisory body, the World Urban Forum (WUF) is an open-ended think-tank designed to encourage debate and discussion on the challenges of urbanization, and to strengthen the coordination of international support for the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The Fifth Session was held from 22-26 March 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the theme “The right to the city: bridging the urban divide.” The session included six dialogues, which focused on the following key aspects of sustainable urbanization: the right to the city; inclusive cities; equal access to shelter and basic urban services; cultural diversity in cities; governance and participation; and climate change. The World Urban Campaign was also launched during the Forum, with the objective of elevating the drive by UN-Habitat and its Habitat Agenda partners for better, smarter, greener and more equitable cities to a new level.

23RD SESSION OF THE UN-HABITAT GOVERNING COUNCIL: This session took place from 11-15 April 2011, on the theme “Sustainable urban development through expanding equitable access to land and housing, basic services and infrastructure.” The session reviewed the activities of UN-Habitat and adopted its work programme and budget for the biennium 2012-2013. The session also adopted 18 resolutions, inter alia, on: gender equality and empowerment of women in sustainable urban development; support for pro-poor housing; access to quality urban public spaces; urban youth development; strategies and frameworks for improving the lives of slum dwellers, beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target; governance of UN-Habitat; safer cities and urban crime prevention; country activities by UN-Habitat; formulation of a global housing strategy; expanding equitable access to land, housing, basic services and infrastructure; and DRR, preparedness, prevention and mitigation.

RIO+20: The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for Rio+20, pre-conference informal consultations and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. During those ten days, government delegations concluded negotiations on the Rio outcome document, “The Future We Want,” and held, among other events, an Urban Summit that involved roundtables on, inter alia, multi-level governance and how cities across the world can learn from each other. It also launched the process for developing and adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the elaboration of a post-2015 development agenda.

7TH WORLD URBAN FORUM: The Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) took place from 7-11 April 2014 in Medellín, Colombia, on the theme “Urban Equity in Development - Cities for Life.” The meeting issued a declaration that recognized the transformational power of cities and that equity is the foundation of sustainable urban development. Calling for cities to become more inclusive and prosperous for all, the Declaration identifies as important issues, inter alia, the need for: an urbanization model that puts people first and fosters social cohesion, especially among socially marginalized groups, such as women, youth and indigenous peoples; comprehensive and participatory planning; national urban policies; gender equality and balanced land development; better urban resilience to climate change and other disasters; and safe and affordable transportation. The Declaration recognizes the post-2015 development agenda, SDGs and Habitat III processes as opportunities to affirm the importance of well-planned cities and the potential for urbanization to be a positive force for present and future generations.

UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT: This Summit took place from 25-27 September 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 SDGs and 169 associated targets. SDG 11 addresses urban areas, aiming to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” The Goal, in particular, contains targets to, by 2030: ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums; provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons; enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries; reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management; and provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces (in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities). The Goal also aims to: support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning; by 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for DRR, holistic DRR at all levels; and support least developed countries (LDCs), including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials. The SDG on sustainable cities and human settlements is interlinked with other SDGs on: ending poverty; ending hunger; ensuring healthy lives; ensuring education opportunities; achieving gender equality; ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all; building resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable industrialization; reducing inequality within and among countries; ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns; combatting climate change; conserving and sustainably using oceans; protecting terrestrial ecosystems; promoting peaceful and inclusive societies; and strengthening the means of implementation (MOI). 

PREPARATIONS FOR HABITAT III: PrepCom 1: The 1st Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom 1) for Habitat III took place from 17-18 September 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. PrepCom 1 provided space for exchanging opinions, ideas and expectations related to the implementation of Habitat II and the process leading to Habitat III. The meeting launched the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda focusing, in particular, on how to address climate change and sustainable development in the context of urban environments. Sessions focused on: lessons learned in the context of US urbanization; gender issues; public transport; grassroots organizations; public spaces; civil society; UN system – Committee on Habitat III; the City We Need; and local and regional governments for Habitat III. 

PrepCom 2: Habitat III PrepCom 2 took place from 14-16 April 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. PrepCom 2 addressed progress to date in the implementation of the Habitat II, discussed accreditation of non-governmental organizations and other major groups to Habitat III and its preparatory process. PrepCom 2 also considered the process for preparing and finalizing the Issue Papers as well as deliberated on the modalities for the Policy Units.

Policy Units: The Habitat III preparatory process established ten Policy Units, comprised of 20 experts each from academia, government, civil society and other regional and international bodies. The Policy Units intend to explore state-of-the-art research and analysis, identify good practices and lessons learned and develop independent policy recommendations on particular issues regarding sustainable urban development. They will identify the challenges, to the New Urban Agenda, and the policy priorities and critical issues for implementing the New Urban Agenda. They will also develop action-oriented recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. 

Thematic Meetings: A series of thematic meetings took place to develop declarations, including on: civic engagement, on 7 September 2015, in Tel-Aviv, Israel; metropolitan areas, from 6-7 October 2015, in Montreal, Canada; intermediate cities, from 9-11 November 2015, in Cuenca, Ecuador; sustainable energy and cities, on 20 January 2016, in Abu Dhabi, UAE; financing urban development, from 9-11 March 2016, in Mexico City, Mexico; public spaces, from 4-5 April 2016, in Barcelona, Spain; and informal settlements, from 7-8 April 2016, in Pretoria, South Africa.

Regional Meetings: Regional preparatory meetings have also taken place to develop declarations: Asia-Pacific, from 21-22 October 2015, in Jakarta, Indonesia; Africa, from 24-26 February 2016, in Abuja, Nigeria; Europe, from 16-18 March 2016, in Prague, Czech Republic; and Latin America and the Caribbean, from 18-20 April 2016, in Toluca, Mexico.

SUMMARY OF HABITAT III OPEN-ENDED INFORMAL CONSULTATIVE MEETING

Habitat III Co-Chair Maryse Gautier, France, opened the five-day Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings welcoming delegates and highlighting the importance of a participatory process in the development of the New Urban Agenda. She underscored that the main expectation for the week is to prioritize actions and identify transformative commitments to move towards sustainable cities.

Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos expressed his condolences for the deadly earthquake in Ecuador, which hit the country the week prior to the meeting, and welcomed participants underscoring the importance of multi-stakeholder inputs to the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome. He also outlined the work of over 200 experts in the ten Policy Units, which illustrate a step forward in the participatory nature of Habitat III. Habitat III Secretary-General Clos concluded emphasizing that the New Urban Agenda should be complementary to recent landmark UN processes, including the: Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030; Third International Financing for Development Conference; 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development; and Paris Climate Agreement.

On behalf of Minister of Housing and Urban Development María Duarte, Ecuador, Helena Yáñez, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ecuador, expressed gratitude for the global solidarity following Ecuador’s recent tragic events and stressed the importance of human resilience to promote sustainability.

OVERVIEW OF THE MAIN KEY RECOMMENDATIONS AND INFORMATION ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ZERO DRAFT: On Monday, this session was introduced by Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier.

Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), underlined the main recommendations of Policy Unit 1 on the right to the city and cities for all and Policy Unit 2 on socio-cultural urban framework. Noting increasing inequities, in particular related to migrants, as a big challenge, he identified the need to consider key areas in an integrated manner: society and the need for people-centered approaches; the built environment and its link to poverty reduction; and urban governance to promote equity, inclusion, participation and inclusive citizenship.

Le-Yin Zhang, University College London, highlighted the key recommendations of the unit: economic development of cities is extremely important for realizing the SDGs; urban economic development depends on the development of inclusive, transparent, efficient and equitable regulatory frameworks and on the active involvement of the state; and local authorities must be empowered to carry out their duties and responsibilities in developing social and economic capital.

Rüdiger Ahrend, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said that national urban policies can be a powerful tool to implement global agreements. He stressed these policies should refer to priority issues, underscoring that they do not replace sectoral policies, but ensure coordination between the different policy levels. The challenge, he emphasized, is for policies to be actionable and usable, and to provide measurable, monitorable, concrete actions.

Abel Walendom, Secretary General, Ministry of Land Management, Urbanism and Habitat, Chad, noted local consultations are consolidated in the different regional reports, saying that these also set out what issues should be addressed in the forthcoming years. Highlighting differing progress rates between countries, he urged that “fundamental” concerns be addressed, including access to water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services.

Nelson Saule Jr., Pólis Institute, Brazil, said the New Urban Agenda should propose how to further integrate human rights, social inclusion, participatory democracy, and issues of land use and land rights.

During discussions, Thailand, for the G-77/China, shared preliminary views on the presentations stressing: the importance of SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) to reinforce urban resilience and reduce inequalities; the critical need to raise adequate finance for capacity building and technology transfer; and the need to address the rapid trends of urbanization and population growth in developing countries.

Japan underscored that the New Urban Agenda must be people-centered and aligned to human security goals. He noted the importance of the Sendai Framework for DRR and emphasized that inclusive sustainable urban development cannot be achieved without coordination between the national and local levels.

Brazil suggested reinforcing synergies between the urban debate and the human rights agenda. She highlighted the importance of social participation and cautioned on the risks of a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Brazil also emphasized the need to guarantee adequate infrastructure in cities, mainly to ensure good access to sanitation, transport and clean water.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies highlighted the importance of city governance and planning that allows for responding to and recovering from crises through, among others, appropriate legal frameworks, financial and technical capacities and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Senegal underscored the importance of land tenure, access to land and adequate housing, use of local materials in the building industry to reduce housing costs, and energy efficiency policies.

The US emphasized the importance of addressing: climate change; resilience to shocks; good governance; inclusiveness; reliable and comparable data for cities around the world; and access to finance. She underlined that, without the participation of all stakeholders, the New Urban Agenda will lack legitimacy.

Norway said the health sector has a major role to play to improve well-being and that air quality needs to be at the core of the New Urban Agenda.

Kenya mentioned the importance of addressing unresolved issues raised at Habitat II, such as providing sanitation and shelter, which still need to be realized in several countries, as well as social exclusion, poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, and increased criminal activity in cities.

Children and Youth lauded the New Urban Agenda for being inclusive and rights-based. She stressed that inequalities should not be overlooked, saying that this message should translate into measurable indicators. She also lauded the people-centered approach, but urged for this approach to be “planet-centered.”

Responding to discussions from the floor, Bandarin stressed the relationship between the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs. He also said public spaces are areas where local governments have the most opportunity to “exercise their power” and expend resources.

Le-Yin noted that, while the notion of avoiding top-down “one-size-fits all” approaches was echoed throughout the room, implementation is still key, including through developing local-level institutional capacities.

Ahrend underscored cities’ need for capacity so they can “react when disaster strikes.” He cautioned against densification at any price, saying that population increases should be dealt with in an organized manner.

Walendon noted that finance and governance are common themes related to urban resilience, together with climate change. He said it is important for Habitat III to find practical solutions, which should include the private sector and public-private partnerships.

Saule Jr. underscored three points: the need for MOI, as well as policy tools; the need to address peripheral areas; and the importance of creating linkages between the SDGs and the climate agenda, focusing on natural disasters and vulnerable populations.

Habitat III Secretary-General Clos closed the morning session, underscoring that urban issues also require action at the national level.

REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES

On Monday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier welcomed the participants to the session and Habitat III Secretary-General Clos introduced the speakers.

Karla Šlechtová, Minister of Regional Development, Czech Republic, presented the main results of the European regional meeting, European Habitat, that took place in Prague, Czech Republic, in March 2016. She said that the Prague Declaration identifies principles for innovative and productive cities, such as resilience, inclusiveness, safety and good urban governance.

Lana Winayanti, Senior Expert to the Minister, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Indonesia, highlighted the main findings of the Asia-Pacific regional meeting hosted in Jakarta, Indonesia, in October 2015, and the Asia-Pacific Forum Call for Action, which calls for, among others, people-centered processes, partnerships, rural-urban connectivity, finance, building resilience and information and communications technologies (ICT). She said the Call underscored the need for integration, employment, governance, land use policies, strong civil society and monitoring.

Anthony Bosah, Permanent Mission to the UN, Nigeria, presented an overview of the African regional meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria in February 2016 and stated that the key recommendations of the Abuja Declaration for Habitat III, “Africa’s Priorities for the New Urban Agenda,” include enhancing: people-centered urban and human settlements; institutions and systems for promoting transformative change in human settlements; environmental sustainability, resilience and effective responses to climate change in cities and human settlements; and efforts to advance a global partnership to facilitate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

Eruviel Ávila Villegas, Governor, State of Mexico, Mexico, summarized the Latin America and the Caribbean regional meeting held in Toluca, Mexico in April 2016. He underscored the fast pace of urbanization in his region, saying that future national prosperity is linked to the development of cities. Key recommendations from the Toluca Declaration for Habitat III, he noted, include: designing innovative patterns of urban governance; ensuring stakeholders’ involvement from all levels; reducing cities’ impact on climate change; and strengthening UN-Habitat.

In the ensuing debate, the EU underscored the success of the European regional consultations culminating in the Prague Declaration. She noted the diversity of cities and the challenges related to territorial cohesion and recalled the importance of urban resilience to combat inequities. The promotion of cultural heritage, she said, is a fundamental condition for ensuring ownership and a participatory process.

Colombia reinforced the need for an action-oriented framework for sustainable development. She stressed the importance of integrating rural and urban areas into the discussed strategies.

The General Assembly of Partners (GAP) for Habitat III, for a number of stakeholder groups, noted enabling factors, such as fiscal intervention, technology, the need to reform institutions, and the incorporation of the informal sectors’ concerns, for a successful New Urban Agenda.

Women said that Habitat III is an opportunity to build an agenda for local action that presupposes strategies to boost women’s standard of living, and concluded stating that women are agents of transformation.

Stressing the importance of the regional meetings to identify overarching priorities, Senegal said the New Urban Agenda should include aspects of the Abuja Declaration and underscored the need to find solutions without applying “the same medicine to all.”

Brazil highlighted that the Toluca Declaration for Habitat III stressed: informal settlements, land policies and urban territorial expansion; drinking water and sanitation; and integration of mobility in urban planning, sustainable mobility and road safety.

China underscored that member states should formulate their own urban strategies and the New Urban Agenda should focus on the role of urban planning in economic development and DRR.

Ecuador emphasized an inclusive process leading to Quito and stressed addressing poverty alleviation, desegregation of populations, land speculation, informal settlements and urban exclusion. She stressed the New Urban Agenda must build on human rights and gender equality.

Chad supported the Abuja Declaration, emphasizing: proper measures for urban management, urbanization and territorial planning; resilience and housing; and MOI for local governments. He stressed decentralization processes and transparent and fair land management.

Zambia outlined a number of issues for consideration in the New Urban Agenda, inter alia: investment in research and development; formal approaches for sharing lessons learned; and the critical need for finance.

The Russian Federation called for using agreed wording already used in different global instruments, stressing that the term “vulnerable or marginalized communities” in the regional declarations is not internationally agreed language. He noted that communities may find themselves in “conditions that obstruct them from fully exercising their rights,” rather than being “vulnerable or marginalized.”

Children and Youth underscored that follow-up should: be conducted in the context of other processes such as the Sendai Framework for DRR and the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF); be coordinated using an interagency task force; and use already agreed-upon language for the task force’s modalities.

South Africa said that the Abuja Declaration is underpinned by the African Union’s 2063 Agenda, underscoring mention of issues on economic growth, transformative change in human settlements and environmental sustainability.

Palestine stated that development and habitat are inseparable and highlighted the issues faced by refugees and displaced persons.

Reacting to the debate, Šlechtová underscored that problems at the urban level might be different but the goals are common, and emphasized the importance of sharing lessons learned.

Winayanti pointed out that the Asia-Pacific needs a better plan for DRR to ensure safer cities. On the non-binding nature of the New Urban Agenda, she said that all stakeholders must be responsible for its implementation.

Bosah highlighted that while each region has its own challenges, finance remains a key concern for all.

Villegas emphasized that local authorities are key to implementing the Habitat III agenda and said that incentives created by the New Urban Agenda to reform legislation will result in more resilient cities.

TRANSFORMATIVE COMMITMENTS FOR A SUSTAINABLE URBAN DEVELOPMENT

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND, URBAN EQUITY AND POVERTY ERADICATION: On Tuesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier opened the morning session, which focused on “transformative commitments for a sustainable urban development” and was composed of two panels: “Right to the City and Cities for All” and “Socio-Cultural Urban Frameworks.”

Right to the City and Cities for All: On Tuesday, Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid, India, moderated the first part of the morning debate.

José Carrera, Vice President, Development Bank of Latin America, underscored that one of the main challenges for an inclusive city is overcoming inequality and social exclusion. He also highlighted that “the Right to the City and Cities for All” has three main pillars: spatial resource distribution (i.e. housing settlements, livelihoods, decent jobs, biodiversity and climate change protection); political agency (i.e. structure, accountability and access to data); and socio-economic and cultural diversity (in terms of gender, identity, ethnicity, religion and economic practice).

Ilaria Boniburini, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, underscored the need to include the right to the city in the New Urban Agenda. She noted that the right to the city: provides a comprehensive way to interpret political, social and environmental issues; encompasses all our rights, values, best knowledge and aspirations; is universal, while respecting all contexts; and relates to the right to a shelter, public spaces, water, a healthy environment, food and participation.

Focusing on the employment structure, Sally Roever, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing, called for a new way of thinking to address labor and social protection, and informal, unincorporated workers that cannot overcome poverty.

Highlighting the interdependency between rights and responsibilities, Martin Bryant, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, said that “our capacity to adapt is a fundamental pillar of resilience.” He underscored the need for bottom-up processes in city design, and for creating and cultivating interdependencies between all stakeholders and state levels.

Dina Shehayeb, Housing and Building National Research Center, Egypt, said that urban policy should take steps to acknowledge marginalized people and their activities, build upon positive activities and eliminate adverse activities. She underscored the importance of knowledge sharing and participation, stressing that building trust is “through doing and not talking.”

Nelson Saule Jr., Pólis Institute, Brazil, said the New Urban Agenda could contribute to ensuring the right to the city through systematizing, harmonizing and clarifying the various concepts, definitions and components of the right to the city.

Brazil said that the right to the city should be at the heart of the New Urban Agenda and that urban dwellers must fully participate in formulating and implementing urban policies.

South Africa stated that his country promotes the right to development approach, which places the individual at the center and as a beneficiary of development processes.

Canada highlighted the promotion of housing and elimination of discrimination as relevant matters, while cautioning against the “conceptual blurriness” of the “right to the city,” which is not yet agreed under UN language. Colombia said the “right’s narrative” deserves further debate and that conceptual misunderstandings could emerge from this expression.

Lebanon called for addressing refugees in cities. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted that human rights are an essential core of a truly transformative New Urban Agenda, if respected in policy and practice.

Responding to questions from the floor, panelists highlighted: the “challenge of our time” is not only about urban or rural, but about bridging across disciplines and diversity; the need to address overconcentration of resources and power and find ways to realize the rights, quality of life and access to cities’ resources for all, including those living outside cities; and that the right to the city is about interconnections between urban and rural areas.

Socio-Cultural Urban Framework: On Tuesday, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO, introduced the panel, providing an overview of the Policy Unit’s work. He said that the main challenges identified by the Policy Unit include: persistent urban inequalities; globalized and homogenized urban development; social exclusion; safety issues; environmental concerns; and forced migration.

Jyoti Hosagrahar, UNESCO Chair for Culture, Habitat and Sustainable Development, and Columbia University, New York, stated that socio-cultural heritage contributes to making cities sustainable through promoting livability in urban areas. She said that steps should be taken to make socio-cultural assets available to all and be integrated into urbanization plan, and called for more comprehensive indicators related to socio-cultural heritage.

Arun Jain, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, stated that transparency, equity and fairness are the basic principles to pursue if the Habitat III goals are to be achieved. He also mentioned that education, opportunities and collective freedom are ways to cope with individual violence, which reduces urban inequities. 

Gülden Erkut, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey, noted that urban economic development in most developing countries is largely connected to informal settlements. She emphasized that, to secure the livelihoods of the working poor, improvements in social and cultural diversity, as well as inclusive policies, are required.

Magdalena Garcia, Iberoamerican Network for Budget Equality Between Woman and Men, Mexico, highlighted the need to focus on cultural patterns and changes, and develop associated policies, in order to: promote equity; eradicate violence; reduce discrimination; increase access to a life free of violence in all spaces, including work places, schools, home, public spaces, transportation, and in both rural and urban areas.

Marling Haydee Rodriguez, Huairou Commission, underlined the interrelationships between urban and rural areas, and resilience and food security, underscoring the need to build inclusive societies that improve life and infrastructure in rural areas, promote the participation of women in urban life, and ensure land tenure for women.

Philippe Madec, Architect, Town Planner and Professor, said cultural experience is always in progress and that global ideas and solutions need to be adapted to respond to the specificities of a complex world.

Brazil called for culture to play a central role in urbanization as it increases social cohesion and reduces violence. China emphasized the importance of culture in society, noting its systems to protect socio-cultural heritage.

The Russian Federation cautioned against explicit reference to sexual orientation and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups, as these are not explicitly referenced in international human rights agreements.

Indigenous Peoples lauded the people-centered vision of the New Urban Agenda and urged working towards economic prosperity but not at the expense of natural resources.

GAP stressed that urban safety and security could be addressed by improving planning and strengthening urban governance.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stressed the necessity of including health systems in the New Urban Agenda. The International Committee of the Red Cross invited greater recognition by urban planners of the risks to the general well-being of urban populations and to public service provision posed by conflict.

Moderator Bandarin concluded the session, recalling the importance of capturing the diversity of the debate related to the topic of culture and resilience.

Housing Policies: On Tuesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier presented the speakers on the panel on Housing Policies. Moderator Steven Weir, Vice President, Habitat for Humanity, introduced the panel.

Michael Donovan, Inter-American Development Bank, noted key dimensions identified in Policy Unit 10 as: creating integrated housing frameworks; adopting inclusive approaches; expanding affordable housing; improving housing conditions; and upgrading informal settlements, such as basic services improvement and access to affordable building materials.

Elena Szolgayová, Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development, Slovakia, emphasized the importance of integrating multisectoral approaches and policies, and the need for people-centered policies that are differentiated across the globe.

On affordable housing, Abel Walendom, Secretary General, Ministry of Land Management, Urbanism and Habitat, Chad, stressed that families should have roofs over their heads and the need for people-centered policies.

Alison Brown, Cardiff University, UK, called for considering land tenure and housing policy continuums simultaneously. She underscored that housing is “so much more than a roof over your head,” as it provides a means of inclusion into city life.

On inclusive urban development, Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director, ActionAid, India, urged revisiting the concept of public social housing, and cautioned against housing speculation that could lead to housing bubbles. He further called for a moratorium on forced evictions and displacement.

On increasing the inclusiveness of cities, Brown outlined a number of challenges, including: creating cities for people and not for profit; recognizing slums and informal settlements as part of the housing continuum; acknowledging the role of housing in addressing urban disasters; and halting the steady erosion of affordable housing.

Chachra cited financing needs as important and underscored, inter alia, looking beyond megacities towards smaller cities and satellite towns.

Walendom stressed planning should be at the forefront of urban design. Moderator Weir encouraged reflecting on the role of the private sector.

Women advocated for paying more attention to the theme of affordability and noted, for example, how widows are frequently in detrimental situations. 

Brazil emphasized that human rights should be fully integrated into the New Urban Agenda. She said that, when considering housing, the issue of scale must be addressed and that housing deficits should be prioritized. Slum areas, she noted, should be considered governmental measures, such as the promotion of basic services.

Singapore recalled how the country has successfully managed to provide better housing for its population, which largely lived in slums in the past, and stressed long-term financial planning.

Zambia recognized the importance of effective housing policies that improve affordability, and called for protecting public spaces to enable social cohesion.

Spain recalled the economic crisis and the pressure that this placed on the housing sector, suggesting that better settlement policies could address this.

Canada emphasized increasing the profile of housing affordability in the New Urban Agenda and also noted the importance of retrofitting existing infrastructure.

Mexico underlined the need to ensure affordable housing for all, saying strategies to assist the most vulnerable people must be prioritized and that housing itself is not the only solution.

UN-Habitat underscored that the links between housing and urban planning must be encouraged and that housing should be brought back to the center of the New Urban Agenda.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted that the housing sector represents a challenge for the environment, given that 12% of global water use is destined for the construction sector, and stressed that targeted actions will be vital to ensure a holistic approach. She suggested focusing on refurbishment of buildings in developing countries, as an opportunity to “get it right.”

Chachra reiterated the role of mixed housing to take this debate forward. Walendom recalled principles from the Paris Agreement and stressed overcoming financial scarcity to fund sustainable housing.

Thematic Panel on Public Spaces, Informal Settlements and Civic Engagement: On Tuesday, Moderator Robert Lewis-Lettington, UN-Habitat, opened the session and introduced the speakers.

Lluís Brau, Principal, Nova Gestió SLP, Urban and Regional Planning Office, Barcelona, Spain, presented the Barcelona Declaration on Public Spaces. Underscoring that the share of public spaces is as low as 5-10% in precarious urban areas, he noted the need to manage urban sprawl and ensure sufficient public spaces in these areas.

William Jiyana, Department of Human Settlements, South Africa, presented the Pretoria Declaration on Informal Settlements, highlighting the need for strengthened multi-stakeholder partnerships and for participatory approaches ensuring that “slum dwellers are not the subject of discussion but are part of the discussion.”

Eytan Schwartz, CEO, Tel Aviv Global, highlighted key aspects of the Tel Aviv Declaration on Civic Engagement, saying it calls for: smart civic engagement strategies; citizen-centered municipality; and multiple platforms for continuous civic engagement.

Lucy Earle, Department for International Development, UK, highlighted linkages between the New Urban Agenda and humanitarian issues, particularly informal settlements established by refugees and internally displaced peoples. To address these, she urged, inter alia: support for affected municipalities; inclusion of displacement into urbanization plans; and identification of relocation sites for informal settlements as part of disaster preparedness plans.

Veronica Katalushi, Huairou Commission, outlined that those living in informal settlements are vulnerable to spatial, social and economic inequalities, saying that these can only be effectively addressed through sustainable urbanization policies. She called for strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships and ensuring sound accountability mechanisms.

Local Authorities underscored that the “right to the city” should be at the heart of the global agenda, noting that successful practices should be prioritized during Habitat III.

UNEP emphasized the importance of promoting green public spaces and their role as providers of ecosystem services.

UN-Habitat said housing should be brought back at the center of the New Urban Agenda. South Africa underscored the partnership approach to formulate policy and implementation and said that the New Urban Agenda must emphasize the role of all relevant actors and stakeholders. The Dominican Republic urged explicitly making the link between the Habitat III agenda and the humanitarian agenda.

Children and Youth highlighted the need to integrate policies on informal settlements to improve civic engagement. With respect to monitoring effectiveness, she mentioned that political ambition is a more critical component.

Ecuador stressed that public spaces and informal settlements should be evaluated in terms of “quality rather than quantity,” given that these areas must be safe, notably for women.

Women called for including gender perspectives in urban policy processes and: addressing gender-based violence in public spaces; increasing inclusiveness and equal access for women and men to infrastructure and city services; and increasing women’s participation in public spaces and processes.

SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE URBAN GROWTH, PROSPERITY AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL: On Wednesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier opened the morning session on “sustainable and inclusive urban growth, prosperity and opportunities for all,” which was composed of two parts: “Urban Economic Development Strategies” and “Urban Services and Technology.”

Urban Economic Development: On Wednesday, Le-Yin Zhang, University College London, UK, moderated the session.

Miguel Luiz Bucalem, University of São Paulo, Brazil, stressed the need to integrate spatial and economic aspects at all city levels. He said the structure of a city affects its ability to support economic development and interconnectivity for workers. He noted the importance of a long-term strategy shared by all stakeholders as a powerful instrument to articulate policies and sectorial growth.

Michael Cohen, New School, US, said that cities generate a large proportion of national gross domestic product (GDP), and that the economic future of countries depends on productivity generated in cities. He noted that conditions to increase urban economic productivity includes firm size, connectivity, training and infrastructure.

Se Hoon Park, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements, Republic of Korea, said South Korea and China’s rapid economic development illustrates the vital role of employment and industries in incorporating low-skilled workers into the economy. He underscored the importance of creative industries in the development of the New Urban Agenda.

Margaret Lombe, Boston College School of Social Work, US, stressed the challenges of social exclusion, noting that meaningful engagement in income production is crucial for the welfare of urban populations. She noted the contributions of the informal sector to urban economic growth and emphasized the importance of contextualized data.

Bernhard Müller, Executive Director, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany, called for clearer references on how to develop compact cities in the New Urban Agenda, including how they relate to land use, political aspects and culture.

Shipra Suri, Vice President, International Society of City and Regional Planners, underscored integrating spatial and economic development strategies. She said that spatial development strategies are especially key in this current time of economic stagnation and downturn. She urged for policies to look at the farthest fringes of the informal economy and aim to empower and destigmatize those on the periphery.

Japan stated that urban policies at all levels are needed to deal with rapid urbanization. Canada called for addressing underrepresentation and lack of inclusion, so that all citizens can be included and have decent work and no one is left behind. She also said that enhanced urban governance will lead to strengthened urban economies. Indonesia underlined policy options to support the informal economy.

The GAP Constituent Group Grassroots Organizations said that cities need to adopt policies to: support the working poor in the informal economy; formalize engagement and partnerships with local and national governments; empower grassroots organizations; and formulate laws to promote these groups of people.

Brazil called for emphasizing the role of the private sector in the urban economy, reminding that work alone does not lead to empowerment, and urged for an increase in “decent work.” The WHO suggested inclusion of the health sector in policies and activities to mitigate risks, decrease health problems and increase productivity.

Colombia suggested priority areas, including: the long-term sustainability of economic growth; education; and the effectiveness of tax and taxation systems.

The Scientific and Technological Community advocated for improving the science-policy interface, using and integrating new data sources and applying urban design methods. Zambia cited the need for data on activities in the informal sector, planning processes for economic development zones, involvement of youth, and capacity building for local urban authorities.

Highlighting workers’ rights and social dialogue, the International Labour Organization (ILO) stressed that Habitat III should encompass decent work, safety, health and social protection.

Singapore emphasized the need for integrated planning for suitable housing and quality of life and for urban economic development to be balanced with the environment.

Responding to comments from the participants, the panelists emphasized: the challenge of integrating thematic areas to ensure inclusive cities and overcome inequalities; the need to promote productive and decent jobs, and investments in support of urban economic development; the need for inclusive policies and comprehensive planning; the importance of integrating external costs; and the need to identify and remove structural barriers to productivity at national and city levels. They also cautioned that looking for more data can mean postponing action and a focus on technology can make cities more exclusionary.

Urban Services and Technology: On Wednesday, Jérôme Pourbaix, International Association for Public Transport (UITP), moderated the session. He outlined the main outcomes of the paper produced by Policy Unit 9 on urban services and technologies, emphasizing that local governments are best placed to carry out urban planning.

Ton Dassen, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, underlined that cities are excellent areas for new experiments and for fostering learning networks at the local level. He also proposed focusing on the transformative role of urban areas’ outskirts, for example, by focusing on collective transport, stressing that technology is always a means and not an end in itself.

Caroline Kihato, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, stressed the “usual” lack of capacity for local governments to cope with social demands, notably in the global South. Mentioning that communities struggle to wait for more robust changes, such as regulatory or legislative reform. She argued that decriminalization of the informal sector could be an “easy” solution for boosting cities’ economies.

Bernard Abeiku Arthur, Cities Alliance, highlighted the need to address: effective decentralization and the related transfer of resources; allocation of specific mandates to local and municipal levels; and capacity building to manage or regulate public services. He stressed the importance of mass media as a tool to disseminate information on basic services to marginalized groups.

Maroš Finka, Slovak University of Technology, highlighted as elements to be addressed in the New Urban Agenda: safeguarding resource accessibility and promoting intra- and inter-community solidarity; emphasizing local communities’ role in sustainable resource use; using urban eco-services as a substitute to technological solutions; promoting safety and security of technologies; increasing the efficiency of urban transport systems; and including the needs of specific social groups and minorities.

Noting the linkages with Policy Unit 3 on national urban policy, Toshiyasu Noda, Seinan Gakuin University, Japan, discussed how national urban policies could guide local authorities in providing urban services, using technology, and promoting the reduction of resource consumption and a strong shift to low carbon energy systems.

South Africa said provision of urban services should move beyond energy, sanitation and water to allow full interaction in the economy. She stated living in cities must be affordable and not just be limited to affordable housing, and called for a focus on spatial transformation across all geographic scales.

Norway stressed the importance of public transport provision, saying that this should be underscored in the New Urban Agenda. Mexico said that the New Urban Agenda emphasized provision of sustainable transport, highlighting that this should be prioritized, as well as reflected in investment and infrastructure decisions.

Local Authorities said that the aim of “leaving no one behind” and universal access to services can only be achieved by: rethinking models of local governance; reviewing the financial system; and aligning policies with the 2030 Agenda.

The Russian Federation said that reference should be made to transport and road safety, including through establishing safe routes for children, stricter safety standards, and improving highways and transport infrastructure.

Colombia emphasized coordination between national and local authorities, a systemic approach to urban policies, and establishment of national urban policies. Canada highlighted gaps in the Habitat III dialogue, calling for acknowledging the importance of health services. Women called for recognizing the role of women and integrating it into gender-responsive policies and plans.

Singapore recalled its experience in overcoming water stress, highlighting the importance of finance, pricing and innovative technology, together with engagement of citizens, to offer quality water services.

Indonesia underscored that innovative technologies should support communities to improve, in particular, the quality of services and housing in cities.

The ILO stressed that the generation of decent work depends on social dialogue, multiple stakeholders, effective training and supportive regulatory policies.

GAP stressed that new technologies would have little use if policy directions are incorrect, noting the negative effects of subsidies and long-term finance deficiencies to promote sustainability.

ECOLOGICAL AND RESILIENT CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: On Wednesday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier introduced the afternoon session on “ecological and resilient cities and human settlements,” which was composed of two panels on: “Urban Ecology and Resilience,” and “Sustainable Energy.”

Urban Ecology and Resilience: On Wednesday, Moderator Martina Otto, UNEP, introduced the panel, stressing that cities are today more exposed to shocks, such as those brought about by climate change, and that the way we produce and consume has changed.

Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, Rockefeller Foundation, and Sharon Gil, UNEP, presented the work of Policy Unit 8 on urban ecology and resilience, noting that environmental threats are interconnected and that sustainability and resilience should be addressed through long-term planning.

Highlighting that New York City’s per capita GHG emissions are only one third of average American per capita emissions, David Dodman, International Institute for Environment and Development, UK, noted that cities, rather than only being a cause of environmental threats, can create resilience, provide solutions and engender equality for all.

Alessandra Fidanza, Registered Architect and Urban Planner, Italy, stressed that, after Paris, it is time to undertake actions that also have mitigation and adaptation values. She highlighted the need to regenerate cities, look at abandoned and underused areas in cities, regenerate the urban economy and social community, and promote the sustainability of the “urban fabric.”

Sylvanus Kofi Adzornu, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Environment, Ghana, emphasized the importance of: promoting densification through vertical cities; boosting green energy; and introducing green areas in public spaces. He concluded underscoring the vitality of long-term planning and sustainable finance.

Taufique Hossain, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, Bangladesh, recalled the challenges of floods in Bangladesh, stressing the importance of hazard management and enhanced communication tools with communities. He noted the challenges of implementing international frameworks at the local level, such as the Sendai Framework on DRR, and the necessity of participatory decision-making to promote sustainable cities.

Maryam Hariri, Ogilvy Earth and New York University, said that, due to the growing complexity of hazards related to climate change, cities must prepare for secondary impacts, such as economic devastation, political disruption, and social exclusion, which are not usually anticipated by scientific models.

Marta Aguilar, Ministry of Federal Planning, Public Investment and Services, Argentina, called for reviewing how cities are built and governed, with respect to resource consumption and distribution. She suggested that to address challenges effectively, it is necessary to understand the conditions and characteristics of the region.

With Indonesia, Japan said that mainstreaming DRR is indispensable and should be promoted, and that human-centered DRR approaches are crucial. The Netherlands underscored the importance of placing water at the center of urban resilience, using a preventative approach to planning, and taking cognizance of urbanizing deltas. Indonesia also urged for closer collaboration between archipelagic states and small island developing states (SIDS), given the similar risks they face, as part of the New Urban Agenda.

Women lamented the limited involvement of the most vulnerable groups in planning and policy processes, underscoring that all cities should have policies that involve these marginalized populations.

Local Authorities said that the New Urban Agenda should be the universal driving framework of SDG 11. France stated that this is the appropriate time to consider how environment and sustainable development can contribute to the New Urban Agenda, stressing that the sustainability agenda can be a driver for the results desired from the New Urban Agenda.

Colombia stated that Habitat III is about how we inhabit our planet and the environment should be at the core of the conference, noting that leaving the environment at the periphery of policies has led to the disasters currently being faced. Norway said that the environmental component of the New Urban Agenda must be strong and provide clear recommendations and guidance on what action may be needed.

China noted the importance of technology for ensuring sustainable urban resilience, and proposed establishing a disaster self-evaluation system to ensure sufficient capacity to deal with these issues. Switzerland stressed that the New Urban Agenda should adequately reflect the importance of climate change adaptation and mitigation, and concretely address relevant SDGs and targets throughout every section of the New Urban Agenda.

In conclusion, panelists underscored the importance of enabling environments and access to funding to ensure adequate action to address urban resilience and climate change.

Sustainable Energy: On Wednesday, Marcus Mayr, UN-Habitat, moderated the session.

Hana AlHashimi, Permanent Mission to the UN, UAE, argued that a renewable energy revolution is now possible as the business case for sustainable energy is now clear, notably because of drastic price reductions.

Elizabeth Press, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), highlighted that, beyond climate change, the reason for a significant increase in the use of renewable energy relates to an improvement in the business case for clean energy. Recalling that 80% of global energy use occurs in cities, she emphasized the potential for democratizing societies and leveraging social standards in urban regions through investments in renewables, in particular those linked to: low-energy buildings; heating and cooling; electric mobility; cooking fuels and waste; and financing and capacity building related to renewables.

On energy supply, Irina Ilina, Institute of Regional Studies and Urban Planning of Moscow, Russian Federation, citing the case of the Russia Federation, stressed that the country is rich in energy, but has difficulties reducing energy consumption in residential areas, which account for approximately 25% of the total energy consumption in the country.

Isaac Frimpong Mensa-Bonsu, National Development Planning Commission and Member of the Energy Commission, Ghana, stressed the strong link between energy consumption and development, in particular in developing countries, and the critical need to turn to renewable or sustainable energy sources.

Frances Birungi-Odong, Huairou Commission, said energy is not a gender-neutral sector and that gender, inequality, safety, isolation and empowerment must be addressed in sustainable urbanization. She stressed the importance of providing reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to the poor.

On the shift towards sustainable and renewable energy use, Mensa-Bonsu said “people have to understand, then they will invest,” noting that legislation will also be necessary to ensure the transition becomes mandatory.

Ilina emphasized that each country should have strategic energy policies and long-term strategies for energy consumption, taking into account its economic and climatic conditions.

Birungi-Odong emphasized the need for financial strategies and schemes to access financial resources to promote energy efficient enterprises. Press noted that introducing energy efficiency measures simply requires political decisions and that regulatory reforms are needed.

AlHashimi provided an overview of activities being conducted in the UAE to encourage women’s involvement in the renewable energy field. Press urged looking at energy holistically and viewing it through health, gender and empowerment lenses, among others.

Mensa-Bonsu said that policies should address issues of access to ensure no one is left behind. He also stated that efficiency is key, citing the transport sector as an area to be addressed.

On the role of renewables to support sustainable urbanization, Children and Youth said that renewable, green, accessible and community-owned energy is a cornerstone of such an agenda.

The ILO underscored the necessity of training to equip the actors, namely workers, which will be responsible for bringing about these changes. UN-Habitat noted that transformative impacts could be made if cities play a prominent role in decarbonization, welcoming efforts to localize energy production.

Women said that sustainable energy is a basic precondition to achieve many development goals, noting that there is now a standalone SDG on the issue, and urged for training women in the sustainable and renewable energy sectors.

Wrap Up: On Wednesday, Co-Chair Gautier moderated this session.

Robert Lewis-Lettington, UN-Habitat, outlined discussions on the need to adopt an inclusive approach on housing, expand affordability, upgrade informal settlements and promote accessible building materials. On civic engagement, he noted that public spaces represent opportunities for social and environmental change. He added that technology and long-term planning are allies of effective housing planning and concluded that local authorities and the principle of subsidiarity are fundamental.

On urban economy, Edmundo Werna, ILO, recalled the need to focus on compact cities, improvement of infrastructure, finance, governance and job creation, including further attention to the informal sector. As the way forward, he mentioned the promotion, for example, of global entrepreneurship and narrower links between the environment and health sectors. On Policy Unit 9 on urban services and technology, he underscored the importance of multi-level governance and stronger local leadership, supported by local business and citizens; and that international institutions should provide funding and capacity building.

Marcus Mayr, UN-Habitat, stressed key factors enabling resilient cities, including that: cities are opportunities for catalyzing sustainability; infrastructure needs to be interconnected to increase adaptive capacity; efficiency is the backbone to meet energy goals; and a holistic view of renewable energy should be encouraged. He noted the need to mainstream ecology in policies and regulation, as well as the importance of changing lifestyles to do “more with less.”

EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION

On Thursday, Co-Chair Gautier opened the morning discussions announcing “Effective Implementation” as the main focus of the day. Under the theme of “establishing supportive national, regional and local framework,” she announced two panels: “National Urban Policies” and “Urban Governance.”

ESTABLISHING A SUPPORTIVE NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND LOCAL FRAMEWORK: National Urban Policies: On Thursday, Rafael Tuts, UN-Habitat, moderated the session. Rüdiger Ahrend, OECD, outlined recommendations from Policy Unit 3 on national urban policies. He emphasized that successful national urban policies can help with implementing the SDGs, unlocking international finance for development, and assisting with the adjustment of local legislation and institutional frameworks.

Jago Dodson, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia, underscored recognizing the need for renewed national urban plans at the national level. He added that national urban plans should be crafted in accordance with cultural, social and economic specificities, suggesting the need to respect diversity and to encourage partnerships.

Olenka Ochoa, Federation of Municipal Women of Latin American and the Caribbean, Peru, underscored that it is imperative for the New Urban Agenda to be fed into institutional and legal frameworks, and, noting the Latin American experience, to ensure citizen participation in cities’ administration. She also underlined the need to ensure the legitimacy of the New Urban Agenda through information and communication.

Thomas Coggin, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, underscored participation should be about involving stakeholders in crafting urban policy from the outset. He emphasized protecting the rights of citizens, including through laws for land rights, moratoriums on eviction and dispute settlement facilitation.

Eugénie Birch, University of Pennsylvania, US, underscored the New Urban Agenda needs to recognize that each nation is made up of many regions with different settlement forms and sizes. She called for minimum standards on environmental quality, transformative investments considering regional differences, and transaction protections and regulations for the use of public goods in the New Urban Agenda.

Ishtiaque Zahir, Architect, Union of International Architects, Bangladesh, said that, for effective implementation, local authorities must acknowledge national legislation, saying that local policy must be formulated and based on national legislation. He stressed the importance of empowering local authorities with capacity, authority and finance.

Taibat Lawanson, University of Lagos, Nigeria, stated that national urban policies that recognize the rural-urban continuum provide sound frameworks for sustainable urbanization. She underlined strengthening local authorities’ capacity to be involved in forming national urban policies.

Mexico advocated strengthening national urban policies through sustainable, holistic management of cities and linkages between rural, peri-urban and urban areas. Japan said that inclusive, sustainable and resilient urban growth cannot be achieved without national urban policies.

Zambia said that national urban policies should: provide a framework and shared vision for urbanization; address rapid urbanization; include bottom-up approaches; and link spatial frameworks with national economic instruments. Norway noted that national urban policies are critical for empowering cities and ensuring adequate finance and capacity building for local authorities.

Women said that the New Urban Agenda should adopt territorial planning with a gender perspective and urged forming partnerships to build the capacity of women’s groups to better implement and monitor policy.

Indonesia said that the New Urban Agenda will be effective only if it is embedded in national urban policy. Morocco emphasized that enhancing local governance requires the commitment of all stakeholders at national and local levels.

Colombia stressed capacity building as a vital tool for ownership creation. China noted the importance of fully developing human resources and protecting cities’ environment as relevant ways to accomplish development goals.

WHO emphasized that coherence across all levels, when implementing urban policies, is essential, but still missing.

UN-Habitat recalled that good urban design requires: functional regulatory tools; financial instruments that promote inclusion and sustainable development in the long-term; and prioritization of adequate access to land and public spaces.

NGOs underlined the importance of more sustainable targets in public procurement, notably related to water, urban mobility and waste.

Brazil stressed that national policies should support local governments, notably through complementary finance.

South Africa cautioned against duplicating work, urging greater attention be paid to the role of informal sectors in urban planning.

Responding to participants, panelists highlighted the need for: strong national urban policies; allocation of responsibilities, prerogatives and roles among different levels of government; stock takes of national and sub-national capacity in urban planning; use of the UN-Habitat Guidelines for Urban and Territorial Planning; people-centered national urban policies, considering specific groups such as women and youth in protection laws; and democracy, accountability and transparent financial management.

Urban Governance, Capacity and Institutional Development: Moderator Emilia Saiz, Deputy Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments, introduced the session. Philipp Rode, London School of Economics and Political Science, presented the work of Policy Unit 4 on urban governance, capacity and institutional development, noting that cities currently lack effective participatory policies, in addition to the power and resources to deliver many of their expected functions.

Fatimetou Mint Abdel Malick, President, Network of Local Elected Women of Africa, stressed that urban governance should be inclusive, democratic, transparent and participatory. Emphasizing decentralization and the importance of proximity, she underlined the role of local elected representatives in fostering citizens’ involvement and the local dimension of development.

Martin Grisel, European Urban Knowledge Network, said that the SDGs will not be met without having a set of robust governance instruments. He said that for robust, multi-level governance in the New Urban Agenda, thinking needs to go beyond governance as a system, and understand that it is also a mindset and a culture that is flexible and open to experiments, learning, capacity building and innovation.

Anacláudia Rossbach, Cities Alliance, said that effective multi-level governance is a long-term process, proving the foundation for sustainable cities. She outlined the importance of using both bottom-up and top-down approaches, to ensure the effective participation of all stakeholders in all roles and aspects of governance.

Zione Ntaba, Judge, High Court, Malawi, underscored the importance of contextualizing national legal frameworks for implementing international agreements, treaties and frameworks. She lamented that the New Urban Agenda has not taken note of the role of courts, saying that they are fundamental for implementation.

Rod Regier, City of Kitchener, Canada, said that true dialogue with communities to produce a collective “vision” is key to implementing the New Urban Agenda. He recalled, however, that clearer mandates for local authorities, such as those related to fiscal authority, are required.

Wicaksono Sarosa, Executive Director, Kemitraan-Habitat, Indonesia, mentioned that digital technology is a hope for cities, but also represents a source of tensions, citing the example of Uber. He concluded emphasizing that it is pertinent for governments to deal with dynamic mobility in a flexible manner.

In the ensuing debate, several issues were raised, notably the need for: reinforcing strong legal frameworks under the Habitat III outcome document; clearly linking the urban and the sustainability agendas; and going beyond urban areas to include, inter alia, rural areas and SIDS.

Ghana said that in the context of urban growth, the major challenges are decentralization and interjurisdictional cooperation. The Netherlands highlighted finding new leadership and participatory models and new urban policies fostering innovation. Brazil underscored public participation in decision-making processes and said that, in spite of technical improvement, many countries still lack data on this matter.

Children and Youth underlined the need to address evidence-based approaches, ecological and social externalities, integrated territorial development, coherence between different policy frameworks, and barriers such as political will to share power and non-acceptance of sound scientific concepts.

South Africa emphasized: the impact of resettlement on the environment; social, economic and ecological integration; and the transfer of responsibility to municipalities. With Colombia and Zambia, she called for strong coordination across government levels to close the territorial gap.

GAP stressed that resources have to be vested in local authorities, which have a critical role in promoting resilience.

Colombia reiterated the importance of integrated, balanced territorial planning, horizontal coordination, and partnerships between urban and rural municipalities.

Singapore said effective urban planning governance: leads with vision and pragmatism; has a culture of integrity, institutionalizing policy that increases transparency; cultivates sound institutions; involves communities and stakeholders; and works with the market, with socially beneficial objectives.

Zambia underscored capacity building, and inclusive and transparent participation of citizens in planning processes.

Noting the link between migration and urbanization, the International Organization for Migration, said that migration is a key driver of city growth, and of diversity in cities. He underscored that migration policy is the domain of national government but is implemented at the local level and, therefore, local governments should be involved.

STRATEGIC AND INTEGRATED PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF URBAN SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT: On Thursday, Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier introduced the two panel discussions on “Urban Spatial Strategies” and “Metropolitan Areas and Intermediate Cities.”

 Urban Spatial Strategies - Land Market Segregation: Alice Siragusa, National Institute of Urban Planning, Italy, noted that urban spatial strategies must ensure that the benefits of the city and urbanism are extended to all, irrespective of status, income and class.

Co-Moderator Shi Nan, Urban Planning Society, China, underscored that lessons learned from others must be adapted and integrated into the local context. He underscored that, if well-organized and well-integrated, a planning system it will help to promote sustainable development.

Co-Moderator Pietro Garau, National Institute of Urban Planning, Italy, stated that “if we implement blindly, there will not be any progress.”

Relinda Sosa Pérez, GROOTS Peru, said the use of land leads to inequalities and segregation when policies to mitigate against this are absent. As examples, she cited housing market as an area where exclusion is generated, leading to increased poverty. She urged linking the New Urban Agenda with the Sendai Framework on DRR, the Paris Climate Agreement and SDGs, called for inclusive planning, and stated that people need to be empowered to move the New Urban Agenda forward.

Susan Parnell, African Centre for Cities, recalled how urban planners frequently lack power and face multiple strategies to deal with challenges ranging from conservation of biodiversity and access to sanitation, as well as mitigation and adaptation to climate change. She called thus for the empowerment of urban planners to ensure the enforcement of law and good practices in urban areas.

Karel Maier, Czech University of Life Sciences, recollected that urban strategies and spatial planning must provide good public spaces for all, stressing that effective planning is an investment and not a cost.

Myounggu Kang, University of Seoul, Republic of Korea, noted that city efficiency and land productivity are essential elements of good spatial planning and called for the implementation of densification strategies, as well as for the support of land productivity through retrofitting.

Han Verschure, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, argued that planning “is and will always be necessary,” but needs to become more flexible and dynamic, as well as less top-down. He underscored that planning is always contextual and highlighted the need to tackle land speculation.

Noting urban space planning strategies can advance sustainable development, Thomas Dallessio, President and CEO, Next City, US, said that effective urban planning requires the New Urban Agenda, a national urban policy in each country, sophisticated communication strategies, key examples to follow, tool-kits, incentives, extended planning capacity at all levels and leadership.

Brazil emphasized the need for equitable access to services and noted that the large-scale housing deficit should be addressed at all levels, through, inter alia, spatial strategy and urban planning, including peripheral areas.

Italy said the New Urban Agenda should focus on: the adoption of place-based approaches to respond to particular needs; the application of participatory mechanisms; green and resilient cities, regenerating cities and peripheries; urban agriculture; migration; and good, collaborative and multi-level governance.

China underlined that sustainable urban development requires urban planning to: consider urban dwellers’ demands; reflect social equality, justice and environmental accountability; advocate for environmental protection; emphasize cultural heritage; and be integrated.

Local Authorities emphasized territorial approaches and cohesion. Colombia underscored the New Urban Agenda should address territorial interdependencies, functional territories, equitable distribution of resources, urban sprawl, economies of scale, pollution, access to finance by local and national governments and capacity building.

Metropolitan Areas and Intermediate Cities: Moderator Remy Sietchiping, UN-Habitat, introduced the session, noting that the session will address governance, financing and planning of metropolitan areas and intermediate cities.

Chantal Deschamps, Member, Executive Committee of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, Canada, provided an overview of the Montreal Declaration on Metropolitan Areas, noting that the population of urban territorial areas is steadily increasing and is playing a central role in the social, cultural, environmental and economic development of nations.

Raija Hynynen, Ministry of the Environment, Finland, stated that the New Urban Agenda must recognize metropolitan area governance, saying metropolitan areas often comprise a number of local governments. She urged integrated approaches when formulating and implementing policies.

Christine Felicity Platt, Commonwealth Association of Planners, highlighted the move toward participatory, fit-for-purpose planning and provided an overview of the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning, which could be adapted to local situations. She stated that the Cuenca Declaration on Intermediate Cities recognized the role of intermediate areas, underscoring the function that intermediate areas fulfill in helping ensure food security.

Quazi Baby, Executive Director, Participatory Development Action Program, Bangladesh, focused on gender issues and their relationship with urban sustainability. She said that the Montreal Declaration illustrates the importance of democratic participation and the inclusion of marginalized portions of the population as elements of successful urban planning.

Alphonce Kyessi, Ardhi University, Tanzania, underscored that, for the global South, rapid urbanization can become a setback. He also argued that integrating strategic and coherent planning to guide development is key to overcoming this challenge and called for more attention to be paid to peripheral areas.

During discussions, Singapore stated that a sustainable city is an inclusive one and said that “plans must leave the papers.”

UN-Habitat recalled the past fast pace of urbanization, calling for clearer focus on the nexus between metropolitan areas, governance and finance.

The ILO emphasized the connection between housing and employment policies, saying that public spaces play an important role in the economy, as they are venues for work.

NGOs suggested that helping families in rural areas is a reliable way to promote resilience and sustainability in cities.

Children and Youth underscored that focusing on cities alone cannot tackle current urban problems and suggested further attention be paid to finance schemes that promote sector synergies.

Wrap Up: On Thursday afternoon, Co-Chair Gautier moderated this session.

Minerva Novero-Belec, UN Development Programme, recalled that cities do not develop in isolation, and that resilience requires holistic and integrated approaches. Emphasizing the need for a social basis for the New Urban Agenda, she underlined inclusion, empowerment and universal participation, as well as accountability, legal frameworks, fair and just processes, and emphasized the call for capacity building for all stakeholders’ groups, in particular all government levels, particularly in developing countries. She underscored recommendations for strong multi-level governance frameworks, decentralization, territorial approaches and democratic governance.

On designing urban spaces as public goods, Remy Sietchiping, UN-Habitat, emphasized, among others, the need for: efficient land use and tenure; balance between bottom-up and top-down approaches; people centered-approaches; communication strategies; spatial strategies that combine urban areas with new areas; means of addressing migrant flows; and plans for equity instead of segregation. On metropolitan areas and intermediate cities, he underscored: multi-level cooperation; partnerships both between municipalities and between government levels; innovative models of collaboration; holistic approaches; fit-for-purpose planning; and subsidiarity, democracy, bottom-up, integration and participatory principles.

ENHANCING THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION

Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal Systems: Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier opened the morning session outlining the themes as “enhancing the means of implementation: follow-up and review” and “enhancing financing and other means of implementation” as conductors of debates. She then specified the titles of the two panels: “municipal finance and local fiscal systems” and “financing urban development.”

ENHANCHING FINANCING AND OTHER MOI: Samuel Moody, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, moderated the session, together with Lourdes Germán, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Co-Moderator Germán presented the work of Policy Unit 5, on enhancing financing and other MOI, focusing on the challenges facing municipalities related to infrastructure and finance. She highlighted some priority areas for policy reform, such as: appropriate devolution of the authority to collect local taxes, to set rates and to control assessment of tax bases, and flexibility for local governments to adopt the right mix of revenue sources to generate budget stability over time.

Raquel Cecilia Kismer de Olmos, National University of Tres de Febrero, Argentina, stated that municipal finance is a crucial tool to deal with rapid urbanization growth, but underscored the challenge of national capacity constraints. She argued that municipal finance is not only a technical issue, but reflects strong political influence, calling for greater coherence between national and local expenditures and planning.

Slaven Razmilic, Centro de Estudios Públicos, Chile, said the establishment and collection of charges and fees, even if they are low, is critical, and noted linking this mechanism to specific services can help move towards more sustainable development. He also underscored local revenue sources, inter alia, taxation systems and land value capture, as a source of steady income flows, noting that national governments should allow local governments to leverage them.

On the community perspective, Jane Anyango, Executive Director, Polycom Development Project, Kenya, underscored the need to avoid duplication resulting from financing projects that take care of needs already addressed elsewhere, by: fostering community participation, in particular of women, from the initial stages; integrating planning and financing; and allowing people to assess and establish what they need and what they can achieve.

Peter Tyler, University of Cambridge, UK, underscored national governments should provide city managers sufficient financial autonomy and access to tax and other incomes, so that they can efficiently manage their resources and infrastructure plans. He also stressed risk management, financial capacity, cities’ ability to generate their own income, and partnerships.

Tadashi Matsumoto, OECD, stressed horizontal coordination of fiscal policies, particularly in Metropolitan areas. He underscored the positive benefits of cooperation between local and national governments on the issue of municipal finance.

Many countries provided an overview of national municipal finance activities. The EU urged the New Urban Agenda to address all finance options and encouraged explicitly linking policy frameworks with financial means. South Africa said that integrated fiscal frameworks for human settlements are crucial and urged for disaggregated budget and expenditure data to be made publicly available for greater transparency and accountability.

Central African Republic called for recommendations to be transferred into targeted, pragmatic action for tangible outcomes. Children and Youth called for people-centered and planet-sensitive fiscal frameworks. Zambia advocated promoting municipal finance through full fiscal devolution.

Women noted the role of fiscal planning and policy to ensure meeting the differentiated needs of women and men. The ILO underscored the importance of finance to ensure decent work, saying this would have positive fiscal impacts.

UN-Habitat said sound municipal finance must be part of national urban policies. Local Authorities argued that more efforts must be made to enhance fiscal decentralization and boost innovative mechanisms of financing.

Financing Urban Development: David Jackson, UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), moderated the panel.

Luis Zamorano Ruiz, Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda, Mexico City, Mexico, outlined the main elements of the Mexico City Declaration for Habitat III on “Localizing finance for inclusive change.” He stressed that this document calls for local governments to be empowered to finance urban development and reinforced that cities are key allies for investment. On actionable points for inclusive change, he underscored: fiscal and financial decentralization; endogenous resources and land-based financing; promotion of private sector investments; informal economy and new patterns of consumption and production; climate and resilience finance; and local and regional governments as global actors.

Hilmar von Lojewski, Association of German Cities, emphasized the private sector and land issues as key points when dealing with urban development and sustainable issues. He noted that the private sector cannot be disconnected from the government when decisions on land investments are being made, and argued that basic public services must be provided through public channels.

Emphasizing many developing countries have limited financial options in terms of urban development, Agnes Kalibbala, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda, lamented urban finance is often about competition rather than a win-win solution. She underscored, among others: increased and diversified finance sources such as land value capture; sound financial management; project development rather than relying on funding from central government; public-private partnerships; equitable revenue sharing; and building local authorities capacities in these areas.

Oleg Golubchikov, Cardiff University, UK, highlighted the Mexico City Declaration for Habitat III in addressing the gaps between the New Urban Agenda and mobilizing finance for its implementation, to prevent it becoming a list of “wishful thinking.” Stressing finance and capital as part of the problem, not only of the solution, he underscored that urban finance is an ethically charged, non-neutral concept, and urged developing “cities for people not for profit.”

Indonesia underscored the political and ethical dimensions of urban finance. Emphasizing communities’ role in urban finance, he underscored the financial mechanism put forward by the Community Organizations Development Institute in Thailand, where community organizations get bank loans based on government endorsement.

Children and Youth urged the New Urban Agenda to address the problem of illicit financial flows.

Zambia recommended that housing development be specifically budgeted for, underscoring the importance of political will and transparency in social housing.

Responding to the discussion, Ruiz underscored the importance of maintaining revenues, and said local authorities need mechanisms for transparency and accountability. Von Lojewski urged further discussion on how to include the private sector in a constructive manner. Kalibbala underscored the importance of political commitment for the New Urban Agenda, and urged creating incentives for private sector involvement in smaller countries.

FOLLOW-UP AND REVIEW OF THE NEW URBAN AGENDA

Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier opened and moderated the afternoon session. David Jackson, UNCDF, reported on the morning discussions highlighting that Habitat III could be a catalyst for the 2030 Development Agenda.

Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos expressed his satisfaction with participants’ engagement at the meeting and the UN systems’ willingness to support the Habitat III process. He stressed the importance of urbanization for sustainable development, noting changes in the way development is conceived, as well as the understanding of the role of urbanization. In the last 20 years, he noted the dramatic shifts in development approaches, suggesting that urbanization is not a neutral development factor. He concluded that the nature of urbanization considerably affects the way that cities and countries develop.

Habitat III Co-Chair Gautier thanked stakeholders for the lively engagement and summarized key messages from the week, including: resource management systems are necessary; urban development must take the protection and maintenance of cultural heritage into account to ensure inclusive cities; informal sectors must be considered during spatial planning; cities are forums of cross-cutting policies and cannot be perceived in isolation; and that finance must be further mobilized to foster public-private partnerships.

Thailand, on behalf of the G-77/China, underscored the need for, inter alia: cooperation mechanisms among governments and between national governments and local authorities; balanced territorial development; strategies to support strengthened urban economic development; a road map for implementing Habitat III; effective and timely participation of member states. She also noted challenges such as inequalities. She stressed addressing DRR mechanisms, including the impact of climate change on urban planning, resilience, and harnessing the opportunity to shift to low carbon trajectory.

Noting the specificities and challenges of SIDS, the Maldives, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, stressed SIDS have different governance structures, and that “one-size-fits-all” solutions will not work.

Singapore underlined effective governance emphasizing: integrity; integrated long-term planning; long-term community-agreed goals; professionalism in public services; and the need for peer-to-peer information sharing.

Germany, with Kenya and Senegal, stressed the need for an effective follow-up and review mechanism, and with Switzerland and Brazil, noted that it should be coherent and aligned with the 2030 Agenda. The process, Germany said, should take place at global, national, sub-national and local levels, engage multi-lateral institutions, and provide regular qualitative analysis of progress in the implementation of both the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs.

Switzerland noted Habitat III constitutes a milestone that paves the way for including the urban dimension in the 2030 Agenda.

Kenya recalled the Abuja Declaration’s call for strengthening UN-Habitat, including to have universal membership. He also noted the financial challenge faced by the UN, and the need for a new institution to lead sustainable urbanization.

UNCDF underscored, among others: the need to review key elements of the international and national financial architecture; the need for disaggregated city-level data as a complement to national-level data; and that if finance is to be made available, there is a need to look at how the “fiscal pie” is distributed.

GAP stated that they would be providing their outcome document to the Habitat III Bureau, which among others, calls for creating a multi-stakeholder post-Habitat III coordination mechanism for follow up and review.

The GAP Constituency Partner Group Research and Academia emphasized the importance of a sound evidence-base for follow-up and review, ensuring a robust science-policy interface and an ongoing knowledge platform as a legacy for Habitat III.

The GAP Constituency Partner Group Civil Society Organizations underscored the right to adequate housing, saying that accessing this is key to sustainable urban development. Children and Youth called for coordination across the UN system to ensure cohesive action for sustainable urban development. The GAP Constituency Partner Group Older Persons urged for the New Urban Agenda to define urban areas that are safe and accessible for all inhabitants. She also advocated for creating a decade for sustainable urbanization.

UN-Women stated a gender perspective should be integrated throughout the New Urban Agenda and be guided by core principles from agreed human rights frameworks. Women advocated for ensuring capacity building is conducted with a gender lens and is inclusive and equitable.

Eugénie Birch, President of the GAP, said that the GAP would be forwarding their outcome document entitled Partnerships for a New Urban Agenda to the Bureau for its consideration. She said it is made up of three sections: principles and values shaping partnerships, urging rights-based, people-centered, contextualized, just, participatory, grounded, gender- and planet-sensitive approaches; legal and policy frameworks; and details of possible areas for GAP member contributions, including for advocacy, piloting and evaluating programmes, and monitoring implementation.

In his closing remarks, Joan Clos, Secretary-General of Habitat III, thanked all participants, ensuring that all contributions will feed into the “road to Quito.”

He closed the session at 5:03 p.m.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Local Authorities Informal Hearings: These hearings will bring together mayors and local officials to exchange views with member states on the zero draft of the outcome document of Habitat III.  dates: 16-17 May 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: www.habitat3.org

Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the first of three informal intergovernmental negotiations to deliberate on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.  dates: 18-20 May 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: www.habitat3.org

Forum on Shaping Smarter and More Sustainable Cities: Striving for Sustainable Development Goals: This Forum aims to: analyze and discuss the concept of smart sustainable cities; map current national and international initiatives on this topic; identify key challenges and opportunities; examine various standards, indicators and methodologies for assessing the performance of cities; and discuss the potential of smart sustainable cities for bolstering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  dates: 18-19 May 2016  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Domenica Carriero, UNECE Housing and Land Management Unit  phone: +4122 917 16 72  email: Domenica.Carriero@unece.org www: http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=42355#/

Civil Society Informal Hearings: These hearings will bring together members of civil society to exchange views with member states on the zero draft of the outcome document of Habitat III.  dates: 6-7 June 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org  www: http://www.habitat3.org

Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the second of three informal intergovernmental negotiations to deliberate on the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document.  dates: 8-10 June 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: http://www.habitat3.org

Informal Intergovernmental Negotiations: This is the final informal intergovernmental negotiation session prior to the third meeting of the Habitat III Preparatory Committee (PrepCom3), where the zero draft of the Habitat III outcome document will be discussed.  dates: 29 June - 1 July 2016  location: New York, US  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: http://www.habitat3.org

Resilient Cities 2016: 7th Annual Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation: Resilient Cities 2016 will focus on driving forward implementation and financing of urban resilience toward the goal of a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient urban development. The forum will address a range of issues, including inclusive resilience strategies, financing resilient cities, measuring and monitoring progress, resilience and adaptation planning, governance and collaboration, resource management, and resilient infrastructure. It will also present an opportunity to review local progress on international framework agreements, including the Sendai Framework for DRR as well as the resilient targets of SDG 11.  dates: 6-8 July 2016  location: Bonn, Germany  contact: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability World Secretariat  phone: 49–228/976 299-28  fax: +49-228/976 299-01  email: resilient.cities@iclei.org www: http://resilientcities2016.iclei.org

High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2016): The Fourth High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, convening under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, will take place on 11-15 July 2016, followed by a three-day ministerial meeting of the Forum on 18-20 July 2016. The theme of the 2016 session will be “Ensuring that no one is left behind,” as decided in an ECOSOC plenary session on 14 March 2016.  dates: 11-20 July 2016  venue: UN Headquarters  location: New York City, US  contact: Marion Barthelemy  phone: +1 (212) 963-4005  email: barthelemy1@un.org www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

Habitat III PrepCom 3: The PrepCom will hold its third of three meetings in advance of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), in Surabaya, Indonesia. Participants will discuss the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda that will focus on policies and strategies to harness urbanization.  dates: 25-27 July 2016  location: Surabaya, Indonesia  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: https://www.habitat3.org/the-new-urban-agenda/preparatory-committee

Habitat III: The UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess progress and accomplishments to date, address poverty and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The conference is expected to result in an action-oriented outcome document and the establishment of the “New Urban Agenda.”  dates: 17-20 October 2016  location: Quito, Ecuador  contact: Habitat III Secretariat  email: Habitat3Secretariat@un.org www: http://www.habitat3.org