Local Authorities Exchange Views on ‘New Urban Agenda’ Draft
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Local and regional government authorities exchanged views with UN Member States and observers on the zero draft of the 'New Urban Agenda,' the outcome document of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III).

Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos highlighted that the meeting represented the first time a dedicated platform has been made available for mayors and local leaders to directly address member states in an intergovernmental negotiations process.

Habitat III18 May 2016: Local and regional government authorities exchanged views with UN Member States and observers on the zero draft of the ‘New Urban Agenda,’ the outcome document of the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos highlighted that the meeting represented the first time a dedicated platform has been made available for mayors and local leaders to directly address member states in an intergovernmental negotiations process.

The Habitat III Informal Hearings with Local Authorities Associations convened from 16-17 May 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The meeting was followed by the first round of informal intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document, from 18-20 May.

In Clos’ remarks, he also said that over 10,000 people had contributed to the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda. He said the Agenda will aim to make the links between national and local governments more transparent. Habitat III Co-Chair Maryse Gautier, France, underscored that urban development cannot be considered without the inclusion of local authorities.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, quoting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said sustainable urban development is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that the “battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in our cities.” Julián Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, US, underscored that cities are drivers of progress and constitute key partners in addressing climate change and terrorism.

During a panel on regional perspectives, participants discussed: sustainable urban development strategies used in their cities; stakeholder engagement, particularly among women, youth and indigenous peoples; and the creation of institutional arrangements to codify local government participation. Presentations by members of the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments on transformative commitments for a sustainable urban development addressed: the right to the city; cultural patrimony; the importance of planning; and stronger participation for local and regional governments in intergovernmental processes.

On building the urban structure, discussions revolved around: capacity building; the importance of citizen participation; participation of local authorities in the New Urban Agenda; a forum for monitoring implementation; and access to development funds. On planning and managing the urban spatial development, participants discussed how to address issues related to food and healthy lifestyles.

On enhancing means of implementation, participants addressed the need to ensure: sufficient funding of local authorities; access to funds; and mechanisms for grant funding of small projects. On follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda, discussions focused on: eliminating socioeconomic segregation and poverty; building multi-level, multi-actor partnerships; constructing frameworks for follow-up and review that feed into the SDG process; and decentralizing cooperation.

The next set of hearings will take place with stakeholders, from 6-7 June, in New York, US. Further intergovernmental negotiations will convene in June and July 2016.

The preparatory process will continue until the third session of the Preparatory Committee, which will meet in Surabaya, Indonesia, in July. Habitat III will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October 2016. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [Habitat III Intersessional Process Website] [IISD RS Story on the Zero Draft Outcome Document] [Zero Draft Outcome Document] [IISD RS Story on CSO Reactions to Zero Draft]


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