Local and Regional Governments stand up for an inclusive and sustainable agenda at the first PrepCom of Habitat III

Preparatory Committee meeting for the Habitat III Conference

A delegation of local and regional leaders of the Global Taskforce, facilitated by UCLG, which included over 40 elected representatives, met in New York on 15-18 September, on the occasion of the first Preparatory Committee meeting for the Habitat III Conference.

The delegation produced their initial recommendations for Habitat III, calling for the effective involvement of Local and Regional Governments in both the definition and the implementation of the future agenda. They reiterated their willingness to work with the international community towards a sustainable, fair and equitable future for all. The Global Taskforce further highlighted the following key areas to be developed during the Habitat III preparation process, towards the Conference in 2016:

  • Territorial governments as key partners for Habitat and the Post-2015 Agenda
  • The strong transformative potential of urbanization
  • Habitat III as being fundamental to the implementation of the Sustainability Agenda

The recommendations fed the official consultation with the Secretary General of the Conference at the United Nations Headquarters (link to video 1, link to video 2).

Mr. Yule, Chairperson of CGLF, expressed the views of the constituency on the need to “ensure linkages between the SDGs and the Habitat III agenda, which will require a clear focus on the means of implementation.”

Ms. Moustache-Belle, Co-President of UCLG, offered the full partnership of the Global Taskforce networks, stressing that “We, local and regional leaders, as inheritors of the First Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, express the will of our constituency to organize a Second Assembly, as a contribution to the global process.”

On 16 September, members of the Global Taskforce held a high-level session to discuss Local and Regional Governments’ Priorities for Habitat III (link to video). This meeting was organized as a follow-up to the first ECOSOC Integration Segment on sustainable urbanization, with the collaboration of UNDESA and the ECOSOC Office for Support and Coordination. Political representatives presented their views on the implementation of Habitat II, discussed the links between the SDGs and Habitat III, and set out their priorities for the Habitat III agenda. 

H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations and Vice-President of ECOSOC, praised the success of the first ECOSOC Integration Segment that tackled sustainable urbanization to convening a wide range of stakeholders (academia, NGOs, Local Governments, etc.), highlighting that this was proof that urbanization can serve as a transformative approach to sustainable development.

A Policy Dialogue convening all partners and members of the Global Taskforce, as well as UN representatives and development partners, also took place on 16 September. This session focused on the links between the SDGs and the Habitat III agenda, and the role of Local Governments in development. Ms. Corinne Woods, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, emphasized the important role played by Local Governments in terms of outreach to citizens and highlighted the need to strengthen collaboration between the Millennium Campaign and Local and Regional Governments.

Official sessions: 17-18 September

Dr. Joan Clos praised the presence of the important delegation of mayors in the meeting room and raised the importance of the role of Local Governments in sustainable urbanization, and consequently in the Conference process (see statement attached). He reminded the delegates that at the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, the UN had shown how to enlarge the dialogue with CSOs and local authorities. He said this process should strengthen and build new partnerships with those organizations in order to contribute to the new urban agenda.

Key decisions

  • The meeting saw the election of the Bureau’s co-chairs, Diego Aulestia Valencia of Ecuador, and Maryse Gautier of France, who will serve during the two-year preparatory period, as well as the representatives from each region. Germany, Hungary, Columbia and Senegal were also designated as members of the Bureau.
  • A decision on the venue of the Conference will be confirmed by the end of October (at present, Ecuador is foreseen as the potential venue).
  • Five key themes were adopted as sectorial priorities for the Conference: Housing, Rural-Urban Linkages, Urban Mobility, Municipal Finance and Gender.
  • The rules of procedures and participation modalities for stakeholders will be adopted at the next PrepCom, which will also see the first proposal on content.
  • PrepCom2 will take place in Nairobi from 14 to 16 April 2015. This meeting will be held back-to-back with the Governing Council of UN-Habitat, which will take place on 17 April, also in Nairobi.
  • PrepCom3 will take place 1 year later, but should be held sufficiently in advance of Habitat III to be able to bring its outcomes to the Conference, which is planned to take place in July 2016. 

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Preparatory Committee meeting for the Habitat III Conference