Habitat III Consultations Prioritize Actions for New Urban Agenda

Habitat III Consultations Prioritize Actions for New Urban Agenda

hiii3 May 2016: UN Member States, international organizations and stakeholders held a week-long session of Open-Ended Informal Consultative Meetings in preparation for the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). The Meeting aimed to advance discusssions on the New Urban Agenda to be adopted at Habitat III, and to prioritize actions and identify transformative commitments to move towards sustainable cities.

The Meetings convened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, from 25-29 April 2016.

Habitat III Secretary-General Joan Clos said the New Urban Agenda should complement recent “landmark” UN processes, including:

  • the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) 2015-2030
  • the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (FfD)
  • the Paris Agreement on climate change
  • the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

The meeting was organized around: regional perspectives; transformative commitments for sustainable urban development; effective implementation; and how to enhance means of implementation (MOI). Panel discussions examined recommendations and outputs of the ten Habitat III Policy Units, which focus 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 took place on the outcomes of the seven Habitat III thematic meetings that have taken place as part of the preparatory process, which focused on: civic engagement; metropolitan areas; intermediate cities; sustainable energy and cities; financing urban development; public spaces; and informal settlements. Another session reviewed the outcomes of the Habitat III regional meeting.

In the closing session, Clos stressed the importance of urbanization for sustainable development, noting that the understanding of development has changed, as well as that of the role of urbanization in promoting prosperity. Meeting Co-Chair Maryse Gautier, France, welcomed the engagement of all stakeholders and summarized key messages from the week, including that: the resource management system is necessary; urban development must take into account the protection and maintenance of cultural heritage to ensure inclusive cities; informal sectors must be taken into account during spatial planning; and finance must be further mobilized.

Earlier in the month, the final regional meeting for Habitat III took place in Toluca, Mexico, from 18-20 April 2016, with a focus on priority issues for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The meeting resulted in the Toluca Declaration, which will serve as input to the New Urban Agenda. The Toluca Declaration proposes that the following issues be addressed in the New Urban Agenda: urban and territorial planning; urban governance; adequate housing; water and sanitation; sustainable mobility; land management; and environment, climate change and resilience.

The New Urban Governance

The Declaration calls for a new generation of national urban policies built on a new urbanization paradigm that promotes accessibility, adequate housing, equity, security, mobility and cultural identity. It further identifies elements for implementation of the New Urban Agenda at the national and local levels, including: developing innovative models of multi-level governance; promoting institutional solidity, professionalism, transparency and accountability in urban management; establishing spaces for citizens to participate in urban development; promoting sub-national financing mechanisms; and using information technology and communications in public decision making.

 

Source: iisd

 

#PragueDeclaration

“Cities are responsible for 70% of #GHG emissions”~Mr Joan Clos

Relevant stakeholders come together in generous ‘Praha’ to participate in the European Habitat Conference within the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations, bringing together 56 member countries from across Europe, the Balkans, North America and a part of Asia “the Global North”. The focus of the conference was to debate urban  solutions to the issues of housing estates and the need for municipal integration.
In the process towards a #NewUrbanAgenda, Habitat III Europe Regional Meeting “European Habitat” discussed how to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing for all, with due attention to reducing the impact of the housing sector on the environment.

It addresses relevant current problems like urban poverty, demographic changes, climatic changes and risk of disasters, urban development and urban sprawl, coordination of urban development, and relevant use of technologies.

The most significant event of global reach to be held this year in Prague has ended with the approval of the Prague Declaration.
Minister Karla Šlechtová~..“We have to turn housing estates into a good place to live: providing adequate quality housing, but also public space for community life, access to services, entertainment, leisure activities and sports. All this will have a direct impact on the safety and other factors affecting the quality of life,” 

  • Integration of municipalities is the path to prosperity and healthy development of micro-regions
    Resource efficiency and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns are critical elements for cities to manage growth, increase resource productivity, and decouple economic growth from increased resource use and its environmental impact.
  • Good urban governance
    Promoting national urban policies as appropriate, which are conducive to sustainable urban development and foster territorial cohesion and their translation to localised urban legislation and regulations, respecting, where appropriate, the principle of subsidiarity;

    Strengthening the use of spatial planning and design of urban extensions, infill and regeneration ensuring a bottom-up and multilevel governance as well as integrated approaches involving all stakeholders and the inhabitants; Cooperative mechanisms of spatial planning and steering in metropolitan areas beyond administrative boundaries should be strengthened and supported by integrated spatial strategies to ensure a balanced territorial development;

  • Relevant use of technology
    Progress in technologies and the availability of data are rapidly changing our life and the way we organise it. Urban planners should adopt relevant technological innovations, which allow more effective use of available data. This requires educating and building the capacity of urban managers, decision-makers and inhabitants. Open and disaggregated data is a critical component in transparent and effective governance and also in the provision of efficient environmental and energy services in urban settings. Every effort must be made to keep shared data accessible to the public, while protecting the privacy of individuals. Cities should consider simple, interoperable, and comparable data markers and standards for data collection. Data should also be transparent and openly accessible to be exploited as a tool to increase the ownership and engagement of people. Technological and digital divide in urban planning and management has to be addressed.

    Building accountability and regular monitoring of the coherent implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals with a special focus on goal 11 (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) and other targets across the Agenda, using the relevant indicators defined. This should include 7 regionally specific agreements and strategies on data collection and analyses. Data should be gathered using common international standards to ensure it is compatible between Member States. It should, as much as possible, be publicly available to support policy-making, research and economic development. Lastly, global and regional data repositories should be further developed to support the policy-making process;

Three vital outcomes from the Prague Declaration are outlined below:

I. Shelter and Protection
Urban growth and development boundaries conclusions and inclusion and resilience in the #NewUrbanAgenda based on three years project with placemaking and climate change coverage. Why?  The youth is our future and their need for protective shelter in a changing climate, first and foremost. This requires multidisciplinary climate action across multilevel jurisdictional boundaries…

“We recall the outcomes of “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030”, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which provides a focus on cities through Goal 11 and other targets across the whole agenda as well as the “Paris Agreement”.”

“We acknowledge also regional specific agreed charters and strategies like, among others, “The Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing” and the “Strategy for Sustainable Housing and Land Management in the ECE region for the period 2014-2020”.

II. Readiness for “shelter” in urban and rural open spaces
To fight climate change and avoid more loss of land The New Urban Agenda need to define and protect our greenbelts in order to keep our cities rural fringe green, compact and resilient. Also to ensure that urban dwellers have access to countryside, with consequent educational and recreational opportunities; and to protect the unique character of rural communities that might otherwise be absorbed by expanding suburbs. Stress that: Sustainable and integrated urban development and its management are crucial to the safety and quality of life of our people.

“Green, compact, resource efficient and resilient cities. Green and better integrated with nature, inclusive, liveable, compact and resilient cities are a priority in policies at all levels of the government and in regional cooperation, especially with regard to members of vulnerable groups, marginalized communities and people with special needs. 2 Increasing resource efficiency on energy, water, waste, land use and food as well as mitigating greenhouse gases emission, improving air quality and taking care of wastewater in cities together with making cities resilient to climate change and other challenges, such as to flood, drought, heat waves, natural and man-made hazards, as well as ensuring transition towards safe and sustainable urban mobility, clean and accessible urban transport for all;”

“Urbanizing deltas in this respect are facing extreme and specific tensions because of the combination of socio-economic and natural/ environmental dynamics. We encourage the use of green and blue infrastructures as well as nature-based solutions, in addition to hard preventive infrastructure and spatial planning, as a tool to prevent disasters, in particular water-related ones, from having a big impact;”

III. Sustainable public spaces that are healthy, safe, resilient, energy-conserving and resource efficient
Public space and the buildings that surround and define it need to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Social sustainability requires security, equity and justice; economic sustainability benefits from affordable capital and operating budgets; environmental sustainability addresses ecological and health issues. These include clean air, water and soil, green micro-climates and the mitigation and adaptation to the Urban Heat Island Effect and Climate Change. Effective use should be made of green technologies and systems. Architecture and urban design that is adaptable and appreciated is cared for and sustained for a longer time.

Promote the knowledge transfer of good practices regarding the quality of green and public spaces, e.g. in devising layouts, ratios, spaces and built-open space and frontage ratios capable of reconciling socio-economic vitality and environmental quality with safety and pleasantness.

“Providing accessible, safe, inclusive and quality public space, and safe transportation to foster urban equity, social cohesion and better quality of life, with particular attention to the needs of men, women, children, elderly persons and persons with disabilities;”

“In order to prevent urban sprawl and strengthen the “multiple use of space” principle through effective land management. We also support climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and cities’ resilience to floods, heat waves and natural and man-made hazards.

(“The Social Cohesion and Equity discussions highlighted several practical approaches that can help make cities become more inclusive. These include better urban planning in the creation of public spaces where residents of the urban community not only feel safe but also protected.”)
The Final “Prague Declaration” from “European Habitat” can be found here;
#RegenerativeCities #Greenbelt #Placemaking #DRR #FutureofPlaces #COP22 #Habitat3 #NewUrbanAgenda #PublicSpace #WUC #TheFutureWeWant #TheCityWeNeed #UrbanSDG #UrbanAction #UrbanThinkers #Youngplacemakers #ClimateAction

Some ideas to take away that Minister Karla Šlechtová collected in the UN European Habitat conference in Prague

  • Cities have to be sustainable, without excluded zones; account must be taken of their residents.
  • Development requires a clear strategy tied to a defined vision.
  • Accessibility in all its aspects: accessibility of housing, public services, travel, and culture.
  • Only those with daring visions can turn cities into good places for living.
  • Only good housing can make a place good for living; whereas urban housing means not only a “shelter”, but a healthy and safe home.
  • “Cities are made of people, not brick walls”~Thucydides
  • Liveable and functioning cities without excluded zones. I want no derelict and evacuated city centres.
  • In the Czech Republic and many nations, one of the developmental obstacles is frequently fragmented competences. This is an aspect that has to be addressed and changed.
  • Urban planning and design must be centred around living in the cities.

The Czech Republic greatly managed the UN summit on sustainable housing development

The Czech Republic greatly managed the #EuropeanHabitat
16-18 March 2016: Three days of urban discussions in Prague with almost 4,000 experts worldwide on the future development of cities and municipalities. The UN Habitat Conference, organized by the Ministry for Regional Development, headed by the Minister Karla Šlechtová ended on Friday, 18 March 2016 with approval for the #PragueDeclaration. The document will have a direct impact on UN policy in the field of sustainable development and be part of the roadmap leading up to Habitat III in Quito. The Czech Republic and organisers have not only mastered the difficult preparation and organisation of the conference, but they also carry away a few key messages for further work and development in the area.

In line with what Minister Ms. Karla Šlechtová already mentioned in her opening speech on the first day, both the Conference and the #PragueDeclaration were not to be just about discussing, they were to bring a factual content and specific outcomes with an effective meaning for the future. Theses the Prague Declaration:

  • The Declaration is based on four principles: Innovative and productive cities, Green, compact, resource-efficient and versatile (resilient) cities, Inclusive and safe cities, Good urban governance.
  • Emphasis is put primarily on support to proper planning and management to be conducted in cooperation with all levels of governance and communities; a unified approach is vital in the effort to maximise the potential of cities, social cohesion and access to services; affordability of housing as a key factor of quality of life is one of the main features of viable cities; urban development planning must involve the effort to minimise impacts on the environment and to enhance economic, social and environmental sustainability.
  • We are facing various challenges relating to housing and sustainable urban development in the regions: urban poverty, demographic changes, #climate changes and based on science disaster risk reduction #DRR, urban development and mandated growth, coordination of urban development, use of relevant technologies.
  • Key directions from Prague to Quito: supporting cities by strengthening their capacity for innovation including social innovations and job creation, supporting optimal use of resources, equal access to affordable housing and services, eliminating poverty and exclusion, providing affordable, safe, inclusive and high-quality public space and safe transport, healthy financial management in municipalities, ensuring sustainable sources of financing, reinforcing the dialogue between various levels of government and relevant actors.

European HABITAT in Prague on 16 – 18. 3. 2016 (summary)

Some facts about the UN Conference on the European Habitat

  • It was attended by nearly 4,000 thousand experts from around the world.
  • During the Conference a total of 96 separate official events and dozens of bilateral negotiations were conducted.
  • In total there were more than 300 hours of expert discussions.
  • More than 50 experts took the floor.
  • Significantly the conference also involved the Czech representatives, in the main program and accompanying activities.
  • The main outcome of the Conference is the Prague Declaration, the final version of which has been worked on by the international Advisory Board and with the participation of Minister of Regional Development Ms. Karla Šlechtová.
  • The Conference was held on an area of more than 42,000 sq-m2 in the Prague Congress Centre.
  • In addition to the PCC, more places in Prague hosted the Conference accompanying activities.
  • An organisation team of more than 150 people looked after the organisation of the Conference.
  • More than 11,000 meters of cabling where installed in the Prague Congress Centre in order to provide technical setting to the Conference.
  • About 100 model works created by students were exposed in the Congress Centre – many of them 3D models of planned buildings.