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Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October, 2016.. This was decided in General Assembly Resolution 66/207 and 69/226. Resolution 67/216 decided on modalities, preparatory activities and format of the conference. Resolution 69/226 decided on host-country and dates of the third session of the Preparatory Committee and the Conference.

Habitat III offers Member States an opportunity to discuss a New Urban Agenda that will focus on policies and strategies that can result in effectively harnessing the power and forces behind urbanization.

What will Habitat III offer?

Habitat III will:

• Rethink the Urban Agenda: By embracing urbanization at all levels of human settlements, more appropriate policies can embrace urbanization across physical space, bridging urban, peri – urban and rural areas, and assist governments in addressing challenges through national and local development policy frameworks.

• Integrate Equity to the Development Agenda: Equity becomes an issue of social justice, ensures access to the public sphere, extends opportunities and increases the commons.

• Foster national urban planning and planned city extensions.

• Decide how relevant sustainable development goals will be supported through sustainable urbanization.

• Align and strengthen institutional arrangements with the substantive outcomes of Habitat III, so as to ensure effective delivery of the New Urban Agenda.

• Revise and renew UN – Habitat’s mandate to ensure that it is fit for purpose. UN – Habitat is ready to join efforts with Governments stakeholders to promote a new model of urban development for the twenty – first century.

Key points to remember

• Only a United Nations conference has the convening power to bring together the actors you need to achieve these objectives. Solutions for the complex challenge of urbanization can only be found by bringing together member states, multilateral organisations, local governments, private sector, and civil society.

• Habitat III will guarantee outcomes take place within the sustainable development goal framework. It stands to be the first implementing conference of the post 2015 agenda.

• An inter – governmental process links results with national legislation.

• A successful United Nations conference can provide a tremendous boost and ownership to implementation.

Key elements to consider at Habitat III

To create a pattern of sustainable urban development fostering a new model of city

  • Urban Rules and Regulations. The outcome in terms of quality of an urban settlement is dependent on the set of rules and regulations and its implementability. Proper urbanization requires the rule of law.
  • Urban Planning and Design. Establishing the adequate provision of common goods, including streets and open spaces, together with an efficient pattern of buildable plots.
  • Municipal Finance. For a good management and maintenance of the city. Municipal finance systems should redistribute parts of the urban value generated.

There are also some operational factors to take into account which maximize the advantages of the urbanization process:

  • Urban Planning: The vision of the city, its physical configuration, the definition of technical solutions, and environmental considerations are all determined through urban/regional planning. A reinvigorated urban planning will optimize economies of agglomeration, promote sustainable density, encourage social diversity and mixed – land uses, foster inclusiveness, maximize heterogeneity, promote live-able public spaces and vibrant streets, and thus make the city more functional, maintaining environmental balances.
  • Local fiscal systems: To change from being instruments of revenue generation and budget management to vectors of change which generate real development outcomes
  • Investment in urban basic services: Proper planning allows for less costly provision of basic services such as water and sanitation, higher resilience, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty reduction and pro – poor policies.
Preparatory Committees

The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution A/RES/67/216, decided to establish a preparatory committee to carry out the preparations for the conference open to all Member States of the United Nations and members of specialized agencies and of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), following the same resolution, will have three meetings before the opening of the conference.

Preparatory Committee 1: 17-18 September 2014, United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA

Preparatory Committee 2: 14-16 April 2015, United Nations Office at Nairobi; Nairobi, Kenya

• Preparatory Committee 3: 25 – 27 July 2016, Jarkata, Indonesia.

The Preparatory Committee will follow the established United Nations procedures for an inter-governmental conference.

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