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Stakeholders are ready to advise UN-Habitat

By on 05/28/2019

Nairobi, 25 – 26 May 2019_Over 200 stakeholders drawn from all regions converged at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi, Kenya for the first biennial global stakeholder forum. The 2-day forum which attracted representatives of all partner groups actively engaged in the work of UN-Habitat was jointly organized by UN-Habitat and its stakeholders. This pre-assembly forum took place on the margins of the first session of the United Nations UN-Habitat Assembly.

UN-Habitat announced key outcomes of its efforts to reposition itself for better delivery of its mandate and focal point role on issues related to urbanization and human settlements development within the United Nations system. With the adoption of a new governance structure and the finalization of its strategic planning process, the agency is strategic and keen to listen to the voices of all stakeholders in order to achieve the shared vision of a better quality of life for all in an urbanizing world.

Ms. Maimunah Mohd Shariff, the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat told participants that she was ready to listen to their advice through the newly established global stakeholder advisory group. She said this as she outlined achievement of proposals submitted by partners at her previous dialogue held during the high-level political forum held in July 2018, New York, USA. Stakeholders showed their support to the advisory group with some noting that the selection process, as evident in the composition of the group, was the most inclusive process they had been involved in.

The first day of the forum aimed at informing participants of ongoing processes that sought to strengthen the agency’s engagement with all stakeholders. The development of the stakeholder engagement policy, and the stakeholder collaborative framework for implementation of the New Urban Agenda were presented as strategic steps towards aligning contributions of stakeholders with the new strategic plan for the period 2020 to 2025.

Participants took part in the three panels of the day, and the break out sessions that brought out proposals on how to better collaborate in the implementation of the agreed themes and coordination frameworks and mechanisms. The need for enhanced advocacy on the work on UN-Habitat, inclusivity and giving voice to all stakeholders through the represented constituency group were among issues that participants fronted on innovative mechanisms for achievement of SDGs and the New Urban Agenda and transform lives. Gender equality and engagement of people living in vulnerable situations were also brought up as imperative elements of a factional stakeholder engagement mechanisms.

At the closing of the first day, UN-Habitat announced its commitment to empower stakeholders by handing over the organization of future stakeholder forums to the global stakeholder advisory group. The 16-member group is led by two co-chairs, Ms. Dyan Currie, President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners and Professor Siraj Sait from the University of East London and two co-secretaries, Ms. Shamoy Hajare, Founder and CEO of the Jamaica School for Social Entrepreneurship and Mr. George Wasonga, the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Society Urban Development Platform.

The second day of the forum focused on development of two outcome documents, a way forward collaboration mechanism for stakeholders and a stakeholder declaration to Member States. The day’s sessions were structured and moderated by stakeholders. UN-Habitat colleagues thanked the advisory group for inviting them to sessions of the second day of the forum. “This is the most inclusive process have been engaged in, these were the short and sweet closing remarks made by Dr. Eugenie Birch, Co-Director, Penn Institute for Urban Research.

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