Habitat III: The New Urban Agenda

Janila Antoine

Throughout modern history, urbanization has been a major driver of development and poverty reduction. Governments can respond to this key development opportunity through Habitat III by promoting a new model of urban development that is able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity. It is time to think urban: how to mobilise the global community and focus all levels of human settlements, including small rural communities, villages, market towns, intermediate cities and metropolises for demographic and economic growth. Habitat III can help systematise the alignment between cities and towns and national planning objectives in their role as drivers of national economic and social development.

Urbanization is an unprecedented challenge. By the middle of the century four of every five people might be living in towns and cities. Urbanization and development are inextricably linked and it is necessary to find a way of ensuring the sustainability of growth. Urbanization has become a driving force as well as a source of development with the power to change and improve lives.

Habitat III Conference has the convening power to bring together all actors to achieve these objectives. Solutions for the complex challenge of urbanization can only be found by bringing together Member States, multilateral organizations, local governments, private sector and civil society.

The preparatory process of Habitat III requires to mobilize all expertise on sustainable urban development which represents various constituent groups and stakeholders, and whose selection is guided by geographical and gender balance, as well as qualitative criteria in terms of contribution to the Habitat III preparatory process.

- Bring together high-level expertise to explore state-of-the-art research and analysis;
- Identify good practices and lessons learned; and
- Develop independent policy recommendations on particular issues regarding sustainable urban development.

Policy Units are composed of a maximum of 20 experts each, bringing together individual experts from a variety of fields, including academia, government, civil society and other regional and international bodies. Panelists are members in their personal capacity, however a wide variety of profiles are sort to ensure representation of all major groups.  The United Nations system should also be represented.

Members of Policy Units will be appointed by the Secretary-General of the Conference in close consultation with the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee. The Policy Units would be led by two international organizations, which would be responsible for coordinating and presenting the final outcome of the expert group to the Secretary-General of the Conference. Organizations are elected through an open call process.

The main tasks of the Policy Units are to:
- Identify the challenges, including the structural and policy constraints, to the New Urban Agenda within the issues discussed by each policy unit;
- Identify the policy priorities and critical issues for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda within the issues discussed by each policy unit; and
- Develop action-oriented recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.


Related links:
Website | Habitat III 
List and Composition of Policy Units

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