United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III)

United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III)

 

It is no lonHIII(1)ger a matter of speculation that urban areas across the globe are exposed to a number of serious threats and pressures. For instance, climate change, urbanization at an unprecedented rate and population growth call for a different approach to the way urban areas of today are managed and those of future created. In order to tackle this problem and propose a global framework for solution, the United Nations (UN) member states, representatives of local government, civil society, the scientific and academic community, and other relevant stakeholders gathered in Quito, Ecuador from 15-20 October, 2016, to adopt and discuss the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

The Water Youth Network, as a part of its cooperation with the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), was involved in HABITAT III process. Namely, the WYN organised two youth consultations making sure that the voice of youth is heard in the New Urban Agenda and in addition, the Youth Position Paper on Water in the New Urban Agenda. The successful cooperation resulted in in the invitation to final conference, where WYN supported the following activities:

  • Part of the organizing team of the Children and Youth Assembly. The Assembly was organised by the UNMGCY and World Vision International as recognition of the strong contribution of the Children and Youth constituent group. More specifically, the WYN was in charge of organizing a session on The Role of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) for Building Resilience in Urban Areas. The session was jointly organised with The Energy and Resource Institute TERI from India. The primary aim was discussing how modern scientific and technological advancements play a role in supporting cities to reduce disaster risks and appropriately adapt to climate change. A special emphasis was put into understanding the connectivity between urban governance, role of spatial planning& urban design and IT&C solutions for building urban resilience.
  • Children and Youth Round table was one of the stakeholders round tables organised during the HIII conference. The New Urban Agenda recognizes young people as agents of change. Hence, the Round table was highlighting diverse ways in which young people have contributed to HIII process, showcasing children and youth engagement and discussing the pathways through which children and youth could contribute to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The WYN was represented as one of the case studies of youth- led organisations promoting the new urban future.
  • Youth Contest Sustainable Urban Deltas- WYN supported the Government of the Netherlands in organizing a contest for showcasing the best solution for present and future challenges of urban deltas. The applicants were supposed to present a solution from their region in a 3- minute video. The winner of the contest got a fully funded opportunity for presenting their solution during the COP22 in Marrakesh.

In addition to these core activities, the WYN members present in Quito acted as panelists during the sessions organised by the Alumni Board of the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) in Rotterdam.

Besides direct con
tributions to sessions and strengthened network, the main outcome of HABITAT III conference is an opportunity to expand our partnership with UNMGCY and contribute to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through involvement in the Quito Youth Commitments. The Quito Youth Commitments (LINK) present three pillars outlining the further children and youth involvement, namely: i) Follow-Up and review Engagement Mechanism, ii) Cities 2030 Young Professionals Programme and iii) Science, Technology and Innovation: Sustainable Urban Development Youth Initiative.