The main subject of the Habitat III Conference, which will be held in Quito 17-20 October, is the elaboration of the world’s “New Urban Agenda”, which is intended to respond to the challenge of our planet’s sustainable urbanization. In addition to the contributions made by UN member states, this process has three main ways to formulate recommendations for the Agenda: regional and thematic meetings, preparatory committees and Policy Units –which are made up of experts that are elaborating the policy papers on 10 local policy fields identified by UN-Habitat: Right to the City and Cities for All; socio-cultural urban framework; national urban policies; urban governance, capacity and institutional development; municipal finances and local fiscal systems; urban spatial strategies, land markets and segregation; urban economic development strategies; urban ecology and resilience; urban services and technology, and housing policies.
The process is as follows: UN experts produce the so-called Issue Papers, which constitute the basis for Policy Units’ further work. The latter elaborate, as first step, the policy papers’ frameworks. Once released, they collect civil society organizations, local governments, member states and other interested actors’ feedback. With all these contributions, final policy papers are produced –whose criteria and policy orientations may be included in the New Urban Agenda.
1. Issue Papers
These documents aim to identify research fields related to the main issues of every policy unit, and they highlight their most relevant findings and deficits.
In July 2015, the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights issued its comments concerning the Issue Paper on the Right to the City and Cities for All. These comments are complementary to those of other Global Platform for the Right to the City members. Previously, UCLG and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments issued theirs.
2. Policy Paper Frameworks (PPF)
In January 2016, the policy paper frameworks –which define the structure of final policy papers– were issued. As part of the Global Platform for the Right to the City, the Committee analysed each of them in the light of the Right to the City and according to its different organizations’ approaches. The Committee also contributed to the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) comments. In their regard, it should be mentioned that they are not formal local government positions, rather they are inputs from local governments’ practitioners that take into account the work done over the years.
3. Policy Papers (final documents)
Final Policy Papers are released on March 2016. They are used as official inputs to be considered by the Habitat III Bureau when writing the zero draft of the New Habitat Agenda. They can be accessed through the following links:
4. Urban Dialogues and Thematic Meetings
In addition to all this, Habitat III developed a section in its website for regular consultations on relevant topics, which has been called “Urban Dialogues”. It is enables general public submit online advices and recommendations on each of the thematic meetings’ topics.
5. The New Urban Agenda’s zero draft
On May 2016, the first draft of the New Urban Agenda was released, written by the Habitat III Secretariat based on contributions made by the policy units, UN member States and civil society organizations.
Local governments had the chance to officially position themselves regarding the draft on the Hearings to Local Authorities, hold in UN headquarters in New York on 16-17 May 2016.