The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has coordinated, in collaboration with UN-Habitat, a report from the region’s countries that is a contribution to the New Urban Agenda, the document that will be adopted during Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will be held in Quito on October 17-20.
The regional report, produced by ECLAC and entitled “Sustainable Cities with Equality,” addresses trends and projections on development and urbanization and their links to the economy, social equality, the environment and governance and institutional capacities. The document provides an overview of the changes that have occurred in the last two decades in this area and offers a prospective view for future transformations.
This is one of the reports requested to the United Nations regional commissions, in collaboration with the regional offices of the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-Habitat) and under the general coordination of the Habitat III Secretariat. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC carried out this task through its Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division.
To prepare this report, among other activities, national reports were drafted or received from some countries and two subregional meetings of experts were held in Asuncion (Paraguay) and Bridgetown (Barbados), in December 2015.
All these regional reports have served as a contribution to formulating the New Urban Agenda, which will serve as a guide over the next twenty years to orient the efforts made by governments, international organizations, the private sector, academia and civil society, with the aim of reinforcing the link between urbanization and sustainable development.
In addition, three meetings of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) of Habitat III have been held at a global level: in New York in September 2014, in Nairobi in April 2015 and in Surabaya, Indonesia, in July 2016. The first draft of the final document was presented in April 2016 and in early September a last session of informal intergovernmental consultations will take place in New York, with the goal of finalizing the content of the document that will be presented in Quito.
The process has included the realization of high-level thematic and regional meetings that brought together a wide range of participants.
Among the thematic meetings, the region hosted gatherings on intermediate cities (in Cuenca, Ecuador, in November 2015) and on the financing of sustainable urban development (in Mexico City, in March 2016). With respect to the regional meetings, the gathering for Latin America and the Caribbean was held on April 18-20 in Toluca, Mexico, under the title “Habitable and Inclusive Cities: The Global Challenge of Sustainable Urbanization.”
The conference in Quito will also be one of the first big global conferences to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, whose Goal Number 11 is devoted to making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
This meeting will give continuity to the global gatherings held in 1976 in Vancouver (Canada), the site of Habitat I, and in 1996 in Istanbul (Turkey), which hosted Habitat II, where the Habitat Agenda emerged. This is a document with more than 100 commitments and 600 recommendations that was approved by 171 countries.