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Habitat III

Our Goal is to Engender the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III Conference
Habitat III marks the third international UN conference on housing and urban development. The majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas and settlements, and Habitat III is charged with developing a new agenda to guide urban development policies and practices around the world. Huairou will ensure this new agenda features the voices and priorities of grassroots women in order to build truly sustainable communities and inclusive urbanization.

Habitat III Will Set Guidelines for Sustainable Urban Development Around the World

Habitat III is the 3rd UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to be held over 4 days in Quito, Ecuador. This conference convenes every 20 years in order to determine global urbanization priorities and develop criteria to guide urbanization policies and practices. With a wide range of stakeholders and participants, Habitat III will be a space to assess accomplishments, address new challenges, and create unanimously agreed upon guidelines for sustainable and equitable urban development around the world. These guidelines will be presented in an action-oriented outcome document, outlining the New Urban Agenda.

Huairou Will Center Grassroots Women in the New Urban Agenda

With the New Urban Agenda written and agreed upon, the Habitat III conference will focus on implementing the Agenda’s global plan for action on urbanization for the next 20 years. Huairou will send a delegation of 115 members and partners from 35 countries to represent and protect grassroots women’s priorities, advocating for empowering, gender-responsive solutions throughout Huairou’s many conference events.   Grassroots women are integral to localing and monitoring the commitments made in the New Urban Agenda, and Huairou is committed to supporting their efforts. Our delegation will reinforce the Agenda’s commitments, and work to build new partnerships for grassroots women, encouraging closer ties with important institutions such as the National Democratic Institute, World Resources Institute, Avina Foundation, Slack/Slum Dwellers, and many others. Prior to the conference, 50 leaders from our delegation will arrive in Quito for our International Grassroots Academy to consolidate their message and share best practices for implementation. An additional 35 leaders from our network are tasked with bringing conference outputs back to their communities, galvanizing local inputs into the Agenda.  

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Huairou Lead the Civil Society Engagement in the Habitat III Process
The Huairou Commission and the World Urban Campaign

The World Urban Campaign (WUC) serves as an advocacy and partnership platform coordinated by UN-Habitat and driven by many committed partners around the world. Its goal is to position the urban agenda at the highest level in development policies. The Huairou Commission has been a member of WUC since its creation in 2009, and we sit on the Standing Committee representing women’s partner groups. Huairou has championed the gender-just policies and practices needed to ensure sustainable urban development in the development of WUC’s central document The City We Need 2.0.

The Urban Thinkers Campus Initiative
The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) is an initiative of the World Urban Campaign and was conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban actors, united in the belief that urbanization is an opportunity for positive urban transformations. The ongoing initiative is also intended to serve as a platform to build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges.   This initiative is focused on bringing different stakeholders together to discuss principles, policies and action plans to be addressed in the New Urban Agenda. Of the 28 Campuses that took place between June 2015 and February 2016, the four UTCs in partnership with the Huairou Commission were the only ones to place women and gender at the forefront: (1) Organized by the PolyCom Development Project, “WAMAMA TUANAUWEZO: Women have the Power” (Nairobi, Kenya, 15-16 October 2015) discussed women’s involvement in ensuring public safety for women and girls. (2) Organized by Mujeres Iberoamericanas en Red por la Igualdad Presupuestal entre Mujeres y Hombres (MIRA) and Federation of Women Municipalists of Latin America and the Caribbean (FEMUM), “The City with a Gender Perspective We Need” (Mexico City, Mexico, 18-20 November 2015) brought together the Urban Thinkers community that held multi-platform activities in over 30 cities in Mexico and Peru. (3) Organized by Women Transforming Cities, “Fierce Voices, Women Transforming Cities’ Grand Tea Party Café” (Vancouver, Canada, 24 January 2016) was a culmination of 5 advance cafés resulting in recommendations/characteristics of a women- and girl-friendly city. (4) Organized by Ray of Hope Zimbabwe, “The Progressive City We Want” (Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, 16-17 February 2016) developed a new urbanization agenda and gender inclusive developmental road map for the city of Chitungwiza.

The General Assembly of Partners’ Support for Stakeholders at Habitat III
The General Assembly of Partners (GAP) is a special initiative by the World Urban Campaign to support stakeholders’ engagement and contributions to the conference. It consists of 14 Partner Constituent Groups (PCGs) with members from the United Nations’ major groups and other relevant stakeholders. A high point of GAP advocacy in the Habitat III process is its outcome and vision document Partnerships for the New Urban Agenda, presented to the Secretary-General of the Conference and the Bureau for consideration in the New Urban Agenda. The Huairou Commission Co-Chairs the Women’s Partner Constituent Group (WPCG), led by our Director of Programs, Katia Araujo. The WPCG has been instrumental in securing gender-responsive language and commitments in each draft of the New Urban Agenda. To become a member of the Women’s Partner Constituent Group and be involved with the participatory processes of Habitat III, register here.

Civil Society Working Group
The Habitat III Civil Society Working Group (CSWG) is held monthly in New York to coordinate civil society’s efforts in the Habitat III process. The Huairou Commission organizes and chairs the monthly CSWG meetings, which welcome high-level guests of Habitat III, such as Coordinator of the Habitat III Secretariat Ana Moreno, Secretary-General of Habitat III and UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos and representatives of governments from member states serving on “the Bureau” (the 10 governments leading the preparatory process of Habitat III).

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We Are Developing Engendered Policy

Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Engendering the New Urban Agenda
In September 2015, the Huairou Commission and Habitat III Secretariat co-sponsored an Expert Group Meeting at the Ford Foundation in New York, where 45 experts on urbanization and women’s issues from 25 countries — including eight grassroots women leaders — united to identify engendered recommendations for the New Urban Agenda. Dr. Joan Clos, Under Secretary General of the UN, Secretary General of Habitat III and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, opened the meeting by emphasizing the importance of proactive planning of sustainable and livable cities. He applauded the efforts of the EGM to prepare policy recommendations and indicators that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Participants worked to identify key concerns for women’s empowerment based on the six policy categories determined by Habitat III: Inclusive Cities; Urban Framework; Spatial Development; Urban Economy; Urban Ecology and Environment; and Urban Housing and Basic Services. Once concerns were identified, the groups deliberated on policy recommendations to address them, and discussed appropriate engendered indicators based on the policy recommendations. The meeting resulted in recommendations on how to continue strengthening gender equality and women’s empowerment in the on-going Habitat III preparatory process, as well as specific points to be included in the New Urban Agenda. The report has been circulated to member states, Policy Unit experts, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat and UN Women.