Quito Round Up: Critical Stakeholder Engagement at Assembly and Roundtables
“When women come together, we don’t come together just to talk- we come together to organize, network, and implement” – Jan Peterson at the Grand Joint Opening, Women’s Assembly with Children and Youth Assembly, Habitat III
- Highlighting the diversity of the women’s constituency and the different development priorities across the women’s movement, the Women’s Assembly was an incredible day of reflection and action. Serving as the official opening of the Conference, the Assembly began with a high-level plenary featuring Dr. UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, Chair of the Huairou Commission Board of Directors Jan Peterson, and others including representatives of the Children & Youth constituency. The subsequent plenary sessions did much to recognize progress made since Habitat II, identify challenges that remain for women in an urbanizing world, and motivate us to continue working to place women at the center of not only the NUA but also the SDGs. In the afternoon, participants broke into 10 working groups to delve deeper into thematic issues. Among others, they made the following commitments that were carried through the rest of the Quito Conference:
- • Develop a pipeline of women to act as mentors for women participating in politics, create gender expertise and gender awareness amongst political and technical teams, and push for women’s inclusion in the design, monitoring and evaluation of municipal decision-making
• Undertake participatory research on the economic needs of grassroots women and informal workers, and partner with associations of local governments to disseminate results and scale up successful practices from grassroots and worker groups
- • Work with national, regional, state and local governments to implement safe cities initiatives for women and girls
- • Work with governments to institute land and housing ownership models that consider diverse land and housing tenure types, with equal rights to housing for women and men
- • Promote accountability, monitor tax collection and allocation, and redefine public-private partnerships to ensure responsiveness to women; collect data disaggregated by multiple components
- • Establish women’s platforms and networks to exchange best practices on resilience building in conflict and post-conflict situations
- • Promote women’s rights to the city and territory, as well as decentralization with participatory territorial management
- See a video of the Joint Opening here.
Reflecting the Huairou Commission’s engagement in multiple stakeholder groups, our members and staff held prominent positions in four of the 16 stakeholder roundtables, which were convened to lay the groundwork for inclusive and representative NUA implementation.
Grassroots Organizations at the Centre of Effective Inclusive Urban Development
Organized communities and their movements are the voiceless, the unrepresented, and unrecognized; this event instead served to recognize them, celebrate them, and ensure their voices are heard at Habitat III and in the New Urban Agenda.
Food Systems and the Urban-Rural Nexus in the Age of Urbanization
Bringing important rural voices and issues into an urban-dominated conference, this event put forth questions about the role of farmers in the sustainability of cities, and about what rural-urban linkages look like in practice. Noting that the New Urban Agenda is not a farmer’s agenda, panelists urged that implementation be in concert with the SDGs, reflecting the acute priorities faced by smallholder farmers and recognizing the role of women farmers in driving development.
Indigenous Cities: An Intersectional Look to the Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda
For indigenous peoples, an inclusive NUA is essential: an estimated 50% of the indigenous population worldwide lives in cities, many of whom are neither able to continue their traditional lives nor meaningfully contribute to the urban development. For this constituency in particular, the habitat is more than a home: they are community organizers, guardians of territory and land, leaders in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and more.
Gender Responsive Management and Monitoring of Cities and Human Settlements
Gender inequalities worldwide threaten the realization of equitable and sustainable urbanization; in presenting best practices from across the globe, this roundtable made clear that NUA implementation needs to be gender-responsive, transformative, and grounded in urban indicators that promote women’s empowerment.