Quito Round Up: Setting the Stage at the Grassroots Academy
In the days leading up to the Habitat III Conference, the Huairou Commission hosted an International Grassroots Academy in partnership with our local host in Ecuador, the Luna Creciente Women’s Movement. Under the theme “Community Innovations for Resilient and Sustainable Urbanization,” 43 community practitioners from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean met over 3 days with the goal of strengthening the position and leadership of grassroots women in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
The Academy functioned as a safe space for grassroots leaders to deepen their knowledge on the New Urban Agenda, define their thematic priorities within the Habitat III process, and share successful practices, mechanisms, and tools that can be tailored for NUA implementation. The women additionally participated in an inaugural Habitat Lab, in which we contextualized the New Urban Agenda and evaluated its potential for political, economic, social and cultural localization through site visits in the community of Cayambe. Finally, integrating the outcomes of the previous days’ discussions and exchanges, the last day of the Academy pulled together key messages from grassroots leaders and presented them to local partners. Dr. Joan Clos joined us at the closing of the Academy, during which he affirmed the importance of grassroots involvement in the Habitat III process, noting that this has changed the way conversations are happening and that grassroots women now hold the ear of diplomats. He also applauded grassroots women for their “magical ability” to engage in the process, and later in the week pledged the prize money for his Jane Jacobs Medal to continued grassroots leadership in urban development.
We invite you to read the full Grassroots Academy statement here, which was read in full at the Women’s Assembly.