Habitat III

Quito Round Up: Coalescing around Strategy and Partnerships for Implementation

Continuing its long-standing tradition, the Huairou Commission hosted the Daily Women’s Caucus during the Habitat III Conference. Welcoming many high-level speakers giving updates on the process, the caucus principally served as an exchange of information and strategies, while also discussing priorities for action, networking and updating each other regularly, and planning coordinated messaging. As expressed by Ms. Aisa Kacyra, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, it is one thing to be in a position of power, and another to have power; women need to take leadership roles in the New Urban Agenda and to use their power to influence it.

In a conference focused on implementation and the partnerships needed to make it happen, the members of the Huairou delegation were keen to reconnect with old partners and meet with new supporters. The Huairou Commission itself met with multiple institutional partners while in Quito, and made steps to bolster these relationships. At the 16th Steering Committee Meeting of the World Urban Campaign, Huairou was pleased to continue its leadership as Chair of the Women’s Partner Group. GROOTS International was elected Chair of the Grassroots Partner Group. Lily Hutjes (International Council of Women), Maite Rodriguez (Fundación Guatemala), Limota Giroso Giwa (International Women Communication Center), and Sri H. Sofjan (Huairou Commission) represented the Huairou and GROOTS networks in an ad-hoc WUC Taskforce on discussions regarding WUC’s overall vision and strategy, its thematic focus and working groups, and a new phase of Urban Thinkers Campuses.

Looking at implementation by women at the local level, the Huairou Commission and the National Democratic Institute’s Gender, Women and Democracy Program convened a networking meeting for women mayors and grassroots leaders. Participants explored common priorities in the New Urban Agenda and role of local authorities and grassroots women in implementation, which are many. It was discussed that women not only need to have more political power but also be respected in roles of power, that their productive and reproductive contributions must be better recognized and supported, and that women’s organizing is crucial for increasing their political participation and awareness-raising on critical issues. These are synergies to continue exploring as grassroots women’s organizations and women elected leaders move forward on implementing the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda at the local level.

“I am the eyes of grassroots women on the ground.” – Rachel Kamweru, County Assembly of Nairobi