The New Urban Agenda

 

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Photo: UN-Habitat

The Breakfast Series began by Ms. Ramdas’ opening address in stating the vision of Ford Foundation of creating a society that embraces diversity, equity and creativity by combating spatial inequalities under the new Urban Agenda. She emphasized the importance of including youth and women at not only consultation stages in anti-inequalities policy formulation, but also in the decision-making process. To support such vision as well as the formation of Habitat III’s Zero Draft, she concluded her speech by assuring Ford Foundation’s full commitment in this regard. The Panel Discussion commenced with the Moderator’s speech, stating that notwithstanding spatial inequalities have been an issue, gender or income-based inequalities persist. Note that inequalities are narrower at upper strata of the society, she then urged civil society and member states to work collaboratively to put their attention on young women that face both poverty and gender-based discriminations. From NGOs’ perspective, Ms. Katcha stated that rather than dwelling in the Zero Draft’s details, it is more important currently to shift our focus to high-level political negotiation since the effectiveness of any commitment on the Zero Draft could not be translated into reality without member states’ recognition, adoption and proactive participation. In addition, note that the New Urban Agenda is a strategic transformation that engages the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda must shed light on improving urban-rural linkage since gender-based inequalities differ at urban and rural settings and it is only by doing so can we align to SDGs’ principle of “leaving no one behind”.

At the grassroots level, Ms. Thross expressed her concerns over the persistence of routines and bureaucracy that exist not only in national governments, but also the United Nations, whereby hindering grassroots and civil society to channel their voices to the power-holders. In response to this, Ms. Katherine suggested to formalize the relationship between governments and civil society under the new Agenda. Also, she pointed out that besides young women, the current Agenda has completely left behind elder women; note that its population is projected to thrive, it is of urgent need for the new Agenda to incorporate discussion over them in its formulation. Concluding the meeting was the Moderator’s remark in suggesting the importance of globalizing the new urban agenda, that is, to contextualize its content prior to its adoption at local level.

Meeting: Habitat III Civil Society Breakfast series on critical issues in the New Urban Agenda – Gender and the New Urban Agenda

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 8 June, 2016; 08:00 – 10:00; 11/F, Ford Foundation

Speakers: Ms. Kavita N. Ramdas, Former Representative of Ford Foundation at New Delhi, Ms. Violet Shivutse, Moderator; Shibuye Community Health Workers, Ms. Denini, Representative from Maasai Women Development Organisation (MWEDO), Ms. Katcha, NGO representative, Ms. Thross, invited participants from an African grassroots community, Ms. Katherine, Former Diplomat

Written by: Raphael LEUNG

Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham

 

Urban Prosperity and Urban Inequalities

Pathways and Concerns for the Future

Vladimir Drobnjak the Vice President of the Economic and Social Council opened the meeting by noting that 67 million new urban dwellers would reside in cities and towns within developing countries before 2020. It is therefore clear that leaders around the world have a very important role to navigate and plan for these impacts on their cities now to ensure equitable and effective urbanisation.

Mayor of Johannesburg Mpho Parks Tau explained that when communities took responsibility for inclusive programs by creating partnerships with the private sector, expenditures on the government went down and communities benefitted greatly. Mayor Tau also explained the importance for clean energy initiatives to meet the needs of urbanised areas, which Johannesburg has already begun approaching through 150 hybrid public buses; these buses run on a mix of biofuel and diesel and will be operational by the end of 2014.

ImageJohannesburg 

While the urbanization of African nations offers the chance for dramatic economic growth and empowerment through development there are strong concerns for the inequalities that could arise. Mr Carrasco, Prefect of Azuay in Ecuador, shared his conclusion that inequalities were due to limited access to services and the trend towards decentralization of the State. Mr Carrasco recommended that citizens be included in the processes of planning, building and implementing development procedures to encourage participation and strengthen the social fabric of new urban populations.

H.E. Michal Mlynár, Ambassador of Slovakia, and Ms. Carmen Griffiths explained the impact of urbanization could be disproportionately challenging on women. Ms. Griffiths emphasized concerns towards the large levels of crime in cities, particularly crimes against women. H.E. Mlynár explained inequalities among urban populations had increased in the last 20 years, and stressed that security was among the fundamental human rights that people expected, yet leaders failed to recognize that security challenges were often rooted in inequalities.

 

Meeting Title: Economic and Social Council 16th meeting: Dialogue on “Urban prosperity and urban inequalities”
Speakers: Vladimir Drobnjak Vice President of the Economic and Social Council, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira from UN-Habitat, H.E. Mayor Mpho Parks Tau of Johannesburg, Mr. Paul Carrasco Prefect from Azuay, Zoubida Allaoua representing Sustainable Development at the World Bank, Carmen Griffiths from Construction Resource and Development Center Jamaica, H.E. Michal Mlynár Ambassador of Slovakia, Professor Paul Romer from New York University
Date: 28 May 2014
Location: United Nations HQ, New York
Written by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark