Addressing Homelessness

During the long week of meetings at the Commission for Social Development (CSocD58) at the United Nations headquarters, several meetings were held on the theme of the affordable housing and the social protection systems for all to address homelessness. In one of the meetings held on February 12, 2020, Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director of the Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific asserted that universality is what we have to pursue now by social protection and that should include affordable health system, timely manner, accessibility and profound resolution for homelessness. 

Ms. Christina Behrendt, Head of Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department, International Labour Organization (ILO) emphasized the importance of universal social protection system for relevant systems and inadequate housing in all different categories of population. For example, social pension, child benefit and maternal care should be implemented to all people that is excluded by 55% of people currently. She asserted that not so high percentage of GDP is needed for the achievement of adequate of housing for all and SDGs, so that we need strong consensus for the effective policy making and adaption. In addition, not only ensuring coverage is a problem but also stable policy and making people to believe in this system too, since those plans need tax and contribution of the society. To conclued, she mentioned 6 keys for the achievement, which are coverage, risk addressing, quality, monitoring, coordinating and adapting. 

Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction made sure that housing is a different type of disastrous risk since there are unintended consequences. He mentioned that as there are also some differences even in the same family, diversity should be cared in the process of policy making and implementations. Also he pointed out that the strong collaboration in UN and other regional offices is necessary. And he emphasized that data would help the country to understand their risk and situation thoroughly so the UN Habitat and the other organizations should work on that.

Ms. Francesca De Ferrari the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) of the New York Office asserted that the affordable housing and accessible housing is a start of every other rights like employment and SDGs consequently. She claimed that housing is not a roof, it is a fundamental human right and people should be considered as the center of actions. Also she emphasized that the coverage of the policy should include women, children, people with disability, refugees and migrants in all socio-economic factors.

Date/Location: Tuesday, 12th, February, 2020 ;15 :00 to 18:00 ; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY


Mr. Srinivas Tata, Director of the Social Development Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

Ms. Christina Behrendt, Head, Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)

Mr. Marco Toscano-Rivalta, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Ms. Francesca De Ferrari, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) of the New York Office

Written By: WIT Representative Jinhong Eom

The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development


With the advancement of technology nowadays, the role of science and innovation is increasingly valued when it comes to realizing sustainable development goals. The meeting focused specifically on SDG 11(Sustainable Cities and Communities) on implementing new urban agenda with the aid of technology.

The meeting began with a series of opening speeches delivered by distinguished guests. Mr Elefante first illustrated the significance of digital design making tools, such as information modelling, to foster innovation on building and designing cities. Dr Abu-Ghazaleh mentioned that technology acts as driver for everyday life in modern age and brings people and issues to a single community. Mr Guier provided certain examples that highlighted the importance of connecting technology to data on sustainability, including automated waste collection programs and driverless car schemes. Ms Sherif, the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Habitat, added that climate change also posed challenges in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth of cities. Dr. Lubin described the linkage between corporates, cities and sustainability by the business sustainability maturity curve.

The conference followed by two dialogue sessions conducted by different representatives. The first focuses on the emergence of technology where speakers presented various types of information technologies that are incorporated in daily lives. For example, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence. In order to achieve a unified vision on the use of technology to develop sustainable cities, panellists agreed that accountability, public will and team environment are critical elements to be facilitated. The second session concerns the Network 11 Initiative in the Arab region that outlined the challenges of operating in (post-) conflict urban context as well as difficulties in addressing the gap between humanitarian aid and development.

Meeting: United Nations Human Settlements Programme: The Role of Technology: Implementing the New Urban Agenda to Achieve Sustainable Development

Date/Location: Conference Room 2, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; June 20th 2018

Speakers: Ms Maimunah Mohd Sherif (UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Habitat)

Mr. Carl Elefante (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects)

Mr Guy Gier (FAIA, President, American Institute of Architects of New York)

Dr. David A. Lubin (Co-Chairman and Managing Director, Constellation Research and Technology, Inc.)

Mr Michal Mlynar (Permanent Representative of Slovak Republic to the United Nations)

Professor Urs Gauchat (CSU, Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture and Design)

Mr. John Paul Farner (Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, Microsoft)

Mr Jason Whittet (Associate Director in Innovation in Urban Data and Technology, Rockefeller Foundation)

Professor Sarah Williams (Director, Civic Data Design Lab, MIT School of Architecture and Planning)

Professor Mahesh Daas (Ed.D, DPACSA, ACSA Distinguished Professor, Dean, School of Architecture and Design, University of Kansas)

Mr. Phillip G. Bernstein (FAIA RIBA LEED APM Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer Yale School of Architecture)

Dr Talal Abu-Ghazaleh (PhD, CEO, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization, Senator)

Professor Lance Jay Brown (FAIA, CSU, ACSA Distinguished Professor, CCNY Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture)

Ms Zena Ali-Ahed (Director, Regional Office for Arab States, UN-Habitat)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

ECOSOC Discusses Social Development and Human Settlements

downloadThe 23rd coordination and management meeting was held at ECOSOC on 12 June. This high panel discussion gathered representatives of CSOD, UN Habitat and CEB to discuss the drafted resolution on social development and human settlements. “Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and decent work for all is the priority theme”, representative of CSOD said in her introductory statement. She highlighted the critical importance of empowerment in accelerating the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. In light of that, she stressed that synergies must be created between empowerment policies and the current work to strengthen the three pillars of sustainable development. She repeatedly emphasized the need for increased and effective participation by youth in decision-making processes at all levels, including the post-2015 processes.

Director of UN-Habitat reported the role of UN-Habitat at the global level, which aims at working with a wide range of partners to prepare and consult the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals. It also closely cooperates with international financial institutions and the International Aid Transparency Initiative. She suggested several recommendations on implementing the Habitat Agenda. She pointed out the need of appropriate consideration on the role of urbanization for better implementation of sectorial policies within cities and urban settlements. This would enhance economic productivity and equity, to implement economic empowerment programs that create opportunities for the youth and women.

Ms. Simona outlined the five transformational shifts that are required to drive the universal post-2015 development agenda, including leaving no one behind, putting sustainable development at the core, transforming economics for jobs and inclusive growth, building peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all and forging a new global partnership. She concluded by highlighting the five critical interlinked elements for the post-2015 development agenda: universality, integration, equality, human rights and data revolution.

Meeting Title: 23rd coordination and management meeting: Social development and human settlements
Speakers: Ms. Sewa Lamsal Adhikari, Chair of CSOD 52; Ms. Simona Mirela Miculescu, Chair of CSOD 53; Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Simona Petrova, Director of the Chief Executive Board (CEB) Secretariat
Location: United Nations HQ, ECOSOC
Date: 12 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong