WRI Responds to the Surabaya Draft of Habitat III’s New Urban Agenda
The third session of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Surabaya, Indonesia in July was an opportunity for delegations to come together, finalize the text of the New Urban Agenda and focus on questions of implementation. From the meetings emerged the Surabaya Draft of the New Urban Agenda, and WRI is pleased to provide the following commentary in support of the upcoming negotiations in New York.
The Surabaya Draft articulates many of the challenges and disagreements between member countries, but it also makes considerable progress on many of the key issues of agreement, including inclusive, safe, sustainable mobility in Paragraph 108 and urban water challenges in Paragraphs 70-71. The convening in New York City tomorrow will push for a New Urban Agenda that is strong and ambitious, and includes the necessary power to create momentum toward a more sustainable urban future. Importantly, this includes the Sustainable Development Goals – especially SDG 11 – and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
While the Surabaya Draft shows improvement from previous drafts, including more holistic coverage of urban challenges and opportunities in several sectors as well as a more structured, fleshed-out global reporting framework, negotiators in New York should continue to focus on several key areas:
• Establishing National-Level Reporting and Connection to Other Processes
• Strengthening Follow-Up through the Quito Implementation Plan
• Motivating Stronger Commitments in the New Urban Agenda
• Operationalizing Innovative Funding and Financing Mechanisms
• Raising Awareness of the Need for a Paradigm Shift in Mobility
• Ensuring Action on Gender Equality
Next Steps Towards Quito
As negotiators and other stakeholders convene once again in New York, it will be critical to focus on post-Quito action and construct a robust foundation for strong country implementation plans. This will not be possible if the New Urban Agenda is still under discussion.
WRI calls for a program in Quito that allows countries and non-state actors to share strong commitments and implementation plans with one another, highlighting the possibility for innovative collaborations across sectors and levels of government. These final stages of the formal process require that the global community concentrates on turning dialogue and vision into a shared, sustainable urban future.