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The Habitat III Conference, 17-20 October 2016

The third United Nations conference on housing and sustainable development, Habitat III, will be held in Quito from 17 to 20 October. The objective of this conference is the adoption of a new Urban Agenda, making urbanization a positive force for development. This is connected to Groupe URD’s work in recent years on the specific characteristics of post-crisis recovery and resilience in urban environments.

Groupe URD has been working on resilience, post-crisis urban reconstruction and linking relief and development for a number of years. In the last year, for example, we were involved in:

  • a study of the urban crisis in Bangui and the issues at stake concerning displaced persons in an urban context, their resettlement, the ongoing reconstruction and respect for the population;
  • a peer exchange organised between delegations from CAR and Haiti about the impacts of each crisis, and to share lessons and analysis about the two responses;
  • iterative sharing of experiences from the Nepal crisis response.

In Quito, Groupe URD will draw on its previous involvement in working groups, and thematic and preparatory conferences, such as:

  • A presentation on “The resilience of urban populations to crises” during the “Urban resilience” seminar organised by the Partenariat français pour la ville et les territoires (PFVT);
  • A presentation on “IDPs in Bangui, and their impacts on urban development” during the day of discussion on “Migrants and Refugees in the City” organized by AdP - Villes en Développement;
  • A “peer exchange” event and the facilitation of a discussion seminar on “Post-crisis reconstruction” co-organised with the French Development Agency.

Groupe URD has also attempted to promote a collective position on urban questions and shared understanding of the issues at stake among donors (primarily the French Development Agency) and humanitarian organisations.

Via the Habitat III conference, the United Nations General Assembly will aim to review the concept of sustainable urbanisation in order to implement a new Urban Agenda. The objectives of the conference are to obtain renewed political commitment to sustainable urban development on the part of Member States, in the form of non-binding commitments, to evaluate what has been done so far, to reduce poverty, and to identify the challenges ahead.