The United Nations General Assembly has voted in favour of holding the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. The conference is held every two decades.
According to UN-Habitat, the objective of Habitat III is to set the ‘New Urban Agenda’. The third conference of its kind (the first two were held in 1976 and 1996), it will seek to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, address poverty and identify new and emerging global urban challenges.
Since 2009, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. Describing urban areas as economic and productive innovation spaces, UN-Habitat says that urbanisation has radically changed almost every aspect of our lives – on an individual level in terms of our lifestyle or how we use space, and on a societal level as regards economic relations or consumption and production patterns.
But while urbanisation has brought economic growth and development for many people, cities have also become spaces of heightened inequality and many are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Cities also face environmental degradation and are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The conference will therefore focus on a sustainable development model that promotes equity, welfare and shared prosperity, according to Dr. Joan Clos, Secretary-General of Habitat III.
Photo credit: “Quito calle García Moreno” by Cayambe – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons