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Key drafts of Habitat III policy papers open for public comment

These 10 ‘frameworks’ offer first glimpse of the contours of the New Urban Agenda. Comments from accredited groups are due by the end of this month.

As New Year’s Eve approached, 200 experts on urbanization from across the world worked feverishly to meet a year-end deadline for a key part of the preparations for Habitat III, the U. N. conference on housing and urban development slated for October in Quito.

Now, the results are available for public comment. The Habitat III “policy units”, as these groups of experts are called, have prepared 10 draft policy papers — referred to as “frameworks” — on the length and breadth of topics that will make up the New Urban Agenda, the conference’s intended outcome strategy.

[See: Despite hiccups, Habitat III expert groups largely on track for end-of-year deadline]

For now, these frameworks outline bullet-point topic areas on a diverse range of subjects. Ultimately, however, they will be expanded into full, polished policy papers, which in turn will directly inform the drafting of the New Urban Agenda. Those full documents are to be ready by the end of February, while a draft of the New Urban Agenda is expected for release sometime in April.

“We thank the policy units for delivering the policy paper framework by the deadline,” said Habitat III Secretariat Coordinator Ana Moreno. “The work continues and everyone is moving to conclude the final version in the next two months.”

The frameworks’ publication constitutes a quick turnaround for these groups, who started working only in October.

“While the 31 December deadline for a draft template proved to be quite tight, [we were] nevertheless able to deliver a comprehensive housing policy draft template as required,” said Habitat for Humanity International’s Jane Katz, who co-chairs the policy unit on housing.  

“To ensure the final report accurately reflects global needs from countries of all levels of development, we are reaching out directly to a number of the lesser-developed countries in the weeks ahead,” Katz continued. “While the entire process will entail significant time and effort, our experts and co-chairs are committed to developing a timely, inclusive, and informed work product.”

[See: Habitat III ‘issue papers’ provide backbone for New Urban Agenda]

Now, U. N. member states and NGOs that are accredited for Habitat III are eligible to submit written comments by 31 January. Those can be sent to habitat3policy@un.org and will be published online; they will also be considered as official contributions to the policy-level process toward Habitat III.

The 10 policy paper frameworks are available here:

1.     The Right to the City and Cities for All

2.     Socio-Cultural Urban Framework

3.     National Urban Policies

4.     Urban Governance, Capacity & Institutional Development

5.     Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal Systems

6.     Urban Spatial Strategies: Land Market & Segregation

7.     Urban Economic Development Strategies

8.     Urban Ecology and Resilience

9.     Urban Services and Technology

10.  Housing Policies

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Greg Scruggs

Greg Scruggs is Citiscope’s
Habitat III correspondent.