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What can Canada learn from the events and discussions at the Habitat III Summit?

about 3 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Consultation has concluded

  • George Benson over 3 years ago
    The UBC SCARP delegation took a good deal of time upon returning from HABITAT III to reflect on our key observations from the conference and to build these into some coherent themes that we could share with Minister Duclos and his team. Our top observations were as follows: Canada is back — as echoed in the closing statements during our delegation meeting, the sense that Canadian leadership has returned to the global stage was omnipresent. This was relayed to us in both a sense of relief — especially pertinent after the results of the American Presidential election — but also of responsibility; it was expected that Canadians would carry the flag for important causes, whether that was the inclusion of LGBT2S+ people in all human settlements, or for climate-friendly cities, wherever they went. This will necessitate significantly more official Canadian presence at these international fora, as well as greater engagement with Canadian civil society, academia, and private sector (players/partners?) to leverage action at home and globally. Unique role of youth — the inclusion of Canadian youth as part of the official delegation was remarked upon numerous times by other national and civil society delegates as special and valuable. For our part as students, we also felt we were able to contribute meaningfully to the work of the delegation because of this opportunity. The value of this role intersected innumerable times during the conference with comments and recommendations made by panelists, other national officials, and from community leaders. Whether it meant designing cities to the “Triple A” standard of All Ages and Abilities (AAA), or in centring an intergenerational justice perspective on climate action in policy discussions, the involvement of youth in events like HABITAT and all human settlements policy processes was seen as essential. Governance challenges — time and time again during the sessions of HABITAT III, the fundamental challenge of human settlement governance was raised. On global challenges like climate change, where immediate and often dramatic action is needed, this is especially apparent. It is also relevant to more intimate national or regional challenges like Indigenous reconciliation in Canada or the creation of inclusive neighbourhoods. The idea of the “four cornered table” was discussed by the Canadian delegation at numerous points. It rang true for SCARP students and seemed not only a morally just cause to advance, but a measure that is imperative to realising meaningful implementation of the NUA. Both federal and unitary states all struggle with effective multi-scalar coordination of policy and so there was a clear indication at HABITAT III that further innovation in this area is necessary. This is something it was apparent that Canada, with its ongoing evolution of multi-scalar and multi-national governance vis-a-vis Indigenous peoples, can play a clear leadership role in. Exclusion of LGBT2S+ rights and voices — Much was said during the conference and afterwards about the specific exclusion of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered, Queer, Two-spirited peoples, and others (LGBT2S+) and this is something that we want to again highlight. We want to commend the Government of Canada’s willingness to stand up for this egregious omission from the NUA and believe that there is a specific opportunity to include LGBT2S+ voices and people in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda at home. Doing so would show the positive aspects of the agreed upon document, but also how some of its flaws can be overcome.Absence and exclusion of rural people — By its very nature, the NUA excludes rural peoples from the future of human settlements. While there is significant language within the document to attempt to recognise the rights and existence of rural communities, we feel that Canada must play a role in showcasing the critical nexus that exists between cities and rural communities, especially with Canada’s longstanding marginalization of Indigenous communities. There are few countries with more uninhabited and sparsely populated areas than Canada; whether with regards to our proud and longstanding heritage as farmers and primary resource gatherers, or as we attempt to chart a new course in the sustainable use of Canada’s natural and human resources, Canada can again show how the implementation of the NUA necessitates a recognition of all scales and forms of human settlements. Absence of private sector — While the NUA is unique in its celebration and highlighting of the private sector for its role in the creation of sustainable and just human settlements, there was a noted lack of actual private businesses at the conference. To SCARP students, this was reflective of a poor understanding of how the private sector relates to human settlements. In numerous sessions at the conference, the necessity of private business inclusion — particularly in the financial and building sectors — was noted as an issue of paramount importance. In Canada, NUA implementation strategies must be prepared to include the private sector in discussions of new financial models for investment in human settlements as well as the final physical realization of those settlements. Further emphasis on implementation needed — every session attended by SCARP students underlined the necessity of further discussing what implementation of the New Urban Agenda will look like. In the conversations and declarations made at Canadian delegation meetings, there was marked agreement that Canada could pioneer implementation in several key ways: (1) renewing partnerships with local communities through the fulsome implementation of spending priorities announced in the 2016 budget, (2) building inclusive ‘four-sided’ institutions and consultation processes, which transparently lay out the roles and responsibilities of all participating actors (national, provincial, and local governments, and First Nations), and (3) integrating elements of the NUA in key federal policy programmes, such as healthcare spending and the National Housing Strategy. The weaving of the NUA into federal policy priorities, alongside other international agreements and prerogatives, such as the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and National Climate Change Action Plan, will increase Canada’s policy coherence and provide clear political and market signals for all individuals and institutions to act upon.
  • elizabeth over 3 years ago
    At the Habitat III conference, there were frequent references to the need for a shift in our housing paradigm, to recognize that shelter is an essential part of the infrastructure of thriving communities, no less critical than services such as clean water, good sanitation, health care, and community safety. The Government of Canada is to be commended for initiating the creation of a National Housing Strategy. The recent feedback from Canadians in the initial consultation echoes key statements in the New Urban Agenda about the centrality of adequate housing in sustainable urban development.* It is time to recognize, through effective policy that addresses systemic issues rather than producing random short-term interventions, our collective responsibility to ensure that all Canadians have access to the basic foundation for life as a contributing member of a prosperous community. It is to be hoped that the emerging National Housing Policy takes inspiration from the direction charted in the New Urban Agenda on the place of housing in urban development strategies.*NEW URBAN AGENDA- Our shared vision:13. We envisage cities and human settlements that:(a) Fulfil their social function, including the social and ecological function of land, with a view to progressively achieving the full realization of the right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, without discrimination, universal access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, as well as equal access for all to public goods and quality services in areas such as food security and nutrition, health, education, infrastructure, mobility and transportation, energy, air quality and livelihoods;- Implementation:31. We commit ourselves to promoting national, subnational and local housing policies that support the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing for all as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living; that address all forms of discrimination and violence and prevent arbitrary forced evictions; and that focus on the needs of the homeless, persons in vulnerable situations, low-income groups and persons with disabilities, while enabling the participation and engagement of communities and relevant stakeholders in the planning and implementation of these policies, including supporting the social production of habitat, according to national legislation and standards.
  • RAYNAUD over 3 years ago
    Removed by moderator.
  • RAYNAUD over 3 years ago
    Dear Honorable Jean-Yves Duclos,RESAUD Network team want to express our sincere appreciation to Canadian Government for providing us with the opportunity to join the Canadian delegation. According to Dr. Joan Clos, we recall: “our struggle for global sustainability will won or lost in cities”.What we learn from Habitat III Summit? After the adoption of the Quito Declaration and the event of the NUA at a time when the world is mainly “urban” and urbanization has become global, we are entering an urban age and an “urban” civilization, but what sort of civilization is that? How should we understand the city? What is the purpose of the NUA? What are the most effective implementation mechanisms or the Plan of Actions to guide this unique document in the history of the United Nations? Who are the key actors to better implement this NUA? Many questions to ask and yet a few responses to be provided for now!Amongst the key actors we have all identified Local government and their networks as one of the most suitable partners to implement the NUA. In support of UN Habitat pioneering work, cities are today key actors in the NUA as well as in the fight against discrimination and for safety and security. Their level of government is closest to the people and has the potential to significantly improve lives and their overall living conditions. They share the responsibility to protect citizens against discrimination by bringing together a broad range of stakeholders. The NUA is an historic moment to be seized by urban research and practitioners. We want to emphasize four salient points about the current state of play and to propose a way forward:First, it is vital that all those engaged in promoting urban sustainability keep focused on the essentials and not lose the unprecedented and historic opportunity that the build-up to Habitat III the New urban agenda and Quito declaration have represented. We applauded the role played by all forces engaged in the process! Citi Scope as well as the Global Assembly of Partners- GAP and the Local Authorities Global Taskforce have been at the forefront. The process to get ‘there’ has, quite literally, been a fierce struggle or, more accurately, a series of intersecting struggles. If, for any of a number of reasons, the moment is lost – as many opposing vested interests would dearly love – there will be no going back!Second, a key element of this historic moment is that the NUA and urban SDG in effect provide the urban components of Agenda 2030 and are framed in terms of the imperative of achieving global sustainable urban development. Previous UN ‘development’ agendas have focused principally on low and lower-middle income countries. In this sense, the shift from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to SDGs symbolizes far more than simple succession. Agenda 2030, the NUA and SDGs make unambiguously clear that sustainable urban development is everyone’s challenge. Third, the importance of the current urban focus reflects not only the need for transitions and structural transformations to urban sustainability per se but also the centrality of this process to the attainment of overall societal sustainable development. Cities and urban centers are central nodes in economic, socio-cultural,demographic, political and social-ecological systems and flows that integrate them inextricably into their surrounding regions, urban corridors, mega-urban regions and national and transnational spaces. What happens in urban areas in all forms of existence has profound implications beyond their boundaries as well as inside them. Fundamentally, rural sustainable development is no more feasible without urban sustainability than vice versa. Finally, if this is the urban century, we need to be attentive to urban areas of all sizes in all locations. We tend to use ’cities’ as a short-hand for urban areas generally. However, since most policy debates, even in the Agenda 2030, NUA and SDG processes, take place in large cities (usually national capitals or commercial hubs) and are dominated by agencies, city leaders, professional elites and other ‘stakeholders’ based there, implicit meanings and understandings tend to drift quickly towards actually inferring large cities. Nevertheless, the dynamics of urban growth have already been shifting and much current and future growth will occur in secondary, intermediate and smaller urban centers. Their sustainable planning, development and management are therefore fundamental to sustainable urban and for the future of our society.So how, given this diversity, complexity, can the prospects for the urban century to become the urban sustainability century be maximized? The challenge for Canada at national and international level is formidable but the key almost certainly lies with integrated thinking and action of the following elements:First, using incentives for a limited period and effective and enforced regulations appropriate to local conditions to encourage movement towards urban economic greening on a clear timetable. That such transitions provide and present substantial net economic opportunities rather than survival threats to the construction, urban transport and other sectors often associated with opposition to sustainability transitions. Second, mobilizing civil society, community groups, indigenous knowledge – academia and research – to support local, regional and national authorities to promote sustainability in line with the new undertakings made in adopting Agenda 2030, the NUA and SDGs. Third, Canada with significant experience as a leader can deploy substantive participatory methods, including new forms of co-design and co-production to engage diverse stakeholder groups actively in locally appropriate and relevant research and governance, can play important roles in overcoming entrenched conflicts and institutional antagonisms.Fourth, Canada must strongly support UN agencies and programs, and international NGOs to promote proactive local urban leadership and mutual international learning and to engage with local and national leaderships. We thank you for your attention,Yours faithfullyMichel Max RaynaudDirector of RESAUD NetworkProfessor, Université de Montréal
  • Ellen Woodsworth Chairperson Women Transforming Cities International Society over 3 years ago
    When the government and civil society works together on issues like LGTBQI2S issues we can open the door to the implementation of the NUA both in dialogue and in action for social justice. When we work together to put an intersectional lens with disaggregated data on the NUA we can actually change the world for half of the population.
  • Andrew Chunilall, Community Foundations of Canada over 3 years ago
    Representatives from Community Foundations of Canada were pleased to accompany the Canadian Delegation to the Habitat III Summit in October 2016. Discussions at Habitat III sessions reinforced that all levels of government have a role to play in shaping and achieving the New Urban Agenda. To make progress feasible and meaningful, we repeatedly heard that local governments need more money and authority over their city-building (and city-improving) initiatives. Secondly, we discussed how all stakeholders need to be engaged; non-profit, private, academic, social, and government sectors, as well as marginalized and vulnerable populations. A big discussion centred around the need to engage groups that presently aren’t being consulted or heard, including minority groups, immigrants, low-income families, women, as well as the “silent majority” that choose not to engage for a variety of reasons. Attendees raised the question of how to get these groups more meaningfully involved. Thirdly, we discussed the need to have women’s perspectives at the table; to acknowledge the specific contributions and needs of women, and to work towards achieving greater gender parity. We likewise discussed the urban-rural divide that prevails within each country, and how this characterization was unhelpful as both urban and rural communities have distinct value and contributions to make to the whole. Finally, the private sector was noticeably absent from Habitat III, but remains a key stakeholder as a job creator, employer, economic driver, mutual partner, and with access to resources to mobilize quickly when needed. The private sector should therefore be engaged and on board with the Habitat III goals. In addition, we pose a few questions of our own for further consideration:What role does philanthropy play in civic engagement and public dialogue?What are the opportunities to connect the New Urban Agenda to local contexts?The definition of “community” has evolved as a result of globalization; what impact does this have on community foundations and the New Urban Agenda?What place do rural communities have within the New Urban Agenda, and how can urban-rural disconnects be reduced?
  • Louis Conway over 3 years ago
    Resilience is a constant theme throughout the Annex of the New Urban Agenda and presents Canada with the opportunity to take a transformative leadership role in community resilience development with a National Resilience Strategy and provincial resilience plans.Canada's role in community resilience development includes the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver in 1976 (section 3 of the Annex).Sections in the Annex referencing resilience include:11, 13g, 14c, 30, 32, 44, 45, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78, 79, 95, 111, and 119.