Habitat III

It seems to me….

A considerable share of the world’s population still cannot afford comfortable housing, education, and quality health care.” ~ Vladimir Putin[1].

Habitat III, formally known as the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, is a major global summit to be held in Quito, Ecuador, on 17-20 October 2016 which hopes to “reinvigorate” the global political commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities, and other human settlements, both rural and urban[2]. This conference is only held every twenty years with previous meetings being in Istanbul (1996) and Vancouver (1976).

With more than 25,000 representatives from about 200 national governments, it also probably is the largest conference of which most people have never heard. It will include a broad cross-section of international development practitioners and scholars, including those working in applied technologies, clean energy, health, education, gender, microfinance, governance and more. Those involved in the significant changes currently taking place within foreign aid, including the rise of private sector financing and public-private partnerships, will likewise have much to learn from and contribute to this forum.

The goal is to recognizes cities as drivers of economic and social development and elevate pressing global issues such as urban informality, gender equity, and disaster and climate resilience.

54 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities. It is estimated that 70 percent of the global economic activity is in cities. Cities also account for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The agenda will therefore be critical in achieving the COP21 targets agreed in Paris last year.

In the global south, if you live in a city there is a one-in-three chance that you live in a slum. While poverty is still our greatest urban concern, it is not limited to the south and has been growing across cities globally since the global financial crisis. Limited financial resources constrain the capacity of city administrations to respond to these challenges, especially in the face of austerity measures.

The conference is intended to provide an opportunity for the international community at all levels to harmonize its understanding of the problems and opportunities posed by current trends in urbanization including poverty, quality of life, environmental degradation, climate change, and other concerns on the one hand, as well as the economic, social, and creative boons provided by cities on the other.

The draft New Urban Agenda recognizes that decisions about how we house, feed, and mobilize urban populations will have a critical impact on human wellbeing and sustainability. Key focus areas include guiding national urban policies and systems of urban governance.

The key challenge for the New Urban Agenda will be distributing implementation to the thousands of cities that need development assistance across the world. A critical item missing from the agenda is who will monitor and evaluate progress and how.

That’s what I think, what about you?

[1] Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician who is the current President of the Russian Federation and has held that office since 7 May 2012.

[2] Henderson, Hayley, et al. Habitat III: The Biggest Conference You’ve Probably Never Heard Of, The Conversation, 4 September 2016.

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About lewbornmann

Lewis J. Bornmann has his doctorate in Computer Science. He became a volunteer for the American Red Cross following his retirement from teaching Computer Science, Mathematics, and Information Systems, at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO. He previously was on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, Stanford University, and several other universities. Dr. Bornmann has provided emergency assistance in areas devastated by hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. He has responded to emergencies on local Disaster Action Teams (DAT), assisted with Services to Armed Forces (SAF), and taught Disaster Services classes and Health & Safety classes. He and his wife, Barb, are certified operators of the American Red Cross Emergency Communications Response Vehicle (ECRV), a self-contained unit capable of providing satellite-based communications and technology-related assistance at disaster sites. He served on the governing board of a large international professional organization (ACM), was chair of a committee overseeing several hundred worldwide volunteer chapters, helped organize large international conferences, served on numerous technical committees, and presented technical papers at numerous symposiums and conferences. He has numerous Who’s Who citations for his technical and professional contributions and many years of management experience with major corporations including General Electric, Boeing, and as an independent contractor. He was a principal contributor on numerous large technology-related development projects, including having written the Systems Concepts for NASA’s largest supercomputing system at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. With over 40 years of experience in scientific and commercial computer systems management and development, he worked on a wide variety of computer-related systems from small single embedded microprocessor based applications to some of the largest distributed heterogeneous supercomputing systems ever planned.
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3 Responses to Habitat III

    • lewbornmann says:

      I have to admit that I initially learned of the Habitat II conference from a posting by your wife. Hopefully, she will not object to my plagiarism. For those unfamiliar with Habitat III, it is intended to address a number of urban-related problems.

      A substantial majority of the world’s population now lives in urban centers: four out of every five people might be living in towns and cities by the middle of this century. Cities obviously are the future of humanity. The Habitat III global conference seeks to set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way cities are built, managed, and people live through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector.

      Urbanization has become a major driver of development and poverty reduction and governments need to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare, and shared prosperity at all levels of human settlements including small rural communities, villages, market towns, intermediate cities, and metropolises.

      • berlioz1935 says:

        Thanks for responding. I’m all for the Habitat III conference as the problems arising in the future of our globalised planet can only be be tackled in a spirit of cooperation. Indeed, a global response is imperative.

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