On 16 October 2016, over 300 local and regional leaders came together in Quito to submit their joint statement towards the New Urban Agenda, the global framework for sustainable urbanization that nations will officially adopt this week at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.
This event was the third and final session of the Second World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, the mechanism through which the local and regional government constituency has provided official input into the New Urban Agenda text. The three-part series began this past May in New York City, followed by gatherings in Bogota and Quito in October.
The joint statement from local and regional governments for Habitat III was officially adopted on 14 October in Bogota, and reiterated by attending mayors and local leaders just two days later in Quito. It highlights the main achievements of the World Assembly, outlines commitments by local and regional governments and makes specific demands on the international community towards a renewed global governance structure and improved financing for local investments.
Specifically, the joint statement celebrated that the New Urban Agenda signals a starting point for further discussions on how to implement this new framework, aims to localize the Sustainable Development Goals, references important local sustainable development concepts and encourages frameworks for capacity building, multilevel governance and city-to-city cooperation.
It also states a sets forth a clear commitment from local and regional governments to carry forward its ideas and principles while localizing and monitoring progress towards the New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals and other related global sustainability frameworks.
The joint statement also makes clear that local leaders expect that the New Urban Agenda mark a new era of engagement between global processes and local and regional governments, improve municipal finance structures and link implementation of the New Urban Agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and other key global sustainability frameworks.
ICLEI is an active member of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, the convener of the Second World Assembly. ICLEI has supported the input to the New Urban Agenda process and has released its own statement that responds to the New Urban Agenda and outlines specific actions ICLEI will take to build a sustainable urban world between now and 2030.
In particular, ICLEI has welcomed the New Urban Agenda as a starting point for further action. It acknowledges and brings together local sustainable development concepts that are necessary for real transformation. However, despite linking to the Sustainable Development Goals and other global frameworks, it falls short of providing a set of instructions for achieving the specific goals and targets they establish. ICLEI maintains that further action is thus needed from nations to demonstrate how they will implement the New Urban Agenda, while local and regional governments continue to pave their path forward.