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The Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, “Habitat III,” will be held in Quito during the week of 17 October 2016. This milestone is formally enshrined in General Assembly resolutions, with three Preparatory Committees convening in the next two years. HIC welcomes Habitat III as the first global conference after setting the post-2015 Development Agenda. However, HIC and its civil society Members have deep concerns and high expectations that this Habitat Conference commit to progress built on, but well beyond Habitat II and previous Development Goals: HIC calls upon states and development actors to meet the repeated demands and future challenges of development.

Habitat III is a General Assembly initiative, a conference of the whole. Thus, Habitat III is not the gathering of a single UN Charter-based agency. It is designed to convene global actors to discuss and chart new pathways toward meeting the challenges of ensuring equitable, resilient and sustainable human settlements, embodying justice and maximizing the opportunities they offer for accountable implementation of socially responsible development goals. The outcomes of Habitat III must ensure social justice, build democracy and respect the environment in human settlements.

The Habitat III conference is intended to bring together diverse habitat actors such as governments, local authorities, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions, technicians, social movements and all relevant interest groups to review urban and housing policies affecting the present and future of cities, towns and villages within a cooperative international governance architecture. The role of Habitat International Coalition (HIC) in this process seeks a “New Habitat Agenda”—not merely an “urban” agenda—for the 21st Century that recognizes the ever-changing dynamics and continuity of human civilization and the built environment, respecting the urban-rural continuum, and realizes greater autonomy, meaningful participation and responsible citizenship at the local level. Formulating and implementing such an agenda is possible only by addressing inhibiting political structures, private interests, parochial and patriarchal attitudes and power relations.

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