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Taskforce Releases Guidance for Local Government Participation in Habitat III

UCLGNovember 2013: A global task force has issued guidelines for local government participation in the preparatory process for the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016.

The 'Global Taskforce of local and regional governments for 2015 development agenda towards Habitat III' is hosted by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and is believed to represent nearly all the local or regional governments of UN Member States.

Habitat III will analyze commitments made by Member States during Habitat II in 1996. It is also expected to discuss the urban agenda as it relates to implementing and achieving outcomes from major UN conferences and summits, including the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Outcome Document, the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the guidelines, cities represent “essential places where development battles can be won or lost.” The guidelines identify seven preliminary priorities for local government, including: promoting equal access to quality and basic services; eliminating inequalities and poverty; and promoting creativity, culture and diversity as core elements in building sustainable cities. It further suggests: establishing multi-level and multi-partnership governance tools; developing financial and legal mechanisms to support local and territorial governments to achieve their potential; fostering cohesion among territories; and promoting urban planning.

The guidelines also outline local governments' role in National Habitat Committees, as recommended in guidelines issued by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). The National Habitat Committees will act as a policy platform to, inter alia: prepare national reports for Habitat III; design policy frameworks to address national urban policies; identify solutions to urban challenges; initiate a National Urban Campaign to contribute to the World Urban Campaign; hold National Urban Forums to finalize national urban agendas towards Habitat III; and provide input to national preparations for events such as UN-HABITAT's Governing Council and the World Urban Forum (WUF). [Guidelines for the participation of local governments in the preparatory process towards Habitat III] [UCLG Website on Habitat III] [IISD RS Coverage of Global Taskforce Meeting]