Tag Archives: environment

Is Urban Farming Impossible?

By Achmad Solikhin

The adoption of the Urban New Agenda remains challenging for urban think tanks, most notably agriculturists who strive to resolve a dilemma between urban population expansion and agricultural land use. For instance, in Bandung, Indonesia, the increase in urban population growth needs two hundred hectares of agricultural lands to be converted into human settlements, industries, and other public properties. The increase also exacerbate the ecological burdens, such as pollution, water crisis, fossil fuel energy issues, and climate change.

Besides Bandung, the lack of agricultural landscape for farming that would feed the urban inhabitants has been an emerging issue throughout Indonesian cities. This is not in line with the Indonesia Government Regulation No. 19, 2016, which demands sustainable farming land for food. In addition, it is contradictory to paragraph 95 of the New Urban Agenda, that clearly supports urban agriculture and farming. Furthermore, if interlinked with nexus approach and Indonesian commitment for green house gas emission reduction and food security, 41% GHG reduction will be very tricky to be implemented in urban area over rural area.

With all these challenges, urban farming seems impossible on a scale. On the other hand, with new technologies and willingness to make a change, it can be done. As a possible solution, urban farming has been introduced to the urban sites, using various innovative techniques such as vertical gardens, aquaculture, small agriculture and rooftop agriculture,to name few. These techniques are demonstrated in the following projects, which are potent for tackling alarming urban farming burden, such as: Food Field, Farm, Sky Green, The Distributed Urban Farming Initiative, and Sharing Backyard. Inspired by these great initiatives as a potential urban landscape solution, a project called : “Carbon Farming Schools” initiated by the Indonesian Green Action Forum emerged.

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The Carbon Farming Schools are suported by UNEP Eco-Peace Leadership Center, Yuhan Kimberly, YUNGA UNFAO, UNESCO, and Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition. The project focuses on both food source and education. I tis run in Bogor, approximately 2 hour drive from Jakarta. Two elementary schools are engaged and supported young agriculturists of Bogor Agricultural University. Around 500 students have been actively involved.

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There is a wide participation also from other segments of society including other youth and local farmers. In the schools, the students are educated about climate change, urban farming, and ecological issues to find solutions and suggest innitiatives to tackle these issues. Subsequently the innitiatives are translated into real action plans. To test-run and implement them, they use a small agroforest in abandoned lands and limited spaces. And how does it look in practice? For example, a small number of fast growing and multipurpose tree species are coupled with vegetable plants. A vertical farming is also alternative technique suitable for limited spaces in front of a house or backyard. The great thing about the project is that it supports the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, making it more than just a collection of words on paper.

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Launching #UrbanAction in Quito

In October 2016, the world leaders and representatives of the member states will gather in Quito, Ecuador to adopt the New Urban Agenda, a brand new road map to deal with all urban issues and a guide to achieving SDGs particularly in the urban context. For the first time in history, young people were recognized as stakeholders in the drafting process and are frequently referred to throughout the document. That is why UN-HABITAT wants young people to be placed in the front line of the action that will follow. Acknowledging young people’s enormous potential and capacity, UN-HABITAT works with top global youth networks to ensure that Quito marks the beginning of the youth “#UrbanAction”.

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What is #Urban Action?

#UrbanAction is a global campaign calling on young people to actively engage in positive urban development. Youth groups, organizations and individuals alike will be encouraged to design and develop #UrbanAction projects in their city that build on the commitments outlined in the New Urban Agenda, and positively contribute to achieving one (or more) of the SDGs. We aim to implement over 150 youth projects related to New Urban Agenda and SDGs within the first year of NUA adoption.

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Why Youth?

Youth represent an essential and dynamic resource. Globally, 85% of the world’s young people live in developing countries and ever-increasing number of them is growing up in cities. We have the largest youth population ever – 1.8 billion young people are below 24 years of age. This is not a small number and as such, youth should be brought on-board as partners and assets.

Youth participation and engagement is the cornerstone of the #UrbanAction, empowering them to increase their level of engagement in local governance and activate their participation in sustainable urban development activities socially, politically and economically. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces. The success lies in participatory and inclusive approaches that leave no-one behind.

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While Quito will mark the launch of the #Urban Action, with first few project ideas implemented, the real work comes after Habitat III is over. Coordinated through the AIESEC international network and other partners, youth all over the world will commit and implement their #UrbanAction projects in their cities, in line with the New Urban Agenda and one (or more) of the SDGs. Join #UrbanAction today!

Youth Joining Voices with PrepCom3 Multi-Stakeholder Delegates

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

#H3Youth kept up the momentum built after the huge success of WUYM and other youth parallel event(s) at PrepCom3.  Their activities were in good cooperation with the broader multi-stakeholder groups who worked hard to bring about a more inclusive New Urban Agenda with an eye toward its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.  Youth groups voiced their staunch and great support for cities and local governments, as well as for the Right to the City initiative, together with the broader civil society and advocates for local governments.  Youth activists with disability linked up with stakeholder group(s) to lobby with great effectiveness to mainstream important considerations for people with disability and those living in extreme poverty in urban settings.

Two official side events at PrepCom3, both on 27 July 2016, gave centre stage to discuss youth empowerment and contribution in the sustainable and inclusive urban agenda.  The first was “Prioritizing Children & Youth Within the New Urban Agenda” that brought together youth representatives, development partners (including UN-Habitat), and child centred agencies such as World Vision International.  The session emphasized the critical need of the youth to unite and work together in partnership with local authorities and partners.

The second was “Civic and Youth Participation in the Wired Age” made up of city governments, network of cities (CityNet), private sector companies, youth inclusive initiative (Block by Block), data initiatives Pulse Lab Jakarta (part of UN’s big data labs), among others.  Here, Microsoft Indonesia’s Ruben Hattari cautioned PrepCom3 participants that all the new technology in cities could go to waste in the absence of a people-centered approach and engagement with citizens, especially the next generation.  Youth contributed with lively Q&A from the floor, saying that social inclusion should be ensured in technologies and city development.  It was another demonstration of just how youth engagement in urban policy issues should work.

 

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On the Road to Quito and Beyond

Going forward, UN-Habitat will support youth groups in their last one mile on the road towards Quito, and their journey beyond the New Urban Agenda.

We urge governments to accept youth as development partner – working together with cities and local governments, and ALL urban actors – in achieving the New Urban Agenda and meeting the SDG’s, especially SDG 11.

So, thank you so much Surabaya!  Congratulations to all youth leaders who contributed to PrepCom3 last week!  Don’t forget to get ready for Quito – and beyond!

#GSUYR 2015/16 Research Results Presented to Youth at PrepCom3

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

UN-Habitat Youth Unit team also launched the early results of its Global State of Urban Youth Report (GSUYR) 2015/16.  GSUYR 2015/16’s theme tackled the issue of rising urban inequalities. “Urban Equity and Youth Development” was the topic.

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With hashtag #GSUYR, WUYM’s youth participants in Surabaya and other cities joined in.  They conducted focus group discussions (FGD’s) to deepen the understanding of economic, political, social and cultural and environmental inequity issues in their own cities.  As a result, the research team received much-needed input from the youth.  The team is looking forward to launching the GSUYR 2015/16 report officially at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador.

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Youth Said: We Can Be Partner in New Urban Agenda Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation

Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa

Even before PrepCom3 proceedings got started, local Indonesia youth-led organizations IYMM and Kota Kita impressed everybody by organizing World Urban Youth Meeting.

This full-day parallel event brought together around 500 youth participants in a showcase of “Youth Perspectives and Actions Towards People-Centred City” on 24 July 2016 (Sunday), the day before PrepCom3.  UN-Habitat, together with UNTAG university and Surabaya city government, supported the joint effort.  With cooperation from Microsoft, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN country teams in Asia-Pacific, WUYM plenary sessions were livestreamed and linked with six cities beyond Surabaya, as well.

 

Firstly, UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Aisa Kirabo Kacyira captured the moment and said (at the opening ceremony), “the next generation [and women] must be treated as development partner if we were to succeed in New Urban Agenda.”  Her opinion received enthusiastic support from youth during the event, which ran non-stop all day, from 7am to 7pm.

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Perhaps more importantly, WUYM demonstrated that youth could be “doers” of inclusive urban development and policies that will be enshrined in the New Urban Agenda.  Youth-led and youth-inclusive initiatives presented  a range of variety expanding from the local to global: e.g. Urban Citizenship Academy, c2o in Surabaya, Safetipin for Manila, Youth 4 Global Goals, SDSN-Youth…just to name a few.

The Meeting was significantly diverse and highly participatory. The organizers directed the dialogue and focus group discussion (FGD) methodology; the youth volunteers facilitated the discussions, and the youth leaders shared best practices on urgent issues facing the urban youth such as “Good Government and Rights to the City”, “Urban Youth Against Extremism” and “Youth, Cities & Disaster Risk / Climate Change” (full schedule: here).  WUYM participants and speakers represented who’s who from PrepCom3.  Young people from 30 communities (kampungs) in Surabaya also joined forces.

To conclude a full day charged with youth energy, the APUFY 2015 delegate and urban planner, Emmy Yuniarti Rusadi declared at closing plenary, “We as youth have big responsibility in our own future.”  Having contributed to Indonesia’s national Habitat III consultations and also becoming one of the independent candidates for Mayoral elections in her city (after participating at APUFY in October 2015), Emmy sent powerful message to #H3youth, urging young people to see beyond “these big UN conferences,” and commit to act on the ground to improve communities and cities.  Joce Timoty Pardosi, Executive Director of IYMM, said their organization and actions in Indonesia, including contributions at PrepCom3, were the tangible legacy of APUFY.  Many youth speakers similarly expressed determination to stay engaged for the long haul, and to act as change agents both locally and globally.

Visit to Mathare by Youth Envoy

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Great to see  to the Secretary General, visiting once again the  Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G). As he states, some huge leaps forward in services at the centre with the the development of the ‪‎Innovate‬ Kenya‬ ICT and Entrepenruship programs, the great work of the iHub – Nairobi’s Innovation Hub and their Kio Kits, the continued focus on public space and football, and of course the indomitable spirit of the Mathare community and its youth!!!

On Friday July 22nd, the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi joined UN-Habitat and the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G) to check the youth-led projects in Mlango Kubwa community in Mathare. It was his second visit of this community and he was very impressed to see the progress the youth center made since 2014.

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Mlango Kubwa community lies at the periphery of one of Nairobi’s biggest slums. Like everywhere else, young people face many challenges there, from access to safe spaces to access to resources and opportunities. What distinguish them from others though is their drive, enthusiasm and willingness to strive for change. They take no chances and work together to make their community a better place for all, but especially for the children and young people.

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We were equally inspired and enchanted by the spirit of this youth. After we saw how they claimed burned-down space in the middle of their community, negotiated with authorities and built their first ever community football field with minimum resources and their hard work, we couldn’t not work with them. We wanted to support them so they can carry on their fantastic work and offer more opportunities for young people to grow in healthy environments.

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With the help of Samsung, we built a fully equipped ICT center that offers not only access to internet, but access to knowledge. As part of our Innovate Kenya project, UN-HABITAT and its academic partners developed a series of E-learning courses that come with the Samsung donated equipment. There are number of courses on offer, including project management, marketing or urban agriculture.

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Envoy’s visit to Mlango Kubwa meant a lot for the local youth, as well as for all of us who tagged along. It was great to watch how they presented their achievements with pride. It was even more touching to hear Envoy’s words of admiration and appreciation at the end.

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Keep it up guys!

 

 

 

 

After the quake

Written By: Ying Gao

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In the week of 24 April 2016, Nepal marked an important moment.  It was the first anniversary of the great earthquake.[1]  To turn the page with forward-looking consultations, UN-Habitat hosted two urban youth discussions on the critical questions of “equity and youth development” in Kathmandu.  A wide range of youth groups supported UN-Habitat to put together the two workshops.  The result was an electrifying energy and focused output from youth participants that impressed the attending UN agencies, development partners and Nepal government representatives.  UN-Habitat will publish the results as part of the Global State of Urban Youth Report 2015/16 later this year.

Young people were at the frontlines of relief work in the wake of the quake in 2015.  They applied volunteerism and skills to do many post-disaster tasks, like distributing aid materials, building temporary shelters, and creating open-source maps of the affected areas.  The images and videos of such youth volunteers flooded local and global media reports on Nepal Earthquake.  In other words, the youth proved that they were resilient in post-disaster Nepal.

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A year on, however, the story of Nepal Earthquake is more complex.  The needs have shifted from recovery to reconstruction and development.  Where are the same Nepali youths now?  How do they feel about their own role in the reconstruction process as well as the country’s long-term development?  And what about the state of equity among young women and men in Nepal’s rapidly urbanizing society?  These were the questions asked in the Kathmandu events this week.

The week kicked off with over 50 young Kathmandu citizens debating youth’s role in Nepal Earthquake reconstruction at a special session hosted by UN-Habitat, during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Peace and Development Service Alliance (APPDSA) South Asia meeting, a joint initiative by Global Peace Foundation and UN ESCAP, 23-24 April 2016.  Local youths aged 18-24 expressed frank opinions about the ongoing reconstruction process, and the related employment and social issues.  Among other issues, participants argued that reconstruction needed to provide more jobs and skills development for local youths.  If actively engaged, Kathmandu’s young population had much to offer.  “We the youth are opportunity creators, not [opportunity] seekers,” one youth presenter concluded.

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Next up, over 100 youths selected from diverse backgrounds joined UN-Habitat Global State of Urban Youth Report 2015/16 – Kathmandu focus group discussion workshop on 29 April 2016.  Mr. Padma Joshi, UN-Habitat Nepal Country Programme Manager, opened the floor with welcome speech highlighting that youth represented 40% of Nepal’s people.  Mr. Joshi also pointed out the complex effects of the historic disaster and reconstruction on the country’s increasingly urbanizing youth population, such as knock-on effect of displacement or fresh rural-urban migration in search of work.  Mr. Brabm Kumar K.C., President of Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON), asked the youths to think about bridging the planning and implementation gap.

During the day, groups of youths debated the root causes of what may be preventing Nepal youths’ full, effective and equitable participation in the country’s development in the following five areas: 1) youth and employment, 2) youth and sports and environment, 3) youth and education, 4) youth and politics of reconstruction, 5) youth and gender equity and social inclusion.  Defying occasional power outage of the building, the heated discussions continued well into the afternoon.

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The closing remarks brought attention to the opportunity provided by the SDG’s for the youth.  Representing UN Youth Advisory Panel, Ms. Neiru Karky stated, “We need to own the concept of sustainable development goals,” recommending to look at urbanization as part of innovation where youths can make greater contributions to the society.  Mr. Sudarshan Kunwar, AIESEC Nepal President, expressed an open invitation to participating youths saying “you can align your products, your services in terms of SDG’s” for more impact.

During the week, UN-Habitat also presented the recently published Switched On: Youth at the Heart of Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific to Nepal Ministry of Youth and Sports.

[1] 24 April 2016 was the anniversary date in Nepali calendar.  Internationally, 25 April 2016 is the day.

1st Global Urban Youth Exchange Program with Duksung Women’s University

The 1st Global Urban Youth Exchange Program run from January 27 to February 10, 2015 under the theme “ideal urbanization and Youth role’s in this era of globalization” at the Duksung Women’s University that is based in Korea. 28 participants from Duksung Women’s University presented policy proposal, pre-investigation and field research on ideal urbanization in developing countries especially Cambodia and Thailand and made a presentation on the same at the United Nations Office in Bangkok.

Participants were separated into five groups and challenged to come up with creative solutions related to sustainable urbanization. Innovative ideas emerged such as, establishing night classes for improving the Cambodian Women’s education, improvement of environment-friendly landfills, reducing school dropout rates through economic and entreprenureship education. The students went further to test their proposed hypothesis and policies in the local situation through local surveys.

At the launch of the programme, Mr. Jung, the Cooperation Director at Duksung women’s University emphasised that, “We expect this program can be a big help to cultivate students’ global citizenship and enhance global leadership”.

UN-Habitat and Duksung Women’s University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on August 6th 2014. The university also works closely with UN-Women and has signed an MOU with the agency as well to promote ‘the next generation’, especially women through the Global Partnership Training Program.

Your chance to get your voice heard in #HabitatIII!

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.33.07Habitat III is the third Habitat agenda conference which will be held in Quito, Ecuador in october 2016. It will set a #NewUrbanAgenda globally, and is likely to have a large impact on how our cities and settlements will look in the future. It is also the first big UN-conference to discuss the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (#SDGs). 

Still figuring out how to get involved with Habitat III? The Habitat III secretariat will continuosly be hosting online dialogues divided into the six thematic areas defined as part of the agenda so far. The six areas are Social Cohesion and Equity, Urban Frameworks,  Spatial Development, Urban Economy, Urban Ecology and Environment and Urban Housing and Basic Services.

For each of the thematic areas, the secretariat has prepared a number of issue papers, discussing the subareas of each theme. These issue papers serve as a god baseline for the discussion, but is by no means a requirement to read the papers in order to get engaged in the discussion. The secretariat is looking for good practices, examples and opinions that can be used as part of the foundation for the New Urban Agenda. 

You can get engaged by creating a profile and start adding comments to each of the thematic areas. Urban issues touches upon so many aspects of young peoples lives, and it is very likely that YOU will have a valuable contribution towards creating a #youth friendly, equitable and inclusive New Urban Agenda. 

The consultations will be announced continuously, stay informed at https://www.habitat3.org/sitemap

Get involved!

UN-HABITAT & Cities Alliance Partnership – Youth Project in Peru

(Department of Libertad) Trujillo, Peru: Department of La Libertad is a province in Trujillo located in the Northwestern part of Peru; it inhabits 811,979 people, where 65% of them counts as youth.

The main problem of population density in the Department of La Libertad is that over 70% of the population lives in the city of Trujillo, resulting in high concentration of people in poor urban district which leads to poor living conditions, such as: Irregular housing in the hills, unplanned urban spaces invading green areas, limited access to water sources, poor environmental practices – social problems, poverty and lack of employment opportunities for young people. 

To make a change to these poor living condition problems in a sustainable way with a wide coverage, The UN-HABITAT and Cities Alliances are currently working together on a project to promote urban youth development in Peru (Catalytic Fund). The main priority is to, first and foremost, encourage the improvements of the living conditions, raise awareness for environmental protection (water, protection of green areas), and provide the youth with the opportunities to enhance their artistic skills for future employment. The next step is to work in partnership with the local governments to create new satisfactory public policies in the municipal level.

Fortunately, the UN-HABITAT urban youth fund has previously supported RASA JOVEN with a similar project in Trujillo. The aim of the project is to engage youth in the community life and promote activities towards protection of the environment and income generation.

…Their current plan is to develop a pilot of different dance choreographies (break dance and local dance) and a team painting houses in parts of the community.

With more awareness amongst organisations and the public, the faster can the Department of La Libertad rise out of poverty.