Tag Archives: Sustainable Development Goals


reprinted from Citiscope


Ideas are due by 15 February for a document – The City We Need 2.0 – that will comprise key stakeholder input to the drafting of the New Urban Agenda.

With the calendar turned to 2016, momentum is now picking up toward Habitat III, this year’s United Nations conference that will result in a 20-year urbanization strategy called the New Urban Agenda. Ahead of that once-a-generation conference, a major stakeholder initiative is soliciting ideas for inclusion in a key set of recommendations for that strategy.

Specifically, the World Urban Campaign is looking for “urban solutions”, or initiatives, practices, policies, legislation and models that address urban challenges to achieving what the campaign calls The City We Need. Individuals and organizations are now being asked to submit proposed urban solutions to wuc@unhabitat.org by 15 February using the following template.

The City We Need is an evolving document that the World Urban Campaign, an initiative of UN-Habitat, has been preparing for several years ahead of Habitat III. (Note: Citiscope is a media partner of the World Urban Campaign.) Its title piggybacks off of the Future We Want, the outcome document from the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, held in 2012.

With the Millennium Development Goals set to expire at the end of 2015, the Rio+20 conference decided that U. N. member states should adopt a new framework — a series ofSustainable Development Goals — to tackle ambitious targets on issues such as poverty, hunger and education. That conference also set in motion a global consultation to solicit ideas on what those goals should be. The landmark result, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted in September.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Sustainable Development Goals here]

If the U. N.’s sustainable development agenda could be described as “the future we want”, then the lead-up to Habitat III should in turn define “the city we need,” organizers felt.

The City We Need 1.0 emerged ahead of the seventh World Urban Forum in Medellín. In the run-up to that April 2014 global gathering of urbanists, the campaign released a manifesto with nine principles. According to that March 2014 document, the city we need is:

  • Socially inclusive
  • Well-planned, walkable and transit-friendly
  • Regenerative and resilient
  • Economically vibrant and inclusive
  • Of a singular identity and sense of place
  • Safe
  • Healthy
  • Affordable and equitable, and
  • Managed at the metropolitan level.

The City We Need took on additional life in the aftermath of World Urban Forum 7 at the firstUrban Thinkers Campus, held later in 2014. At that first-of-its-kind event in Caserta, Italy, the members of the World Urban Campaign realized that The City We Need could evolve with input from around the world ahead of Habitat III.

The campaign thus established a temporary initiative, the General Assembly of Partners(GAP), to gather that input. Today, that process is ongoing through the deliberations of 14 partner constituent groups, representing the breadth of civil society with a stake in Habitat III, as well as a series of more than two dozen Urban Thinkers Campuses, which began in June 2015 and will wrap up early this year.

[See all of Citiscope’s coverage of the Urban Thinkers Campuses]

Both the outcome of the Urban Thinkers Campuses and the new call for Urban Solutions will contribute to the drafting of the next iteration of The City We Need — version 2.0. The document is slated to be presented on 15 March at the next meeting of the World Urban Campaign Steering Committee, in Prague, on the sidelines of the Habitat III Regional Meeting for Europe.

Upon adoption by the campaign, the document will be handed over to the General Assembly of Partners, where it will likely form the basis of that group’s outcome document. Last month, the U. N. General Assembly recognized the GAP as a formal player in the Habitat III process.As such, once the GAP’s outcome document is submitted to the Habitat III secretary-general, it is expected to influence the first draft of the New Urban Agenda, due in April.

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Story by “Greg Scruggs, Citiscope”

“Citiscope is a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world. More at Citiscope.org


Global Youth, Localism, & Implementing SDGs

Global Youth, Localism, & Implementing SDGs


By Raphael Obonyo

In September, 193 world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York agreed to a new set of 17 global goals—the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—which establishes the framework for joint global action on poverty, inequality, and climate change for the next 15 years. World leaders deserve some credit for the new 2015-2030 SDGs that build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the framework with eight targets that was adopted in 2000 to consolidate global efforts toward the reduction of extreme poverty within a 15-year timeframe.

However, now that the easy part (that of making promises) is done, the outstanding challenge is to ensure implementation and progress follow. Achieving these new ambitious global development goals will require tremendous efforts. First, there is need for a comprehensive awareness and education program to ensure that citizens own and support the implementation of the sustainable development goals. Such a program should target a diverse public, at different levels and in different spaces, including schools, places of worship, and villages. The single most important factor in the attainment of SDGs is bringing the information to the people—no one should be left out. To get people involved, they have to be well-informed. Here, the world can replicate what the U.N. has done successfully to advance gender equality. In this realm, immense gains have been made through massive awareness.

It was the late Nelson Mandela who once remarked, and rightfully so, “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” Citizens and especially the youth must be at the center of development programs, and all people should matter in the 2030 development agenda.

The new 2030 development agenda has further set 17 goals that are accompanied by 169 specific targets for action. It is estimated that it will cost between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion per year to achieve the new targets, which provide a focal point to anchor development policies and programs. There is no doubt that if the global goals are properly implemented, they could transform the lives of billions of people living in poverty, much as the MDGs already have.

Empowering youth is a key component in ensuring the success of the SDGs. We need youth as volunteers, innovators, and leaders to realize the global goals. As World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently noted at the annual Youth Summit, young people have the power to make a lasting impact on ending extreme poverty and addressing climate change. They have fresh ideas, positive attitudes, and opportunities to influence change.

But we must realize young people are also victims of poverty and unemployment, and they righteously expect the development goals to address their challenges. Crucially, therefore, countries must adopt policies and programs that support the youth and help realize the goals.

We must also acknowledge the need for global cooperation. No single country or agency can tackle global challenges like poverty, inequality, and climate change alone. Only together can governments and businesses end poverty in all its forms and achieve the ambitious 2030 goals. Governments, the private sector, civil society, and other actors must form strong coalitions at both the global and local levels in order to achieve optimal coherence and clarity of purpose in messaging.

Funding is key to the success of the 2030 development goals. We already know what the solutions for a more sustainable and equitable future are. The question is, where will the money come from? The Third International Conference of Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia proved critical in getting closer to answers. At the conference, world leaders resolved to strengthen international cooperation for sustainable development. Heads of states and governments also committed to allocating significant domestic public resources to supplement international assistance in efforts to achieve the SDGs.

Still, a lack of resources could fundamentally cripple progress. To ensure that SDGs do not foster false hope, especially to the world’s poor, developed countries must support needy countries, particularly in Africa where millions of people are still trapped below the poverty line. At least $3.3 trillion is needed annually to finance the resources for implementing the SDGs. These funds need to be vouchsafed from different actors, including those in the public and private sectors, transnational corporate actors, and development banks.

Even more importantly, governments should take it upon themselves to allocate sufficient resources toward the realization of the goals. One of the criticisms of the MDGs is that governments failed to allocate finances in their national budgets in pursuit of the goals. To anticipate this concern, governments must commit sufficient funds to the sustainable development agenda.

Lastly, to achieve great outcomes, governments should first localize the development goals and ensure that national development programs are aligned with the SDGs, and then assess the progress of these efforts regularly. The adoption of the goals in 2015 means that nations now have to adopt the global framework as per their domestic frameworks. If the sustainable development goals are properly implemented, many jobs for young people can be created. Better engagement of youth in the implementation of SDGs will improve young people’s positions and conditions, as well as hasten the attainment of the goals.



Raphael Obonyo is the Africa Representative to the World Bank’s Global Coordination Board of Youth Network. Email: raphojuma@hotmail.com

Reposted with permission from worldpolicy.org.

[Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

Asia-Pacific Urban Youth Assembly 2015 – How it all began






The first ever APUFY kicked off on Saturday October 17th in Jakarta, Indonesia with number of optional activities at the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. Although  optional, the 70% turn-out suggested the quality and energy of the historic event. Motivated and eager participants jumped into discussions without further encouragement and were later rewarded with a welcome reception hosted by the Minister Basuki Hadimuljono himself. To set the mood, the Minister proved he’s not only a man of big words and tough decisions, but also a melody when he sang and danced on the stage along other guests and APUFY participants.


The main activities were set for Sunday October 18th. An impressive line-up of honorable speakers gave their opening remarks to the audience of 300 youth participants from all over the region, carefully selected out of almost 2000 applicants. Douglas Ragan, Chief of the Youth Unit, UN-HABITAT alongside Basuki Hadimuljono, the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Governor of DKI Jakarta and Gatot S. Dewa Broto, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Indonesia opened this remarkable event.


The opening session set the scene and placed APUFY’s deliberations in the context of the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals and the emerging New Urban Agenda to be adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, aka. Habitat III. Remarks have been made in the global, regional as well as Indonesian context. Not surprisingly, youth came to be the key stakeholder in the equation of finding solutions to urban challenges.

Following the Opening, there was a very interesting and often amusing dialogue session between the Governor of DKI Jakarta, the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport and the participants. The participants had a unique opportunity to ask any question and they used it without hesitation. Luckily, both of the honorable guests were eager to talk to the young people, and have answered even the most direct and sensitive questions. Here are some of the highlights of the Q&As:

Deputy MinisterGovernor





Q: I have heard Indonesia has a large number of young people. What is the most effective way to take advantage of such youthful population?

A: The most important thing is to educate them and prepare them for adult life. We need to fight high unemployment rates by facilitating their integration to public as well as private sectors. We need to create sufficient opportunities and activities for young people to grow and develop.

Q: What do you expect from youth in terms of building sustainable and resistant cities?

A: To contribute to building and fostering the unity and diversity, two very important things in Indonesia. I can’t even imagine how the Indonesian independency would look like without the young people. Given the huge number of youth, nothing can work properly without their involvement. Young people shall stop to be underestimated. Remember the Arab Spring. It would have never happened without the active participation of the Tunisian youth.

Q: How can youth be better involved in decision-making?

A: Internet represents a great platform as they can share their ideas, thoughts and opinion with their peers as well as us, the officials. Open data are public and cannot be modified before they reach us which helps to fight corruption as well. We can also make our budgeting and policy making more transparent and thus facilitate easier participation of young people. Lastly, we need to work on improving of our own image in public. Many young people believe that government officials are lazy and that they don’t care about them. We need to make ourselves more approachable to prove them wrong.

And what were the recommendations for the way forward?

o Having more public spaces for recreation and activities in social housing and public spaces generally which encourage multigenerational interaction.

o Electronic planning and budgeting that allows transparency because data is easily accessible.

o District level discussions that go to city and then province level.

o Making things transparent allows youth to get involved through these forums.

o Using social media and QLUE program.

o Create incentives for young people to innovate for cities and participate, not just about entertaining young people without results and not just about financial support. Harness creativity of young people.

o Governments should not only give voice to youth but also opportunities.

o Use ICT that is not just about entertainment but focuses on encouraging youth to innovate.


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!