Partners working towards the Habitat Agenda have emphasised the need to tap into existing knowledge about cities to strengthen the role of urbanisation in sustainable urban development.
Strategy meeting with partners in Kenya © Julius Mwelu
The comments were made at a meeting at UN-Habitat headquarters in Nairobi where Habitat Agenda Partners were given the opportunity to share their experiences, exchange ideas, and learn about the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum and upcoming events such as the next World Urban Forum, the Millennium Development Goal conference and Habitat III.
Attendees who had participated in Rio+20 felt that urban issues were given prominence at the conference, and cities were recognized as positive drivers of development. It was, however noted that a lot of knowledge and learning that already exists in cities in Kenya and around the world is yet to be acknowledged and tapped by UN-Habitat and other critical actors.
Some participants expressed concern that Rio+20 and the Forum were largely attended by professionals with less representation and voice of civil society organizations. UN-Habitat was urged to ensure that future conferences have greater inclusion and representation of all categories of partners, including the civil society from developing countries. Any policy dialogue must be genuinely inclusive of a range of views and perspectives in order for UN-Habitat to develop innovative and useful approaches.
Partners were urged to position themselves for effective participation in the next World Urban Forum, to assist in putting their ideas on urbanization on the MDGs+15 agenda, and to ensure a unified voice at Habitat III.
In her opening remarks, Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, Director, Regional Office for Africa, stressed the need to cultivate partnerships based on the principle of equality of all actors, and partnerships that can contribute towards achieving real national policy change to allow relevant international norms and standards to take effect.