Cities are pathways out of poverty, but poverty is rapidly urbanizing. To address these challenges, all countries need to collaborate and create solutions together. Habitat III, a momentous United Nations summit that only occurs every 20 years, helped set the stage for a unified global approach to shelter and urban issues. At this event in October, world leaders adopted the New Urban Agenda – an innovative and actionable document addressing these shelter and city issues worldwide.
In the months leading up to Habitat III, Habitat for Humanity leveraged its strong partnerships worldwide to be a leading voice in shaping the New Urban Agenda. In South Africa, Habitat partnered with the National Department of Human Settlements and important stakeholders in the housing sector to draft a national response to the New Urban Agenda. At the consultation in July 2016, the group discussed the latest draft of the document and how it relates to the South African context.
In South Africa, 9% of households are living in informal settlements (HAD 2013). We believe that the poor, no matter where they live, can upgrade their own settlements given proper support and resources. At the consultation, we joined with our partners to advocate for a more people-first development approach to informal settlement upgrading to be included in the New Urban Agenda.
We followed up with these recommendations as Crystal West, our Head of Advocacy, joined our Habitat partners in attending the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador held from 17 – 21 October 2016.