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Ahead Habitat III, Toluca forum explores Latin American cities’ future

The last of the four scheduled Regional Meetings ahead of Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will hold 18-20 April 2016 in Toluca, Mexico. Habitat III is billed to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 to 20 October this year.

Toluca, Mexico
Toluca, Mexico

The three-day forum in Mexico represents that for the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Previous Regional Meetings held in Jakarta, Indonesia 21-22 October 2015 (Asia-Pacific); Abuja, Nigeria 24-26 February 2016 (Africa); and Prague, Czech Republic 16-18 March 2016 (Europe/North America).

Similarly, Thematic Meetings have held as stakeholders countdown to Quito. These gatherings were at: Tel-Aviv, Israel 7 September 2015 (Civic Engagement); Montreal, Canada 6-7 October 2015 (Metropolitan Areas); Cuenca, Ecuador 9 – 11 Nov 2015 (Intermediate Cities); Abu Dhabi, UAE 20 January 2016 (Sustainable Energy and Cities); Mexico City, Mexico 9-11 March 2016 (Financing Sustainable Urban Development); Barcelona, Spain 4 – 5 April 2016 (Public Spaces); and Pretoria South Africa 7 – 8 April 2016 (Informal Settlements).

According to the organisers, the aim of the Toluca meeting is to exchange views and experiences, as well as to propose inputs to the formulation of a New Urban Agenda that should provide principles and tools for sustainable urban development.

Themed “Liveable and Inclusive Cities: The Global Challenge of Sustainable Development”, the conference will debate approaches and new paradigms that will constitute the future of cities in the region. Recognising the differences between countries, governments will meet to make commitments that will impact the definition of the New Urban Agenda.

Toluca, officially called Toluca de Lerdo, is the state capital of State of Mexico as well as the seat of the Municipality of Toluca. It is the centre of a rapidly growing urban area, now the fifth largest in Mexico.

Indeed, in resolution 66/207 and in line with the bi-decennial cycle (1976, 1996 and 2016), the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the Habitat III Conference to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanisation, to focus on the implementation of a “New Urban Agenda”, building on the Habitat Agenda of Istanbul in 1996.

Member States of the General Assembly, in resolution 67/216, decided that the objectives of the Conference are to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable urban development, assess accomplishments to date, address poverty, and identify and address new and emerging challenges. The Conference will result in a concise, focused, forward-looking and action oriented outcome document. Habitat III is to play an important role in making cities and human settlements equitable, prosperous, sustainable, just, equal and safe.

Habitat III is one of the first major global conferences to be held after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Observers point out that it offers a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenge of how cities, towns and villages are planned and managed, in order to fulfil their role as drivers of sustainable development, and hence shape the implementation of new global development goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The final declarations from the Regional and Thematic Meetings are considered official inputs to the Habitat III process.

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