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Special Session: Towards Habitat III

27 September 2013, Nantes, France

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World Urban Campaign Chair Nick You speaks about participation in the Habitat III process.

In a Special Session entitled “Towards Habitat III” at the EcoCity Summit in Nantes, France, a panel including UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, World Urban Campaign Chair and Co-Chair, Nicholas You and Prof Eugenie Birch, as well as Ana Milena Joya Camacho, a representative from the Mayor’s Office in Medellin, Colombia gathered to discuss the key issues for the Habitat III conference to be held in 2016.

Dr. Clos discussed the importance of the Habitat III conference and the challenges of creating an inclusive conference with a balanced regional representation. Nicholas You noted that in discussing problems and challenges and putting forth solutions in preparation for Habitat III, we must work together and ensure that Habitat III is inclusive.

Professor Birch suggested that organizations can become involved in the process by joining the WUC.   We will not be able to address the issues, she said, unless we have multi-sectoral partnerships to do it.  Birch emphasized that the Campaign recognizes innovations, and can promote and establish these through its solutions platform.

Ms. Camacho extended an invitation to the audience to the Seventh World Urban Forum (to take place in April 2014 in Medellin).  She described Medellin’s transformation from a city of fear to a city of hope, emphasizing the importance of public spaces and transport systems that have improved the quality of life for residents.   She noted that urbanization without innovation is not possible, and highlighted the importance of the Forum towards the Habitat III conference.  In order to have a successful Forum, she suggested that it is vital to get people involved, particularly women and young people.

Dr. Clos left the audience by suggesting that individuals can get involved towards Habitat III through activism, as ‘City Changers’, and by working towards better urban planning.