- Decision to convene Habitat III
Habitat Conferences are organised under the aegis of the United Nations every 20 years. The first edition was held in Vancouver in 1976 and the second in Istanbul 1996. In 2012, following the bi-decennial cycle, the UN decided that the Habitat III Conference will be held in Quito in 2016. From there on, the process of building the New Urban Agenda, to continue and improve on the Istanbul 1996 Declaration, was started. Dr. Joan Clos, the Executive Director of the UN Habitat Programme, was appointed as the Secretary General of the Habitat III Conference, guiding the process leading up to Quito 2016.
- Issue papers
The UN Task Team on Habitat III prepared a series of 22 Issue Papers which address issues and topics relevant to the topic of the Conference. They were divided to cover six major policy areas: Social Cohesion and Equity; Urban Frameworks; Spatial Development; Urban Economy; Urban Ecology and Environment; and Housing and Basic Services. Mobility and transport were addressed in a dedicated issue paper within the last policy area.
- Expert policy recommendations
Using the issue papers as a starting point, the Task Team convened ten Policy Units, including leading experts worldwide. Each of the Policy Units was co-chaired by two high-profile international organisations who had the task of developing policy recommendations for sustainable urban development. As the leading organisation dealing with urban mobility worldwide, UITP co-led of Policy Unit 9, addressing Urban Services and Technology. Furthermore, as UITP has done considerable work on the benefits public transport brings to cities, it was part of the expert group in Policy Unit 7, dealing with Urban Economic Development.
The policy papers were part of the official input that national governments used to negotiate for the final text adopted in Quito.
- Regional and thematic meetings
In addition to the policy advice received from the Policy Units and experts, a number of regional and thematic meetings have been organised under the coordination of the Habitat III Task Team. Based on input and comments from governments and stakeholder organisations, each of these events yielded a declaration that will also form part of the official input for the Conference. In its capacity as both stakeholder and co-leader of the Policy Unit 9, UITP has participated in the European regional meeting, advocating for the benefits of public transport and sustainable urban mobility, promoting public transport as an important part of the solution to the challenges currently posed by urbanisation processes.
- Open consultations and Intersessional process
National governments – who will be adopting the Quito Habitat III declaration and follow up on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda – have organised a series of three Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meetings, guiding the process of negotiating the final document for the Conference. A Conference Bureau was selected, including representatives from Chad, Chile, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, Indonesia, Senegal, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates.
Using the work from the Policy Units, the thematic and regional meetings, as well as comments from national governments and stakeholders, the Bureau supervised the production of a ‘Zero-draft’ document, gathering all the official inputs into a single document. National governments had several rounds of negotiations, including the third PrepCom meeting in Surabaya in July 2016, and hammered down an agreeement that will be formally approved in Quito.