From 17-20 October, the city of Quito, Ecuador, was the stage for one of the most important international events for local governments for the next two decades, HABITAT III, where representatives of national, subnational and local governments adopted the New Urban Agenda. The Bogotá Commitment, adopted at the UCLG World Congress in Bogotá in the week of 12-15 October, presented the position of local and regional governments concerning the New Urban Agenda. Both declarations mention the need for capacity and institution building. Please find an overview of some of the most interesting passages to this regard below.
The New Urban agenda: acknowledgement of the importance of local governments and their associations
The New Urban Agenda was adopted in the presence of 193 United Nations member states, and will serve as a guide for urban and municipal planning and development for the next twenty years. It acknowledges the importance of local governments and their associations as “active partners in the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda”: local governments and their associations are encouraged to develop implementable follow-up and review mechanisms, in cooperation with national and subnational governments.
References to capacity and institution building
Of particular interest to the CIB members is the fact that the New Urban Agenda shows a growing consensus on the need to “support local government associations as promoters and providers of capacity development, recognizing and strengthening, as appropriate, both their involvement in national consultations on urban policies and development priorities, and their cooperation with sub-national and local government.” Aside from the general need for capacity building, the New Urban Agenda also underlines a need for thematic capacity building, for example in the field of urban planning and housing, but also concerning human rights and financing.
During the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments, a large event organized during the Habitat III conference, EU commissioner for Regional Policy Cretu acknowledged the key role of local governments in development. The declaration of this assembly also refers to the importance of decentralized cooperation and capacity building.
To a large extent, the points of the New Urban Agenda that focus on capacity building echo the Bogotá Commitment which was adopted a week before HABITAT III at the UCLG world congress in Bogotá. This outcome document mentions that “decentralized and city-to-city cooperation, peer-to-peer learning and knowledge-sharing to foster innovation” need be supported, amongst others.