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      The rapid force of urbanisation is a powerful catalyst to advance all three aspects of a transitions to sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – as set out in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

      Habitat III

      ICSU spearheaded scientific engagement at Habitat III, the 2016 UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development.

      The Habitat III process was an opportunity to provide a holistic and progressive approach to sustainable urban development.

      ICSU, acknowledging several separate paradigm-shifting global agreements (the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the
      2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement) worked together with the broader urban community to provide inputs along two important arenas — strengthening the science/policy interface, and putting urban health on the agenda.


      Health as the Pulse of the New Urban Agenda

      In July of 2016, ICSU, together with the World Health Organisation, Governments of Ghana and Norway, United Nations University Institute of Global Health, and the International Society for Urban Health convened an expert meeting to coordinate the community’s input to the New Urban Agenda. The meeting resulted in proposed language which was ultimately included in the New Urban Agenda, and a report on “Health as the pulse of the New Urban Agenda”, which outlines critical connections between health and urban policies and will serve as the basis for further action by ICSU’s Urban Health and Wellbeing programme.

      Habitat X Change

      At the Habitat III conference in Quito, ICSU in partnership with Future Earth and the Urban Complexity Lab, convened an innovative engagement platform — Habitat X Change — a unique space to launch and showcase scientific endeavours at the interface of science, visualisation and storytelling.

      Habitat X Change saw the launch of the Future Earth Urban Knowledge Action Network, as well as a Knowledge Consortium of stakeholders that will engage with the New Urban Agenda in the coming years. “Knowledge for Sustainable Urban Development” will begin to formulate thinking about assembling and delivering evidence-based and practical guidance for the New Urban Agenda.

      Global Urban Policy

      Following the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in 2016, cities, and urbanisation are now global issues – enshrined in a series of global policy agreements. In the years ahead, ICSU is committed to playing a role in representing the scientific community to play a role in achieving sustainable urbanisation, through a series of international policy spheres.

      Here are some key milestones for the implementation phase of the New Urban Agenda:

      • January 2017: 1st UN World Data Forum
      • April 2017: UN Habitat Governing Council
      • September 2017: Newly elected Secretary General reports for UN General Assembly on existing and future mandates for UN Habitat
      • March 2018: 9th World Urban Forum (Kuala Lumpur)
      • Early 2018: IPCC Cities and Climate Change Conference (Edmonton)
      • July 2018: 5th High Level Political Forum scheduled to review SDG goals 6 (water and sanitation), 7 (energy), 11 (cities and human settlements), 12 (sustainable consumption), 15 (forests and biodiversity)
      Road to Quito
      Comments submitted to UN Habitat by ICSU and Future Earth on the thematic policy briefs that are informing the development of the New Urban Agenda:
      Give the city back to its people. A Q&A with architect Jan Gehl:
      The next big thing at the UN? The future of cities. A Q&A with Joan Clos, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme:
      Habitat X Change Blog:
      Science for a New Urban Agenda
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