About the Coalition

Communitas was the Coalition for Sustainable Cities and Regions in the new UN Development Agenda. Its ultimate goal was to empower a New Urban Paradigm in human development for poverty eradication, social justice and sustainability.

With this mission in mind, Communitas acted as a two-fold platform supporting the intergovernmental processes on the global Post-2015 development agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and on the New Urban Agenda of the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III. On the one hand, Communitas provided expert and practitioner-led technical input to intergovernmental processes. On the other, the Coalition facilitated a broad multi-stakeholder platform of organizations keen on enabling sustainable urbanization as a driver for sustainable human development. Through its unique blend of technical expertise from the perspective of subnational and local practitioners, Communitas embeded the real needs for urban and territorial sustainability into multilateral processes, while empowering multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Communitas was governed by a Management Board consisting of its core partners:

  1. The Tellus Institute – Organising Partner
  2. ICLEI- Local Governments for Sustainability – Implementing Partner
  3. nrg4SD- Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development
  4. UN-Habitat- United Nations Human Settlements Programme

The Communitas Secretariat was made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

Communitas included a multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee encompassing a wide spectrum of stakeholder organizations in the social, human rights and environmental fields. Communitas also developed regular direct collaborations with the Group of Member States Friends of Sustainable Cities; with relevant sections of the UN system, and with the UN Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS).

The Communitas Coalition was a proud and active member of the World Urban Campaign and the Urban SDG Campaign, actively contributing to their dynamism, strategic orientation and multi-stakeholder composition. Building on the accomplishments and lessons of the Millennium Development Goals, the UN Sustainable Development Summit Rio+20 and other global sustainability initiatives, the UN’s efforts towards a Post-2015 development agenda with a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and towards a New Urban Agenda presented a series of important opportunities for shaping the urban paradigm for the coming decades. The Communitas Coalition was pivotal in enabling four key opportunities that concur at this once-in-a-generation context:

“Interim Report of Communitas Activities”

A detailed account of the Communitas journey

July 2014
  1. Recognizing poverty eradication, social justice and sustainable urbanization as interconnected and multi-dimensional processes for human development, with inextricable links to human rights and democratization.
  2. Implementing a New Urban Agenda with local impact and grassroots empowerment as the driving forces.
  3. Conceptualizing cities beyond their administrative boundaries with a wider territorial/scalar approach in the interest of social cohesion and understanding urbanisation as a social process in close inter-dependence with rural development.
  4. Embedding the real needs of people in the multilateral process by empowering multi-stakeholder collaboration.

In terms of geographic scope, the theme, partners, goals and activities of Communitas were global in nature. However, partnerships, aims and activities were designed to ensure engagement with the issues of sustainable human development and the eradication of poverty and inequality that particularly affect the Global South. The city-region scale was at the core of all works carried out by Communitas. Regarding the demographic target for the work, Communitas focused on urbanization as a demographic megatrend, with particular focus on deprived groups facing the challenges of sustainable human development, poverty and inequality.

Background on Communitas

“Empowering a New Urban Paradigm in human development for poverty eradication, social justice and sustainability”
A presentation on the vision of Communitas
February 2015
“Phases and Pillars”

An overview of the phases and pillars of Communitas activities
February 2015
“Interim Report of Communitas Activities”

A detailed account of the Communitas journey July 2014

Communitas Legacy Report

Core Partners



Communitas Secretariat

Maruxa Cardama

Maruxa Cardama

Executive Project Coordinator

Passionate about social, political, economic and environmental justice for human development, Maruxa was Executive Coordinator and Founder of Communitas. Specialist in integrated sustainable urban and territorial development, her  career spans strategic policy analysis & advocacy, multi-stakeholder partnerships and capacity building initiatives with multilateral institutions and with national and subnational governments from both developed and developing countries. Prolific public speaker and analyst, in 2014, Maruxa served as Drafting Co-Chair of the 65th Annual Conference for NGOs of the UN Department for Public Information. In 2010-2012, when she run nrg4SD – an international network of subnational governments – Maruxa co-facilitated the engagement of subnational governments in the UN Rio +20 Conference. Previously she was Deputy Director at the Representation of the South West of England to the European Union, where she led on the sustainability portfolio for a partnership of regional authorities, academia and private sector. Earlier, Maruxa was Sustainable Development and Institutional Affairs Officer in the EU representation of the Spanish region of Galicia and started her career in the EU Committee of the Regions. Maruxa has also worked as Expert on Governance and Public Administration Reform for the Government of Romania and the British Council. She has lectured in capacity building programs run by the Assembly of European Regions, the College of Europe of Bruges, the Institute of Political Studies of Paris Sciences Po and the French EU Presidency.

Email: mcardama@communitascoalition.org

James Goldstein

James Goldstein

Research Director

James Goldstein was the Research Director at Communitas and oversaw work groups and expert-led research. James served in the Communitas Secretariat while being Senior Fellow at Tellus Institute, where he directed the Sustainable Communities Program. His research centers on the development of analytic methods and stakeholder processes in support of community-based initiatives to integrate environmental protection, economic development, and social well-being.

James has over thirty years of experience in the assessment of environmental problems and policies, with a particular emphasis on pollution prevention, solid waste management, and integrated resource planning for water. The current focus of his work is the incorporation of a global perspective in designing local and regional sustainability efforts.

James’ projects at Tellus have included: preparation of a white paper on Sustainable Communities and the Great Transition; development of long-range sustainability scenarios for the Boston metropolitan area; assessment of the potential employment and environmental impacts of enhanced recycling in the US; analysis of the costs and benefits of greening affordable housing; expert consultation on long-range integrated resource planning for water, wastewater and stormwater; and development of a regional climate adaptation strategy. He presents widely on a range of environmental and sustainability issues and holds a B.A. in Geography from Clark University.

Email: jgold@communitascoalition.org

Felix Dodds

Felix Dodds

Special Advisor to the Coalition

Felix Dodds is a Fellow at the Global Research Institute at University of North Carolina and an Associate Fellow at Tellus Institute. He served notably as Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future (1992-2012). He played a significant role in the UN Rio+20 Conference and has been active at the UN since 1990, contributing to key meetings on sustainable development.

In 2011, Felix chaired the UN DPI NGO 64th Conference on Sustainable Societies – Responsive Citizens. He also co-chaired the UN Commission on Sustainable Development NGO Steering Committee (1997-2001).

Felix has written/edited nine books, his latest being Only One Earth: The Long Road via Rio to Sustainable Development. Felix writes occasionally for the BBC Green Room, Outreach, and Network 2012. He has been an adviser on the UK, Danish and European Union delegations for meetings on environment.

Felix once chaired the UK’s National League of Young Liberals and was a member of the Liberal Party Council and Policy Panel on Defence. He holds a BSc in Physics from the University of Surrey.

Email: felix@communitascoalition.org

Christopher Dekki

Christopher Dekki

Policy Analysis & Communcations Officer

Christopher Dekki has dedicated himself from very early youth years to the representation in intergovernmental policy processes of youth-led organizations affiliated with the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), the United Nations’ official platform for children and youth engagement. Over the years Chris has taken an active role in advocacy around a number of topics, including sustainable cities and human settlements, as well as Habitat III.

Chris has been highly involved in the work of UN-HABITAT on a number of fronts. Besides leading youth-led organizations directly in Habitat III advocacy, both in New York and in Nairobi, Chris has also facilitated a strong relationship between a number of youth movements and UN-HABITAT‘s Youth Unit, as part of the Youth 21 initiative. Thanks to the synergies that exist between them, Chris was able to establish a coordination body made up of youth-led organizations and members of the HABITAT Youth Unit. This body’s primary purpose is to lead on advocacy around the roles of youth in decision-making on all levels, as well as in urban sustainability.

Thanks to his direct engagement in facilitating multi-stakeholder advocacy in complex policy areas and in a range of intergovernmental processes – from Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 development agenda to the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Third International Conference on Financing for Development – Chris brought a truly diverse and fresh background to the Communitas Secretariat.

Email: chris@communitascoalition.org

Contact Us

Secretariat: info (at) communitascoalition.org
Twitter and Instagram: @SDGcommunitas

Mailing Address:
c/o UN Habitat
2 UN Plaza, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10017
United States of America