SDG on Cities and Human Settlements
The Communitas Coalition continues to play a vital role in the development of the global Post 2015 development agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), building upon the substantive contributions made by Communitas to the intergovernmental Open Working Group which crafted the SDGs. Recognizing the challenges and opportunities of sustainable urbanization in the 21st century, Communitas provided comprehensive technical support towards the elaboration of targets for an SDG on Cities and Human Settlements; as well as on the overall territorial approach to other SDGs. Today, the fruits of these efforts are embodied in the proposed Sustainable Development Goal, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” For more on the SDG on Cities and Human Settlements and the Coalition’s work on SDGs, please click below and visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the SDGs and the Post 2015 development agenda.
Engagement in the UN Sustainable Development Summit, September 2015
During the UN Summit, Communitas lead discussions on the important evolution towards the implementation of SDG 11, to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” as well as the partnerships for the achievement of the overall Agenda at the regional and local levels.
Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century - Part 1
Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century - Part 2
Messages from urban sustainability practitioners
Below is the full report of Communitas activities around the Summit.
Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century: A Multi-Stakeholder Approach to Making the Transformation Happen
On 28th September 2015, the Communitas Coalition Secretariat and its core partners – ICLEI, nrg4SD, Tellus Institute and UN-Habitat – convened a high-level multi-stakeholder gathering of the Urban SDG Campaign and the World Urban Campaign, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments, Cities Alliance and the UN-Sustainable Development Solutions Network. This high-level event celebrated the successful efforts over the past three years of Urban SDG Campaigners for achieving the recognition of sustainable urban development as a driver for human development in the horizon of 2030. More importantly, this gathering constituted a key turning point towards the challenges of successfully implementing SDG11 in an integrated approach with other SDGs, as well as of localizing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In addition to initiating strategic discussion on implementation, the convening aimed at furthering the engagement of the urban development community in the Habitat III Conference.
List of Speakers
List of Participants
A Movement for Sustainable Cities and Regions in the 21st Century
Contributions to the Outcome Document of the UN Sustainable Development Summit
During the Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations Communitas elaborated contributions to the Outcome Document that were adopted by Heads of States and Governments at the Post-2015 UN Summit in September 2015, in order to secure a strong urban and territorial dimension that shall pave the way for the effective implementation of the agenda at the subnational and local levels. For this exercise, Communitas worked with partners in the #UrbanSDG Campaign. Communitas also sent a letter to the co-facilitators of the Post-2015 intergovernmental process with suggestions for amendments to the zero draft of the Outcome Document.
Crafting indicators and a monitoring framework for urban sustainability and balanced territorial development
Held at the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiations towards the global Post 2015 development agenda at UN Headquarters on 26th March 2015.
Technical Proofing of SDG Targets on Cities and Human Settlements
In support of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the global Post-2015 development agenda, which took place in, February 2015 the Communitas Secretariat published its Technical Proofing of the Targets under the SDG on Cities and Human Settlements. Careful consideration was given to preserving the political balance crafted relentlessly by the SDGs Open Working Group. A limited number of key words were tweaked and/or introduced with a view to: (i) enhance the consistency with existing multilateral agreements; (ii) improve the action-oriented and outcomes-oriented approach of the targets and (iii) facilitate measurability, follow up and monitoring. Above all, the technical proofing re-emphasized the productive role of cities in adding economic value and creating informal and formal livelihoods that not only bolster the on Cities and Human Settlements, but also provide the basis for the implementation and financing of key SDGs.
Urban Sustainability at the Core of Human Development: A Stocktaking Discussion about Ongoing Post-2015 Processes
From Refining Second Draft Targets to Communitas Final Target Proposals
Over several months, the Communitas Coalition fostered a far-reaching dialogue around a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) dedicated to cities and human settlements. This included the side event in January 2014 at the 7th Session of the SDGs Open Working Group (OWG); the networking event, “Unpacking Targets for the Urban SDG” held at the Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) in Medellín in April 2014, and the technical briefing for the SDGs Open Working Group on the “Rural Urban Nexus,” in May 2014 co-organised with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The Communitas Secretariat continued to provide both technical input and urban advocacy into the SDGs process, via collaboration with various stakeholders and the UN system, direct participation in all SDGs OWG sessions and the publication of a regular online newsletter.
Unpacking the targets for SDG11 at the 7th World Urban Forum
Held in the City Changer Room at the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellín, Colombia, in April 2014, the Communitas Coalition held its consultation on first draft urban targets with a Networking Event, “Unpacking Targets for the Urban SDG.” The event aimed to create a bridge between the World Urban Forum and the SDGs Open Working Group (OWG) in New York, effectively connecting leading urban innovators to the OWG’s final formulation of Sustainable Development Goals. In the short-term, the Networking Event helped urban advocates to better understand the SDGs process and the role of “sustainable Cities and Human Settlements” therein. In the medium-term, it helped city changers to shape and anticipate SDG targets in the following months. In the long-term, it served to bolster local and subnational efforts to implement an Urban SDG on the ground. This important event helped pave the way for the Communitas second draft targets towards a standalone SDG on Cities and Human Settlements.
Frequently Asked Questions on the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Matrix of Targets and Indicators
In July 2014, the Communitas Secretariat produced a Matrix of Targets and Indicators as a practical tool for the final session of the Open Working Group in charge of crafting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs OWG). At the final stages of the negotiation on the proposed SDG on Cities and Human Settlements, the OWG faced a few remaining issues toward refining the targets proposed in the reviewed Negotiation Draft. The matrix outlined the proposed targets under the SDG on Cities and Human Settlements in rows, as well as the latest iteration of proposals elaborated by the Communitas Secretariat on 3rd June. Each target was correlated with possible indicators. The ultimate objective of the matrix was to show how the inclusion of existing targets under the SDG on Cities and Human Settlements could already address additional areas of particular importance.
Timeline of UN Post-2015 Processes
Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements in the SDGs: An Event at the UN Open Work Group
Following the Communitas Experts’ Workshop on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements in the SDGs, on 6th January 2014 the Coalition held an official side event at the UN Headquarters in New York at the sidelines of the 7th Session of the SDGs Open Working Group – the session focused on the thematic area of sustainable cities and human settlements. The technical elements for a strong urban dimension in the SDGs were presented, building on the draft targets discussed at Communitas’ Experts’ Workshop (UN Headquarters, NYC, 5-6th December 2013). Each panelist presented a view on the critical role for sustainable urbanisation towards a Post-2015 development agenda; as well as proposals for incorporating a balanced territorial dimension and relevant means for implementation into the overall SDGs framework.
Producing First Draft Targets for a Stand-Alone SDG
On the basis of the issues papers produced by the Communitas expert-led work groups in collaboration with the practitioner-based Advisory Committee, Communitas convened multi-stakeholder discussions at an Experts’ Workshop held in United Nations Headquarters ahead of the 7th session of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in January 2014 – the session dedicated to the theme of sustainable cities and human settlements. With all this technical background, in December 2014, the Communitas Secretariat pioneered first draft targets for a stand alone SDG on cities and human settlements. At that time, the Communitas Secretariat identified a “clustered approach” for developing target proposals for input to the SDGs OWG stocktaking exercise, comprised of (i) Fundamental Urban Patterns; (ii) Urban Life of Dignity for All; (iii) Governance and Accountability; (iv) Enabling Policies; (v) Territorial Dimension of Other SDG Areas. The first draft targets were a pivotal step towards achieving a stand alone SDG on Cities and Human Settlements.
Booklet of Practitioners’ Experiences
A compilation of place-based experiences from subnational and local practitioners. Published January 2014.
City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
City of Shimla, India
City of Toronto, Canada
District of Seferihisar, Turkey
Nord Region, Burkina Faso
Province of Azuay, Ecuador
Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Region of Basque Country, Spain
Region of Catalonia, Spain
Region of Fatick, Senegal
Region of Lower Normandy, France
Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France
Region of Rhône-Alpes, France
State of Paraná, Brazil
State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
State of São Paulo, Brazil
Habitat for Humanity International
International Housing Coalition (IHC)
Oxfam Great Britain
Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI)
Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
Experts’ Workshop – Pioneering the Discussions on a SDG
On 5th-6th December 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York, the Communitas Coalition – in collaboration with UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the Group of Member States Friends of Sustainable Cities, UN Major Groups & Stakeholders and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN-SDSN) – convened an Experts’ Workshop on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements in the SDGs. The workshop – made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation and the European Union – served to enable governments at all levels to discuss informally with grass roots movements, stakeholders, practitioners and the UN system the issue of sustainable urbanization in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The lead experts of the six Communitas thematic work groups presented their draft issues papers elaborated in collaboration with the multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee. The workshop played a key role in refining issues papers, and in turn, generating first draft targets for the SDGs.
Thematic Work Groups towards a SDG
In Autumn 2013, the Communitas Coalition set up six thematic work groups– covering a wide notion of sustainable and just cities and human settlements. Each of the six groups were administered by a core partner of the Communitas Coalition, with an expert on the relevant thematic area leading its works in close collaboration with the Communitas multi-stakeholder advisory committee. Each lead expert was tasked with producing a thematic issues paper, which contained a stock-taking exercise on the theme, highlighted lessons learnt and outlined proposals for urban targets for a stand alone Sustainable Development Goal on Cities and Human Settlements.
Integrated urban design & planning for inclusive public space and city-region connectivity & efficiency
- Lead Partner: UN-Habitat
- Lead Expert: Mr. Arun Jain, Chair, “Another Urban Future”, Board Member, International Federation of Housing and Planning (IFHP), Advisory Board, Advanced Research in Urban Systems (ARUS)
- Advisory Committee: Regional Studies Association (UK) – Mr. Gordon E. Dabinett, Board Member
Participatory democracy, poverty & inequalities reduction
- Lead Partner: nrg4SD– Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development
- Lead Expert: Ms. Andrea Costafreda, Associate Researcher & Consultant, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, Lecturer on Development Policies & Programmes, Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI)
- Advisory Committee: Habitat International Coalition (HIC) – Ms. Lorena Zárate, President; The Huairou Commission – Ms. Janice Peterson, Director; Oxfam Great Britain – Mr. Alan Brouder, Urban Adviser
Prosperity & jobs for all within planetary boundaries with a focus on youth & women
- Lead Partner: nrg4SD– Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development
- Lead Expert: Dr. Mark Roseland, Director, Centre for Sustainable Community Development, Professor, Simon Fraser University
- Advisory Committee: Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO) – Ms. Eleanor Blomstrom, Programme Director
Universal access to affordable housing, social services & public utilities: Water & sanitation, transport, energy, and waste management
- Lead Partner: ICLEI– Local Governments for Sustainability
- Lead Expert: Dr. Anjali Mahendra, Strategy Head, Research And Practice, EMBARQ India, World Resources Institute (WRI)
- Advisory Committee: EMBARQ, World Resources Institute (WRI) – Mr. Holger Dalkmann, Director; Habitat for Humanity International – Mr. Dan Petrie, Associate Director, Congressional Relations; Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP) – Mr. Michael Replogle, Managing Director for Policy & Founder; International Housing Coalition (IHC) – Mr. Bob Dubinsky, President & CEO; Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI) – Mr. Benjamin Bradlow, Deputy Manager
Linkages with rural development, including food security & ecosystem resources
- Lead Partner: ICLEI– Local Governments for Sustainability
- Lead Expert: Mr. Thomas Forster, Senior Government Affairs Advisor, School Food FOCUS, Adjunct Faculty, New School for Public Engagement, Food Studies Program, Co-Director, International Partners for Sustainable Agriculture (IPSA)
- Advisory Committee: International Fund for Agricultural Development – Mr. Zak Bleicher, Liaison Officer; Millennium Institute – Ms. Mayumi Sakoh, Policy & Partnerships Adviser; Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture & Food Security (RUAF) – Ms. Marielle Dubbeling, Director; Mr. Arthur Getz Escudero, Fmr. Director, Global Policy Change & Food Systems Advocacy, Heifer International
Resilience through risk prevention & management & environmental sustainability