United Nations Holds Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)
From Oct. 17 to 20, 2016, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) was held in Quito, the Capital of Ecuador. As many as 36 thousand people including heads of different countries, high-level government delegation groups from over 140 countries, and representatives from different fields attended the Habitat III and carried out discussions on challenges for global rapid urbanization and related resolutions. Chen Zhenggao, Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speech as the special representative of Chinese Government, and Shi Nan, Secretary-General of Urban Planning Society of China (UPSC), and other representatives from China also attended the conference and shared their experiences.
Habitat III provided rich content: besides plenary meetings, high-level roundtables, and stakeholders round-tables, the official activities also include dialogues and special forums – the dialogues are for corresponding policy units during the drawing of the New Urban Agenda; and the forums are for the special research groups at the initial stage of the New Urban Agenda. Other related activities included cultural events, exhibitions, networking events, UN events, parallel events, training, an urban journalism academy, urban library, urban stage, urban talks, village projects, etc.
Habitat III reviewed and approved the New Urban Agenda, which is regarded as a milestone document. It is not only an important political commitment made by the United Nations and its member countries as a response to the global rapid urbanization and challenges like climate changing, but also an achievement of the common efforts made by the partners of the UN and the important institutions in the world. According to the introduction of Shi Nan, the UPSC has actively participated in the drafting and negotiation of the document since the very beginning. Six experts including Shi Nan, Mao Qizhi, He Yong, Wu Zhiqiang, Liu Hongyu, and Hu Dongsheng, who were recommended by the UPSC, participated in the works of six policy units. And the UPSC and the Planning Society of Italy headed the 6th policy unit on spatial planning. The achievements of these policy units were used as the basic materials for the New Urban Agenda and formed the initial text of the Agenda, which, after many rounds of negotiations within the UN and between different members and related partners, constituted the final text that was approved on Habitat III. Chinese experts including Shi Nan and Mao Qizhi participated in related negotiations.