QUITO – The United Nations has announced from the Ecuadorian capital the New Urban Agenda, a document which outlines the principles over the next 20 years for making cities safer, inclusive, sustainable and resilient places to live, emphasizing social equity and the environment.
The agenda was adopted at the end of the four-day Habitat III Conference, held in Quito with the participation of over 35,000 people – including government delegations, academics, experts and civil society organizations – from 167 nations around the world, making it a “great success,” according to the Ecuadorian President.
At the closing speech for the conference, President Rafael Correa noted that the conference had the largest number of attendance in the history of the UN, and its resulting Quito resolution sets the development agenda for the next two decades.
“Change has been born in the world’s heart,” he said, speaking in the conference room of the Ecuadorian House of Culture, where hundreds of debates, forums, urban presentations and other activities have been held over the years.
The 175-paragrah New Urban Agenda was initially agreed upon in September after two years of negotiations and global debate and was formally adopted at Habitat III.
Correa finally said Habitat III is a milestone “to restore our hope for a better world” and stressed that it is the first time the urban development agenda has been agreed upon in a country in the Southern Hemisphere.
According to the UN, the New Urban Agenda promotes urban densification rather than extending the perimeter of the city, mixed land use zoning fronts, preserving the landscape and natural resources and the creating public spaces for everyone.
But the summit has faced criticism from civil society, including protesters called the Habitat III “Resistance,” who gathered near the UN building for days this week in a peaceful protest calling to end urban privilege and create dignity and security for all.
The Resistance group, which defends alternative living that is not necessarily urban, today also adopted its own declaration to make visible the displacement of populations due to the mining industry, the group’s spokesman Lina Magalhaes told EFE.