Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC


Implement the New Urban Agenda and 

Release IGMC Standards 3.0

-The 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements was Successfully Held during the Habitat III

Quito, Ecuador

17-18 OCTOBER 2016

The Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development grandly held in Quito.
On the morning of October 17, 2016, the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development was grandly opened at Ecuador Cultural Palace in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito City, which was attended by a total of about 36,000 participants, including political and government representatives from all over the world, the officers from the United Nations system and relevant international organizations as well as local governments, civil society, academia, business circles and other stakeholders and representatives from all walks of life. All the representatives present at the 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements also attended the opening ceremony.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that cities and towns have an immense role to play in ending poverty and building inclusive societies that promote participation by all,” said Ban Ki-moon. The call for a strong, shared ownership of the New Urban Agenda, seen as “an ambitious and important framework” by Ban Ki-moon, is a further invitation to build new partnerships among different levels of governance to promote urban sustainable development in a concrete way. “It is clear that transforming our world for the better means transforming our towns and cities,” said Ban Ki-moon in the Opening Session, “that means better urban governance, planning and design. It also means more investment in adequate and affordable housing, quality infrastructure and basic services. And it means engaging women and girls in making towns and cities safer and more productive for all.”

Habitat III conference will continue until 20th of October, focusing on the six major topics of social integration and equity, urban governance, space development, urban economy, urban ecology and environment, urban housing and basic services. The mission of the conference is to revitalize the commitment to sustainable urbanization and to establish through the "New Urban Agenda" the development goals and direction of the world’s cities for the next 20 years.

The outcome document of Habitat III, New Urban Agenda, sets out our shared vision for cities, referring to the equal use and enjoyment of cities and human settlements, seeking to promote inclusivity and ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements, to foster prosperity and quality of life for all. New Urban Agenda readdresses the way we plan, finance, develop, govern, and manage cities and human settlements, recognizing sustainable urban and territorial development as essential to the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for all, and as a historic opportunity to leverage the key role of cities and human settlements as drivers of sustainable development in an increasingly urbanized world. The document also sets out the concrete transformational commitments and effective measures for sustainable urban development, aimed to achieve sustainable urban development with inclusiveness, harmony, and elimination of poverty through the creation of innovative framework for urban governance, effective planning, and management of urban spatial development, and promote the sustainability of environment and the resilience of urban development, so that everyone can share the prosperity and opportunities of urban development.

The Habitat III conference is another milestone in the global transition to sustainable development. The Habitat Assembly is the only United Nations conference devoted exclusively to the issues of human settlements, which is held every 20 years.
The Opening of 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements 
The 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements was successfully held during the Habitat III.
As an important parallel event of Habitat III, the 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements was successfully held in Quito on October 17-18. This Forum is jointly organized by the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Urban Campaign (WUC) and Universal Peace Federation (UPF). The conference was attended by more than 400 representatives, including the leaders from Ecuador and relevant countries, senior officials of the United Nations, the mayors of multinational cities, diplomatic envoys, leading enterprise leaders, experts and scholars, heads of international organizations and representatives of women and children.

The important guests attending the Forum include: Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of United Nations ESCAP; Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative; H.E. Rosalia Arteaga Serrano, Former President of Ecuador; Hon. Mr. Fernando Alvarado, Minister of Tourism, Ecuador; Mr. Elkin Velázquez, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, UN-Habitat; Mr. Arab Hoballah, Chief, Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry Branch, UNEP; Dr. Taj Hamad, Vice Chairman of Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS); Mr. Lu Haifeng, Secretary General of Global Forum on Human Settlements; H.E. Mr. Philbert Johnson, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations; Mr. Nicholas You, Honorary Chair, World Urban Campaign; Ms. Christine Auclair, Project leader, World Urban Campaign; mayors or representatives of Vienna, Auckland, Cuenca, Mexico and other famous cities, well-known experts, famous entrepreneurs, leaders of international organizations, and representatives of teachers and students of University of Ecuador.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Chairman of GFHS, Former UN Under-Secretary-General and High Representative, mentioned in his opening speech that "I extend a very warm welcome to all the participants who have joined us from various part of the globe at the Eleventh Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS XI), now taking place on the margins of the bi-decennial United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, the beautiful capital city of Ecuador. I am honored to announce here that bearing in mind the expected outcome of Habitat III on New Urban Agenda, the mission of GFHS has now been tailored as 'Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All'."

Then, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of United Nations ESCAP emphasized in her speech that “currently, the growth of cities is far greater than the population increase. In Asia-Pacific, many cities are facing grave challenges of urban sprawl that is preventing people from enjoying the benefits of urbanization. The adoption of the New Urban Agenda will provide city leaders the policies, strategies and tools to manage and govern our cities, and thus create more new opportunities for our cities.” Dr. Akhtar also shared her perspectives on China’s urbanization and indicated that China is doing great in city connectivity which provides examples and references for other cities.

After this, Hon. Mr. Fernando Alvarado, Minister of Tourism, Ecuador noted that we are grateful to China for their support and investment in Ecuador where we have abundant tourism resources. First, Ecuador is at the center of the World, second, a majority part of the land is located at Amazon area, and third we have unique Galapagos Islands. Especially after this year’s earthquake, Ecuadorian government is taking full advantage of the post-quake reconstruction, and striving to develop infrastructure and sustainable tourism, which will bring great opportunities and bright future.

H.E. Rosalia Arteaga Serrano, Former President of Ecuador: I invite you to think about the concept of GLOCAL, a lexicographical neologism, which includes a new concept of life that has much to do with the theme of this particular meeting, “Compact sustainable city offers a better life.” We are GLOCAL citizens, defined like this because we are those who make use of the latest technologies, we communicate with the high speed of the most sophisticated elements that every day are renewed, which presents us with new challenges and learning. We feel that the planet is our big home, that we must take care of and protect, if we want to continue living as a human race, as a species.

The annual conference of the Forum aims to promote the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda at local and city level; provide a platform for information exchange for the global stakeholders on how to respond to the challenges of unsustainable cities, rapid urbanization and climate change, which focuses on the specific urgent urban challenges existing in Latin America and other regions, and advances sustainable urban development around the globe; highlight innovative and alternative approaches, policies and actions on compact sustainable city, and identify good practices in this regard; and contribute to promoting bilateral and multilateral exchanges and cooperation of economy and technology among cities and entities in Ecuador and other countries, particularly China, in terms of sustainable cities and responses to climate change.

In conjunction with the New Urban Agenda, centering on the theme of "Compact Sustainable Cities Offers a Better Life", this annual conference discussed in depth the following topics through high-level dialogues and technical sessions: Compact, Integrated and Connected Sustainable Cities, Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Tourism, Low Carbon Cities and New Energy Development, World Urban Movement Driving Urban Innovation, Women and Children in the Rapidly Urbanizing World. The guests delivered a series of innovative lectures and speeches, shared a number of best practices, reached consensus, bolstered cooperation and innovation, and contributed wise ideas and thoughts to the future development of compact and sustainable cities.
The Closed Consultation
The Release of IGMC Standards 3.0

International Green Model New City (IGMC) Standards 3.0 (hereinafter referred to as the "IGMC Standards 3.0"), the outcome document of this annual forum was released at the conference. Mr. Serge Salat, Leader of the Expert Group of IGMC Standards 3.0 and President of Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris, France, shared the framework and characteristics of this new version. The GFHS leaders and representatives from UNEP and local governments attended the launch ceremony. IGMC 3.0 is an advanced standard to guide and assess sustainable urban development, and is in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (in particular, Goal 11) and the New Urban Agenda, which provides technical means and evaluation methods for the specific implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the New Urban Agenda at the regional and municipal levels.

The vision of the IGMC 3.0 is structured around 6 Key principles: Safety, Sustainability, Equity, Identity, Prosperity, and Happiness. These principles are put into action through 18 structural categories spanning across 6 dimensions including environment, spatial planning and development, economy, basic services, society, and culture, which are elaborated in depth through their respective definitions and aims, key methodologies, key indicators, rating system and best practices. The IGMC Standards 3.0 is supported by the United Nations Environment Program and mutually supports and complements UN-Habitat's Urban Prosperity Initiative (CPI), the UNEP's Resource-Saving Cities Initiative and the World Bank's Global Platform of Sustainable Cities (GPSC) and other initiatives. IGMC Standards 3.0 not only guides the planning and design of urban development projects and renewal projects but also assesses the sustainability of the existing cities and towns so as to facilitate mutual comparison and study among cities.

The presentation ceremony of 2016 Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Awards (SCAHSA Awards) was held on the evening of 18th October, becoming a highlight of this forum. After the layers of selection and intense competition, a total of 25 winners in the 6 categories were selected and granted the awards, including the world-renowned livable city of Vienna in Austria, well-known holiday resort and pensioner retreat Cuenca, Ecuador, the Galapagos National Park having the reputation of "living museum of biological evolution", Chun'an County, Zhejiang Province, Haikou Mission Hills Resort, Changsha Meixi Lake International New City Country Garden Forest City, and other outstanding examples. Such winners make the best integration of the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.

The SCAHSA Awards is a worldwide prize annually awarded by GFHS, aimed to promote the sustainable development philosophy of the United Nations and the mission of GFHS, promote 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the implementation of SDG 11 and the New Urban Agenda, inspire the winners, and summarize and promote their outstanding progress and valuable experience they have gained in moving towards the greener and more sustainable goals. SCAHSA means the flying wind in Chinese language, implying that the wind of the green flying around the world. With the strong support and guidance by the United Nations Environment Program and other United Nations agencies, SCAHSA Awards has been successfully held for eleven sessions, which provides a high-level interactive platform for international peers to share and disseminate the best examples, knowledge and experience, and has produced remarkable demonstration effects.

The 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements came to an end with applauses from the distinguished guests. An end often means a new beginning. The adoption of the New Urban Agenda provides a new blueprint for the prospects of sustainable human settlements and urban development while the release of the IGMC Standards 3.0 provides the concrete working methods and assessment standards for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The Global Forum on Human Settlements will continue to play the role of being a dialogue platform for sustainable urbanization, and under the guidance of the relevant United Nations agencies, strengthen the cooperation with relevant national governments, especially their local governments, and joint the efforts of all sectors of society to create sustainable cities and human settlements for all.

Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC. GFHS is committed to sustainable cities and human settlements for all, and build a world platform for dialogue on sustainable cities and human settlements. GFHS has successfully conducted the cooperation in various areas with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and so on. The annual conference of Global Forum on Human Settlements has been successfully held in China, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Colombia and Ecuador for 11 consecutive years. More than 12,500 representatives from all sectors of society have attended the Forums, which provides a high-level of dialogue platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, business circles, academia and so on, and contributes a lot to the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the Habitat Agenda, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.

Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS)
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