Polis participated in the UN HABITAT III conference

The HABITAT Conferences of the UN are organised once every 20 years to discuss about urban developments, identify and address new and emerging challenges, assess accomplishments to date and set goals related to urbanisation worldwide. At a time when urbanisation is stronger than ever, the biggest objective of the HABITAT III Conference that took place on 17-20 October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador was to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development. The New Urban Agenda drafted by political leaders and stakeholders was endorsed during the conference. The document covers priorities for city development for the next 20 years.

Polis, represented by Florinda Boschetti, attended and presented in several of the side events.

In a session on "Boosting sustainable mobility" at the German Pavilion on the Tuesday October 18th, Polis presented the CIVITAS Initiative as one of Europe's flagship projects supporting city-to-city cooperation in sustainable mobility. The session moderated by Ruud Schuthof, ICLEI Deputy Regional Director, focused on the main opportunities that can be pursued by sustainable mobility measures; what the existing financial, political, institutional barriers are, and in which ways these can be overcome to deliver on the New Urban Agenda.

On the Wednesday October 19th, Polis participated in the parallel session "Boosting Urban Climate Action". This event was part of a joint initiative of the SOLUTIONS and SUSTAIN EU-ASEAN networks, and aimed to showcase international activities in the areas of sustainable urban development, energy, mobility and climate change mitigation. The event was opened by Jean-François Gagné, Head of the Energy Technology Policy Division of the International Energy Agency, who presented trends and drivers in urban development and insights from the energy and transport sectors. Other speakers talked about supporting local implementation action and highlights from recent initiatives: Oliver Lah (Wuppertal Institute), Sabine Drees (Deutscher Städtetag) on Connective Cities,  Florinda Boschetti (Polis) on Urban Development and Mobility in Europe, Ashish Rao-Ghorpade (ICLEI) on Urban Development in South Asia,  Xiaomei Tan (Global Environment Facility) on Integrated Approach Pilot - Sustainable Cities, and Tanya Gaurano (Clean Air Asia) on the Cities Clean Air Partnership.

Lastly, during the Slocat Transport Day Quito on the Thursday 20th, Polis contributed to the afternoon's pecha kutcha session and gave a brief presentation on urban transport, health and physical activity by introducing to the audience the health economic assessment tool (HEAT), an oline tool to appraise the economic benefits of more walking and cycling that can help decision makers and practitioner make a case for investment in active travel.

The success of Habitat III will be evaluated in two years, when nations conclude the two-year process in which they will decide on ways to monitor and evaluate progress on the New Urban Agenda and the sustainable urban development pledges.