Details announced for Habitat III ‘PrepCom 2’, in Nairobi


The second of three formal preparatory meetings for the Habitat III process will take place in Nairobi in mid-April, and new details have just been published on what looks set to be a major gathering of urbanists and development experts from around the world.

Indeed, April in Nairobi will be a hectic and productive month for the global urban movement. While the formal Habitat III preparations — known as PrepCom 2 — will take place over three days, 14-16 April, those discussions will be bookended by a special meeting of the World Urban Campaign as well as the 25th session of the UN-Habitat Governing Council.

For those heading to Nairobi or planning to follow the events online, the PrepCom 2 organizers have now made available a quick programme of all formal events. Perhaps most important, they’ve also put together a full 26-page handbook, offering practical information on travel, schedules, maps and more.

Among other things, the preparatory committee will be creating a work plan to run through the October 2016 conference. It will also offer a provisional draft agenda and recommend potential “elements” of the conference’s outcome documents.

Of particular use for those interested in the scope of the PrepCom 2 discussions is a list of broad questions put together by the Habitat III Secretariat aimed at guiding the sessions in Nairobi. Questions try to tease out varying visions of the New Urban Agenda, the intended outcome document from the Habitat III conference in 2016, while also including significant focus on implementation of whatever the agenda’s details end up being. The role of local authorities also looks set to receive some seriuos study, with one of the Secretariat’s questions asking: “Can regional and local governments accelerate and promote implementation of national strategies?”

The first PrepCom for the Habitat III process took place last fall in New York. Yet that event, concerned mostly with technical matters and issues of process, garnered relatively little attention. But according to the new line-up from the Habitat III Secretariat, interest appears to have picked up significantly, and the Nairobi event will see strong participation by a broad range of stakeholders.

Over the three days in Nairobi, nearly 40 panel discussions and other side events will take place, organized by governments, civil society and U. N. agencies. (Citiscope will be hosting one of these sessions, on 16 April, looking at how to drum up media attention for Habitat III.)

Finally, for those looking forward to jumping into perhaps the most substantive part of the Habitat III process — at least at this point — the Secretariat has also made available an overview of the nearly two-dozen “issue papers” currently being worked on by various U. N. and other multilateral agencies.

Eventually, these papers will provide weighty input from most of the world’s leading development institutions, as the Habitat III negotiations develop the framework of the New Urban Agenda. And as each of these documents comes out, be sure to watch for related analysis here at Citiscope, as we continue to ramp up our comprehensive Habitat III coverage.

For this month’s PrepCom 2 talks and related events, we’ve put together a resource page of important documents, backgrounding materials and practical information, meant both for those in Nairobi and those participating from afar. We’ll also have three members of our team in Nairobi — reporting, attending discussions and getting a sense of where all stakeholders in the Habitat III process are today. So please check back often during the coming days for regular updates and analysis, as this process starts to pick up real momentum.

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