How you can get involved with Habitat III

By Ana Marie Argilagos & Amy Kenyon, Ford Foundation
Habitat III is a major UN conference dealing with urbanization and human settlements that happens only once every 20 years (the last one was in Istanbul in 1996). H3 will happen in Quito, Ecuador this October. It will be UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s last conference before the end of his term and 30,000 people are expected to attend. The New Urban Agenda that will be adopted in Quito is significant because it will function as a global framework to deal with the realities of rapid global urbanization–we would argue one of the defining global megatrends of our time. The conference will be the first major UN conference to take place after the SDGs and COP21 Paris Climate agreement were ratified. It is significant because currently cities are developing in ways that lock in and reinforce inequality and poor environmental outcomes (in the US cities account for 70% of GHGs). The New Urban Agenda presents an opportunity seized (or missed) for the future of our planet.
We want to make sure you have the information you need to participate in the lead up to the conference (and beyond!). Our priorities are to make sure that YOU have input in the drafting process for the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda, which is scheduled to be released on May 6.
How you can get involved:

  • Participate in the monthly civil society working group hosted by the Huairou Commission - you can participate by phone. It serves as a good place to get live updates on the process. To subscribe, email:
  • Sign up for the Habitat III Secretariat newsletter here.
  • You can also join one of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) constituent groups. The GAP supports stakeholder engagement to the conference via 15 Partner Constituent Groups (PCG) with United Nations' major groups and includes philanthropy. Go here for more information.
  • Apply for the Habitat Village and/or Side Events in Quito – the call is now open! Take a look at the websites linked above if you are interested in submitting an idea. Deadline is 30 May.
  • Open-ended informal consultative meetings are taking place April 25-29 in New York. These meetings are open to all ECOSOC accredited organizations, members of the GAP and Major Groups. These meetings will be webcast live AND there will be an online dialogue so you can participate! You can find the agenda, here, the online dialogue here,and the webcast here.
  • Civil Society Informal Hearings New York, June 6-7: Stakeholders are invited to participate and provide feedback during 2 days of informal hearings. Ford Foundation will host thematic breakfast discussions during that week. Stay tuned to learn about topics to be addressed. These events will be video-conferenced with opportunity for global participation.
  • July 25-27: Attend the Third Habitat III Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom3) Surabaya, Indonesia. Apply for Special Accreditation so that you can attend here. Deadline is May 2nd.

For more information on the background of Habitat III, the New Urban Agenda, and the process, we encourage you to a look at Citiscope’s very extensive coverage of the process.
For the official Habitat III calendar see here.
We know this is A LOT of information to send all at once, but things are starting to happen at a rapid pace as we move closer to the conference, and we wanted to give you the full picture of where we are headed!