Over the past several weeks, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has hosted several meetings involving global experts in urban development at the New York Secretariat, both on the road to Habitat III and how to operationalise Goal 11 of the SDGs.

Habitat III

On the 15th of May, various governmental agencies, private foundations and non-profits (as members of the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme) came together to discuss the zero-draft of the New Urban Agenda that is to be agreed upon at the Habitat III conference in Quito in October 2016. An independent expert analysis was presented and discussed by the JWP members wherein agreements were reached on JWP’s recommendations for changes to the zero-draft. SDSN made particular inputs on a future science-policy interface for urban development, on the alignment of the Habitat III agenda with the SDG follow-up and review process, and on municipal financing. Subsequently, members of the JWP devised a work plan for the coming months that ranged from recommendations to improve the zero-draft, to developing better systems of coordination and information between JWP members, to preparing new inputs on the Monitoring and Review of the new urban agenda.

Monitoring SDG Goal 11

SDSN and UN Habitat co-hosted an Experts Group Meeting on the 19th and 20th of May to build consensus on the monitoring mechanisms and methodologies for Sustainable Development Goal 11 targets, with particular focus on target 11.3.1 – rate of land consumption in proportion to the rate of population growth. Expert panel comprised various international agencies like the World Bank, European Union, and UN Habitat, along with representatives from major think tanks, private sector geo-spatial companies, non-profits and academia. Experts discussed various technologies of monitoring urban development globally, shared their concerns and the opportunities associated with different methodologies, and built agreements on a way forward. Further discussions will be facilitated by UN Habitat in the coming weeks to finalize the set of recommendations to the Inter-Agency and Expert Group leading the SDG indicator process.