Canadians at Habitat III: A Distillation of Key Messages

It has been a non-stop flurry of events at the Habitat III conference in Quito, most of them various types of sessions from small interactive seminars to large presentations from up to 12 panelists speaking to a topic.  Commissioner Jennifer Marshall provides a recap of  some key messages from the Canadian delegation.

Canadian Delegation

Each morning there is a meeting of the Canadian delegation prior to going to the site. There we have shared insights and opportunities for sessions which has been very helpful. The Canadian delegation has made us proud to be Canadian, with 113 delegate—including MPs, the Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development, the Assistant Deputy Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, and staff—all working tirelessly throughout the sessions to either present or participate. We have shown well and are punching above our weight in presence once again. We are back. The Minister’s address to the Assembly Plenary can be viewed here.


Key Messages

The time to be tender is finished.

Ana Falu, speaking at the Women’s Assembly

The focus here is on implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the necessity of action. It is clear that no matter what the topic, the following priorities and strategies are seen as integral to that path:

  1. Solutions and implementation to the NUA will be at the local level; on the part of community and local authority supported by enabling federal resources.
  2. Definition of need and vision must come from the community. Engagement for real is critical here.
  3. Necessity of multi-level governmental cooperation for policies and funding.
  4. Local authorities cannot act alone. Necessity of strategic partnerships between community, local area government, civil society, and private sector.
  5. Data—real and relevant—collected both at the local and regional level to allow targeted solutions, justification for action, and funding.
  6. Integrated collectively supported plans must include the local community and the region it depends upon for services, networks, and natural systems (water, transportation etc., ecological system of the bioregion)
  7. Diversity is a strength when it is combined with inclusion and equality. Canada has strongly advocated the inclusion of LGBTI2 and youth.
  8. Safety is a perception as well as set of statistics.
  9. Eradicating poverty must be the first step. Poverty is the most violent crime on the planet.”Adam Vaughn, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Through the sessions these concepts come alive and hit home. The overall impact for the Canadians is a new confirmation of a social contract summed up in the concept of leave no one behind.

We are looking forward to a wrap up session with the Canadian delegation at the end of the forum to distill our findings and messages. We will be preparing a more in-depth briefing based on including thoughts of others as well.

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