One of the conferences I engaged in in the 1990s and have fond memories of is the 1996 Habitat II Conference, which adopted the Habitat Agenda. I remember it in part because it achieved the most progressive stakeholder engagement in a UN Conference ever. I also have very fond memories of it because I made a lifelong friend in the Chair of the Conference Pakistan Ambassador Shafqat Kakakhel who went on to be Deputy Executive Director of UNEP. In Habitat II I was the coordinator of the NGO negotiating team working under the International Facilitating Committee (IFC) a Major Group platform that managed their engagement in the conference.
April saw the second preparatory meeting for Habitat III held in Nairobi. I had the pleasure of organizing and running a workshop on How to Lobby with Nicholas You both of us had been active at Habitat II..The Habitat III Conference is a critical one for all stakeholders interested in making the SDGs have impact. By focusing on a geographical area it will help to engage all stakeholders to help deliver the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda – which by the way should be built on the SDGs.
Local and Regional Governments, civil society and the private sector will play a critical role in facilitating the implementation of both and one of the key outcomes that we need out of Habitat III is a new partnership agenda worthy of the 21st century.