Written by Ying Gao, edited by Jasdeep Randhawa
Habitat III PrepCom3 in Surabaya Takes One Step Closer to Next 20 Years
Last week, in Surabaya, a city in the East Java province of Indonesia, which is famous for its green and inclusive urban planning, witnessed many activities as it hosted PrepCom3, the last Preparatory Committee before the Habitat III Conference to be held in Quito in October. About 4,200 delegates from 142 countries participated in PrepCom 3. As always, youth and children were active, both inside and outside of the United Nations conference process (we suggest you to check out twitter #H3Youth to get a sense of the experience).
So what happened at PrepCom3 in Surabaya and what were the outcomes from the perspective of youth that emerged from the conference?
PrepCom3 was the last big major push towards the the road to Habitat III. Negotiations by national governments were in full swing to finalize the text of the New Urban Agenda. At this 11th hour, diplomats, civil society members, local government advocates and major groups were all seen running in the conference room and hallways, voicing their critical input (as this blog is being written, however, we heard that delegates fell short of agreeing and they will push for it again in New York in late August/early September).
However, there was no hiding the fact that everyone’s focus was already shifting to beyond the New Urban Agenda, during PrepCom3. Of course, what lies “beyond” Habitat III is 20 years of making sure that the Agenda becomes a reality in the cities all over the world. In this context, one of the most exciting highlights from Surabaya was a vision of youth as an essential partner for the New Urban Agenda’s implementation, monitoring and its evaluation. Youth actions and messages from Surabaya made this point impossible to miss. In our view, we witnessed a positive and powerful turning point for #H3youth at PrepCom3.