Launch of National Campaign for Cities and Human Settlements

Day Two  Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Urban Thinkers Campus India 2015


Launch of National Urban Campaign (9.30 -10.00), Jacaranda-1, India Habitat Centre

The National Campaign on Cities and Human Settlements was formally launched on Day two of the Urban Thinkers Campus, India. The sessions summary is given below.

Opening remarks by Prof. Usha Raghupathi, NIUA

Prof. Raghupathi opened the sessions by introducing the Urban Thinkers Campus as an inclusive platform that brings together many diverse voices from the city.

Ms. Christine Auclair, Project Leader, World Urban Campaign, UN-Habitat

Ms. Auclair presented the National Campaign on Cities and Human Settlements (NCCHS) as a run up towards the HABITAT III stating that the key idea of the campaign was to engage with multiple and diverse stakeholders to ensure maximum participation in the process of drafting the New Urban Agenda. She stated that the Urban Thinkers Campus India Partners- UN GCN, Cities Alliance, Bernard Van Leer Foundation, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, DFID, ADB, WIEGO, RCUK, SDC and IHC, as well as several FICCI and Chambers of Commerce from Chennai and Mumbai, have shown interest in partnering with NIUA, World Urban Campaign and UN-Habitat for the NCCHS over the course of the next year.

She explained that the NCCHS could be viewed as a global coalition of urban thinkers for the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III, with the core focus on Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goal: “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

She further states that NCCHS framework could be drafted with the engagement of the civil society, grass root organization, women groups, private enterprise, Chambers of Commerce, research and academia, national institutions and the media, through the course of ongoing Urban Thinkers Campus India (New Delhi, 2015). She stated that media engagement in the process of the NCCHS becoming a national mass-movement for sustainable urban transformation is essential.

She stated that under the broad umbrella of the NCCHS, several partner organizations and institutions can carry out their own activities leading to the Habitat III, to deliver a statement that can be shared with the rest of the world. She urged the Urban Thinkers Campus India Partner to brainstorm on a slogan for the NCCHS during the Campus and to articulate a communication format for the various activities within its ambit. She also stated the importance of Social Media engagement to reach out to diverse stakeholders in order to build a strong network of urban thinkers committed to the SDGs.

Mr. Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation

Mr. Mishra stated that these are interesting and challenging times in the light of the New Urban Agenda, as deliberations both in the country and on a global perspective are moving in the next fifteen years from the MDGs to the SDGs. He said that as we are in the process of coming out with our country report, it becomes important to have dialogues with stakeholder groups. He congratulated the NIUA for building up a large collaboration of partners, that represent different national and international groups, to associate with the NCCHS. He added that as we proceed on the path of the Campaign, we need to pick up more partners including different Chambers of Commerce. He stated that the current urban sector missions including AMRUT, PMAY, and others have been streamlined and main-streamed through a process of interaction with a large number of stakeholders into the private sector, ULBs and State governments. He said that for this Campaign, it becomes important to have a larger perspective, a bigger vision and a more comprehensive agenda, as the positive feedback generated through the Campaign will help the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Government of India to get a diverse perspective, and enable it to look at problems and processes holistically, and make corrections wherever necessary.

Mr. Mishra thanked NIUA and UN-Habitat for creating the NCCHS platform and said that the Campus, with large representatives from different groups, should aim at opening dialogue on the NCCHS and provide a roadmap and slogan for the NCCHS so that we get a clear idea of the Campaign. He stated that NCCHS shall generate positive interest that shall help different Government policies, missions and their implementation in a meaningful way.

Ms. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Assistant-Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat

Ms. Kacyira agreed with Mr. Mishra and  stated the need to define a roadmap and instil in the Campaign a sense of belonging. She stated that India is of particular significance to the world, saying that the commitment and passion of the country’s people will inevitably lead to positive change. She explained that while UN Habitat was born over common discussions on housing and urban development (Habitat I and II), these discussion remained isolated and were not contextualized within the overall framework of sustainable development. She said that with the coming of the MDGs and through the engaging discussions on the SDGs, we now have the political capital for turning the urbanization of human settlements into positive transformation. She said that political will and strong governance are needed for empowering people and urging them to make difficult choices that may be required to achieve long term sustainable development.

She said that India is unique, being the largest democracy in the world, it can be a platform to lead the discussions on transformative governance, leadership and empowered civil societies. She said that investment in people in the most powerful transformative factor. Stating that the NCCHS needs to be built upon a strong civil society, and equally strong private and local governance mechanisms, she urged the participants and the partnering organizations of the Urban Thinkers Campus India to establish dialogue platforms. She stated that priorities for development need to be based on people’s needs, stating that proactive media integration is an integral part of positive integration in the roadmap for the Campaign.

Ms. Kacyira stated that UN Habitat will support the NCCHS and share best practices, help in prioritizing the roadmap. She said that the regional and local contributions of the Campaign may influence the decisions and opinions at the Habitat III resolutions and impact communities globally.


Submitted by:

Vitasta Raina, Communication Specialist, South Asia Urban Knowledge Hub



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