This week, Habitat III, the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development is taking place in Quito, Ecuador, to establish a sustainable Urban Agenda for cities as we work towards achieving the Global Goals.
Growing urbanization around the world comes with major challenges, among them how to build and transform cities into sustainable, safe, effective and resilient living places. Volunteerism allows communities affected by urban policies and practices to participate in the planning and implementation of urban projects, and volunteers can play a key role in bringing together local authorities and community actors.
In this context, during a side event organized by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme at Habitat III, a panel of experts in urban planning and volunteerism has discussed the idea of localizing the New Urban Agenda while promoting local capacity through volunteerism in intermediate cities. Volunteerism can contribute to local governance and the implementation of the New Urban Agenda with an inclusive and sustainable participatory focus.
The organization of Habitat III has been supported by over 700 volunteers trained by UN Volunteers through a youth volunteering programme by UNV and the Habitat III Secretariat. The programme goes beyond logistical support and includes the involvement of young people in the socialization of the New Urban Agenda.
This initiative stems from UNV’s previous experience organizing large United Nations events in Peru – the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2014, and the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in 2015.
For Habitat III, UNV has trained young people from different regions of Ecuador and other countries in the region on the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda and the impact of volunteerism.