Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Cohesion policy

Urban Agenda - 19.09.2016

Habitat III opens its door to towns and regions
The final draft of the new Urban Agenda finally opens its door to local and regional governments. The document released on 13 September constitutes an important recognition of the key role towns and regions have played and will keep playing towards sustainable urban development. The final draft shows:
  • A clear commitment empower towns and regions through decentralisation reforms in line with the subsidiarity principle, and to improve their involvement in decision-making processes;
  • A commitment to territorial cohesion: territorial cohesion is an important part of the European acquis, and so it should be included in the EU’s key messages at the Quito conference
  • Recognition of the importance of the equality of women and men. European towns and regions are already active on this front with over 1,600 signatories of the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life.

This final draft, to be adopted at the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October, is the result of months of intense negotiations. It is both in line with CEMR and PLATFORMA's position and the Global Task Force (GTF) for Local and Regional Governments’ key recommendations – however, we believe local and regional governments should be represented in all member states’ delegations in Quito, as they are with the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, for instance.

The local and regional governments’ constituency, represented through the GTF, has been an active participant throughout the entire process and has crucially influenced its outcome.

It is now time for towns and regions to offer ways to translate the new Urban Agenda into concrete actions and to ensure national governments remain committed to its principles. CEMR and PLATFORMA stand ready to discuss with the GTF, EU institutions and UN-Habitat on how to best localise the new Urban Agenda in Europe and beyond.

Next steps:
  • Implementation of the new Urban Agenda
  • Monitoring its progress

In Quito, CEMR, PLATFORMA and the Global Task Force will keep on ensuring towns and regions’ voice is heard and taken into account. We will be there at a side event on 18 October from 8 to 9 am (local time).

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