Hellloooo my friends. It is a momentous time! So much is evolving nationally and internationally. There is a series of undertakings including national governments reorganizing, regional and meetings and global development goals being detailed into actionable plans. One such is the Habitat III Regional Meeting on Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) currently underway in Toluca, Mexico. I was schedule to attend but was however detained here by a pressing work matter. Notwithstanding I have engaged in an online platform for urban dialogue. Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October 2016. According to Dr, Joan Clos the Secretary General -UN Habitat, ‘the Conference is a unique opportunity for rethinking the Urban Agenda in which governments can respond by promoting a new model of urban development able to integrate all facets of sustainable development to promote equity, welfare and shared prosperity.’
Great opportunities for practical action and ‘realistic ‘ dialogue abound! However forged partnerships is a crucial and decisive factor for successful implementation.
Question 1: What are the most pressing challenges and opportunities in achieving sustainable urban development in Latin America and the Caribbean? What are some good practices?
The views I succinctly outline is an extension of a previous blog post I wrote about the Caribbean and Latin America being an odd couple. Https://hilaryfsmithblog.wordpress.com/?p=19&preview=true.
Subsequently my urban dialogue input read.
The Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region is an odd couple, if ever there was one. This non-contiguous region (in particular the Caribbean small island developing states) consist of 33 countries. Languages differences across the region is a notable distinction. The official language of the citizens of most of the countries in the Caribbean is British English whilst Spanish is the primary language in the Latin American countries of the region. Within the education systems second languages are offrerd in the curriculum however for many English speaking Caribbean nationals proficiency in a second language is limited. However, it is significant that there is free movement across the countries in the region with the removal of visa restrictions which minimize other impediments. As urbanization is fuelled by migration the impediment and / or access across the region and within cities in individual countires is a critical factor. This is critical to the sustainable urban development in the LAC. Subsequently, I posit that in the LAC the most pressing opportunities in achieving sustainable urban development would be in the forging of partnerships, the involvement of the youth and the utilization of technology. Conversely, some of the most pressing challenges in achieving sustainable urban development would include gender equity, informality of human settlements, environmental vulnerability and continued efforts for poverty alleviation.
The Citiscope magazine utilized words and thoughts forthcoming from the overall urban dialogue to prepare and present a great extension to the threads in the Urban Dialogue entitled- ‘Habitat III host region takes stock of its urbanization process — warts and all.’