Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Briefing: Will Habitat III produce an effective "new urban agenda?"

06 Apr 2016
Join us for a discussion on the likely outcomes and impacts of this year's UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III – as well as the launch of the April issue of Environment & Urbanization.

Residents of Sitio San Roque, Philippines, watch a demolition team tear down their houses during an eviction (Photo: Alamy)Residents of Sitio San Roque, Philippines, watch a demolition team tear down their houses during an eviction (Photo: Alamy)

Habitat III will be one of the first global United Nations conferences since the the 2015 meetings on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate change summit.

The stated aim of Habitat III is to agree a "new urban agenda" that will support the implementation of the SDGs in urban areas. Working groups have been drafting the agenda in preparation for formal agreement by governments at the global summit, which will convene in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

How 'new' will this agenda be? And how effective?

On Thursday, May 5, IIED is hosting a discussion meeting that will bring together four leading experts on urbanisation and development to look at at the prospects for, and potential outcomes of, Habitat III.

Join us for discussion and analysis of the key issues ahead of one of this year's most important global summits.

Outline programme:

  • What is inclusive urbanisation, why is it important, and how can it be achieved? With Gordon McGranahan, research fellow, cities, Institute of Development Studies
  • Will the New Urban Agenda actually address gender equality? With Caroline Moser, emeritus professor, University of Manchester
  • Can Habitat III produce a document that does influence government policies and practices? With David Satterthwaite, senior fellow, Human Settlements Group, IIED 
  • Latest news on the UN drafting process: With David Dodman, director, Human Settlements Group, IIED

Satterthwaite will also introduce the latest issue of the journal Environment & Urbanization, which is titled "From the MDGs to the SDGs and Habitat III".

The issue features 19 articles examinining urban processes in light of MDG analysis and proposals for the urban agenda moving forward, including implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11, "Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable". Copies of Environment & Urbanization will be available for participants to take away.

The meeting will offer opportunities for questions and discussions, and those not able to attend can also contribute questions to the speakers beforehand – email christine.ro@iied.org. The event will be followed by refreshments and time for more informal discussions. 

Event details:

Date: Thursday, 5 May, 6-7.30pm
Venue: IIED, 80–86 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1 X8NH
Contact: To register for this event, please email christine.ro@iied.org. Please include your institutional affiliation if you have one
Contribute: To submit questions to the speakers ahead of the event, email christine.ro@iied.org or tweet @IIED using the #IIEDUrban hashtag

About the speakers

Gordon McGranahanGordon McGranahan, research fellow, cities, Institute of Development Studies
Gordon McGranahan has more than three decades of experience working on urban issues. During the 1990s he led the urban environment programme at the Stockholm Environment Institute. From 2000 he worked at IIED, heading up the Human Settlements Group. His current research interests include the politics, economics and practicalities of: how urbanisation can contribute to economic productivity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability; how growing cities can accommodate their additional population more equitably; the challenges of sanitation in deprived urban settlements; the informal economy and, most recently; the dynamics of urban violence.

Caroline MoserCaroline Moser, emeritus professor, University of Manchester
Caroline Moser is an academic specialising in social policy and urban social anthropology. She is primarily known for her field-based approach to research on the informal sector generally – but particularly aspects such as poverty, violence, asset vulnerability and strategies for accumulation in the urban setting. Gender analysis is central to her approach. Moser is a non-resident research fellow at Brookings Institution, and a member of the UNCHS Huairou Commission. She serves on the editorial advisory boards of four journals in the area of development studies and urbanisation.

David SatterthwaiteDavid Satterthwaite, senior fellow, Human Settlements Group, IIED, and editor, Environment and Urbanization
David Satterthwaite is a senior fellow at IIED and visiting professor at the Development Planning Unit, University College London. He was a co-ordinating lead author of the chapter on urban adaptation in the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and he is currently working with other IPCC authors on a book on how cities can combine development and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

David DodmanDavid Dodman, director, Human Settlements Group, IIED
David Dodman is an expert on climate change vulnerability and resilience in urban centres. His current work focuses on understanding the nature of urban risks, and the way in which daily hazards, major disasters and climate change can affect low-income urban residents. He works with local organisations, international agencies and universities to build the resilience in urban communities and cities. A member of the Habitat III policy unit on urban ecology and resilience, he has expertise in urban governance for adaptation, urban livelihoods in the context of climate change and community-based environmental management. His work has a particular focus on eastern and southern Africa and Southeast Asia.


For more information about this event, or to register to attend, please contact:

Christine Ro (christine.ro@iied.org), copy/managing editor, Environment & Urbanization

Notes to editors

Habitat III is the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October 2016.

Environment & Urbanization is a widely read and highly regarded urban studies and environmental studies journal, co-published by IIED and SAGE. It has been published since 1989. There are more than 330,000 full text downloads of Environment and Urbanization yearly.

The forthcoming issue will include contributions focused on:

  • Inclusive urbanisation
  • The agenda for the Habitat III conference
  • Development of the urban SDG
  • Urban crises
  • Missing MDG targets for urban water and sanitation
  • The housing challenge, and
  • Urban health.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is a policy and action research organisation promoting sustainable development and linking local priorities to global challenges. We are based in London and work on five continents with some of the world’s most vulnerable people to strengthen their voice in the decision-making arenas that affect them.