Today, a movement of concerned partners engaged in the Habitat III preparations issued a public challenge to the organizers of the global process, calling on them to rethink the omissions and design flaws that narrow the Habitat III public debate and presuppose its outcomes. From the beginning of the deliberative and reporting processes in 2013, the Habitat III Secretariat, UN-Habitat leadership and decision makers have been criticized for reducing the long-standing Habitat Agenda to a partial and exclusive “urban agenda,” while dismissing--not reviewing--the standing commitments made 20 years ago.
Other problems with the substance of the Habitat Debate arise from neglecting vital issues in the formal inputs. These omissions are now evident in the Policy Papers and Policy Unit Frameworks. Missing are a review of the normative development of the human right to adequate housing, consideration of population policies and their link to the housing crisis and urbanization.
Consideration of the consequences of war and occupation on housing and human habitat is indispensable, for instance. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda has identified such a priority, but left the field wide open without offering a corresponding remedial goal, target or indicator.
In their open letter, “Habitat for People - Not for Profit!” focuses on the glaring need for a critical review of the macroeconomic context and its effect on housing, land and human settlement development. That need persists despite the combined 20-year-long Habitat II pledge to maintain just macroeconomic policies aligned with Habitat II commitments, and to assess progress.
The authors of the open letter, a group of NGOs and academics, call on Habitat III organizers to uphold the integrity of the Habitat Agenda by permitting a thoughtful analysis of intervening lessons learned from the financialization of housing and land, making social regulation of real estate markets an issue in the new Habitat Agenda this year.
Download the open letter.
HIComments on Habitat III Policy Paper Frameworks
Graphic: Adapted from “Frenzied Financialization,” by Matt Wuerker.
 Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/RES/70/1, 21 October 2015, para. 34.
 Habitat II (1996), paras. 40(a), 62, 65, 67(b) 115, 186(d), 189(b) and 201(b).
 Habitat II (1996), paras. 8, 51-52, 91f, 215, 221, 222, 233, 228m, 238d.