Ecuador: Europa Nostra contributes to UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development

Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, took place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October 2016. Member States of the UN General Assembly decided that the four objectives of the Conference were to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assess accomplishments to date, address poverty, and identify new and emerging challenges. The conference resulted in a concise, forward-looking and action-oriented report: The New Urban Agenda. Europa Nostra’s Council Member Claus-Peter Echter contributed to the conference.

This Agenda, which has been adopted by the Member States of the General Assembly, promotes inclusive, resilient, safe, sustainable, participatory and compact cities. The document also addresses various aspects of urban and rural cultural heritage. The Conference saw a wide variety of participants in the form of Member State officials, relevant stakeholders, including regional and local governments, researchers, civil society organisations, youth, business, foundations, trade unions and workers, marginalised groups as well as UN organisations – such as UNESCO – and other intergovernmental organisations.

Council Member Claus-Peter Echter represented Europa Nostra at various meetings during the conference. On October 17, he spoke about the ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ project and Historic Cities at an ICOMOS side event on ‘Cultural Heritage and Creativity as a Driver for Urban Social Cohesion, Inclusion and Equity. In his address, Claus-Peter Echter highlighted the collaboration between ICOMOS and Europa Nostra. Four other panelists, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, Andrew Potts and Donovan Rykema, both from US/ICOMOS, and Angélica Arias, Executive Director of the Instituto Metropolitano de Patrimonio in Quito, also presented their views, whilst involving the audience in an open discussion. As Vice-President of Europa Nostra Deutschland, Claus-Peter Echter was also a delegate of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and gave a presentation on the ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ initiative at the German events at the Habitat III Conference on 18 October.

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