SDI at Habitat III: Highlights from Quito

by James Tayler

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45+ SDI delegates

14 affiliates from Africa, Asia, and Latin America

80+ speaking engagements

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Some highlights from SDI’s eventful week at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador:
Click here for the full report. 

  • Rose Molokoane, a national community leader from South Africa, SDI Coordinator and founding member of the SDI Network, was elected Chairperson of the World Urban Campaign.
  • Adorned with SDI’s new branding, SDI’s booth at the HIII Exhibition center was a lively space for discussion, and 360° slum experience. It served as a central point for discussions between federation leaders, partners, and key urban decision stakeholders.
  • SDI chaired a breakout session at the Women’s Assembly, producing a set of concrete commitments and requests from Member States towards effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
  • The SDI Board of Governors (BOG) met during the week in Quito, chaired by Minister of Human Settlements for South Africa, Lindiwe Sisulu. The meeting highlighted some of SDI’s achievements over the past year and teased out strategies for enhancing BOG support to SDI efforts to implement the NUA and SDGs.
  • In plenary meetings of the General Assembly of Partners (GAP), SDI urged members to support local stakeholder implementation and monitoring of the NUA – particularly urban poor communities in partnership with local authorities.
  • SDI launched the second phase of its expanded Know Your City campaign in partnership with Cities Alliance and UCLG-Africa. This coincided with the launch of SDI’s new KYC website, showcasing slum dweller surveys, stories, and films. This was followed by a Know Your City networking event where a detailed panel discussion took place on the KYC Campaign, including moving testimonies from slum dwellers from Ghana, Liberia, and Zambia about their work to profile and map all the settlements in their cities.
  • SDI, Cities Alliance, and GIZ screened the Ghana case study from CoLab for Change – a project of the Cities Alliance Joint Work Program for Habitat III. Two federation members and one government official featured in the film made presentations explaining the collaborative partnerships that have enabled their success and the process of training youth to document their stories as part of Know Your City TV.
  • Since 2007, SDI and Y-Care International (YCI) have worked together to support the growth of urban poor federations in Liberia, Togo, and Sierra Leone. On Monday 17th October, SDI and YCI launched a new MOU to scale up and deepen the collaboration region-wide.
  • Unlike many events that have gone before, grassroots leaders were given the opportunity to speak at plenary sessions in Quito. This achievement was made possible through SDI’s work over the past 20 years and its active participation in the GAP and WUC. Rose Molokoane used this platform to push forward the commitments of the grassroots constituency and call upon member states to uphold their commitments to partner with organized communities in implementation of the NUA and SDGs. She urged members that “the time for talking is over. It’s time toimplement!”
  • The SDI team was presented with many requests to expand the network into Latin America. With a strong team from Bolivia and Brazil taking the lead, SDI will follow up on all the many requests from Latin American countries.
  • Just prior to Habitat III, the Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode ordered an immediate eviction notice to all Lagos waterfront communities. Each and every federation member in Quito took copies of the Federation’s withdrawal demands to their events and raised the issue whenever the opportunity arose. High level meetings were arranged with various government officials from inside and outside Nigeria to build pressure on the Governor to withdraw his eviction notice, but also to highlight viable examples of alternatives to eviction within the SDI network and the desire of the network to support Nigeria to undertake inclusive upgrading inline with NUA commitments. Sani Mohammed, a federation member from Lagos, worked tirelessly to secure meetings with relevant authorities and donor partners. He was able to get an audience with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the ED of UN Habitat, ensuring the message reached the highest platforms.
  • Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and SDI launched a new film, ‘No One Left Behind’ in which slum dwellers call into question the effectiveness of militaristic responses to urban violence.

“Community monitoring of the NUA at the local level will be essential for transparent assessment of progress and ownership of the NUA” – Rose Molokoane