Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
The Road Towards Habitat 3 - Durban Urban Breakfast
Key Learning Points: H3 Urban Breakfast 
 
eThekwini Municipality joined 50 other cities on the planet that participated in a series of Urban Breakfasts to raise awareness of the New Urban Agenda before the Habitat 3 meeting in Quito in mid-October. This was indeed a historic moment as provincial and city political leadership joined civil society stakeholders as they deliberated on pertinent themes related to Habitat 3.
 
Mayor Cllr. Zandile Gumede in her opening remarks noted the importance of the role of local government in the New Urban Agenda and was delighted that eThekwini was hosting the H3 Urban Breakfast.  She recommitted the leadership of the eThekwini Municipality in the global arena in the UCLG and in the UNHABITAT. She drew a strong linkage between her inauguration speech and political commitments made and the key issues of urban governance and building inclusive, safer cities as priorities within the New Urban Agenda.
 
Habitat III Secretariat shared an overview of the New Urban Agenda, noting that the draft outcomes document has now been crafted through an inclusive and participatory exercise. In the last 20 years, the growing inequalities within cities, urban sprawl and climate change were highlighted as critical challenges that require decisive action immediately.  The Quito declaration through its transformative commitments, effective implementation plan and follow up and review mechanism were outlined. What was interesting to note was the new urban paradigm that is innovative in that it recognizes a new perspective of looking at urbanization as not just a challenge, but as a source of value generation that can contribute to development at large.
 
The five action areas proposed in the agenda were summarized:
 
National Urban policy
Urban Legislation
Urban renewal
Urban planning and design
Urban economy and municipal finance
 
Honing in on the sustainable mobility and transport theme of the urban breakfast, the issues of equity and social inclusion, efficiency and economic impact as well as environmental impact and health / road safety were raised as key to be considered. The focus should be on urban planning and design in an integrated approach and through the utilization of innovations and renewable energy.
 
KZN MEC for Human Settlements & Public Works, Ravi Pillay posed a self-criticism on our inability to continually engage on global challenges and was grateful for the opportunity to begin to dialogue. MEC suggested that nationally we are not dealing with the Outcome 8 objective, and that much more effort is required to deal with this. MEC was encouraged that the new leadership in eThekwini was serious about addressing these issues, and urged that the momentum be kept up. MEC asked for more engagement with citizens that are truly people-centred as well as the need for the issue of planned informal settlements that need to be put on the table, as well as the issue of housing allocation that can be divisive. 
 
KZN Cogta,  MEC Nomusa Dube Ncube in acknowledging the urban population explosion highlighted a series of key challenges that municipalities are faced with, and the role that local economic development can play if placed at the center of the city strategy. The use of technology as part of our innovative responses around energy, land and natural resource management must be taken more seriously. Urban planning it was noted has recently emerged as a key priority to address sustainable development. MEC also acknowledged the role of MILE and the city in collaborating with COGTA to rethink spatial equity issues in a learning exchange in September.
 
During the deliberations the following issues were raised:

The need to focus on rural development, given the context of eThekwini
The process of how to include the voices of ordinary South Africans   
The limitations of planning legislation in facilitating transformation
The role of ICT as an enabler in sustainable development
Need to focus on the message of the “right to the city” and the role of
        informal settlements
 
Honourable Ms Noncawe Mafu, outlined the process followed to develop a position of South Africa on Habitat III, noting that one cannot address the urban challenges without dealing with the critical importance of rural development. There was concerted effort to ensure that there is an alignment of Africa 2063 with the position from Africa in Abuja in February that then informed the New Urban Agenda. The eight pillars of the common African position were then outlined.
 
An interesting panel discussion ensued that looked at the role of urban transportation, led by Thami Manyathi, Head of eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) who presented the city’s Transport Agenda. He recognized that urban life is more than just space, and that people have the right to the city, and that everything we do must focus on citizens. The Public Transportation Strategy was outlined, noting that the IRPTN and the municipal control over integrated networks were key. A city for the people, it was argued rested on 5 key interventions around being connected; sustainable, learning-focused; thriving;working; prosperous and safe.
 
Prof Brij Maharaj used a series of newspaper headlines to critically engage on the need for the municipality to rethink its focus, urging the City leadership to improve its approach to governance. PWC then provided an important perspective by using 10 key indicators to produce a “Cities of Opportunities” report that rates the performance of international cities. The key takeaway was to ensure that cities do not just plan, but execute as well. The SACN  wrapped up the deliberations by persuading cities to move from doing the wrong thing to doing the right things requiring all stakeholders to work collaboratively. It will mean greater public transportation infrastructure investment away from subsidization of the private car.
 
The City Manager, in responding to the panelists argued that whilst the inputs were illuminating, what is needed is a clear implementation framework for real action for us as eThekwini. At the same time, what is  needed are clear solutions on how to stretch the limited resources that we have to tackle the challenges facing us, in a context of scarce financial resources.
 
In concluding the session, Dr Mpilo Ngubane thanked all the participants and leadership for the convening of the session, and for laying a solid platform for engagement on the African Agenda and our position at Habitat III. It was suggested that post Quito another session be reconvened to take the discussions forward.
 
 
Download Presentations below:
 
 

 H3 Urban Breakfast-Presentations and useful documents

 
  
  
  
Address by Mayor - Habitat III Urban Breakfast.pdf
  
06/10/2016 11:02
Common African position for HABITAT III.pdf
  
05/10/2016 15:02
DRAFT COMMON AFRICAN POSITION ON HABITAT III (CAPH3).pdf
  
06/10/2016 11:02
Habitat III New Urban Agenda (10 September 2016).pdf
  
05/10/2016 16:02
Habitat III-Secretariat.pdf
  
05/10/2016 15:06
Thami Manyathi-ETA.pdf
  
05/10/2016 15:07



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