United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth

Position Paper for Latin America and Caribbean Regional Meeting for Habitat III

Globally, cities are younger than ever: children and youth constitute the majority of the world’s urban population. Today here in the Latin American and Caribbean region 50% of total population is under 30 years old. As the leaders of our present and future cities, it is critical that children and youth are given a platform to meaningfully contribute to the formulation, implementation, monitoring and review of the Habitat III process.

To ensure that children and youth perspectives are heard, our constituency has embarked on a global offline and online consultation process to gather the inputs of young people from across Latin America and Caribbean. The following is a summary of our key positions which address urban development that either immediately impacts young people or represent broader concerns we hold to be important.

# Integrated Territorial Development and Inequality

  • 'Wealth creation' does not appreciate the true cost of extracting natural and human resources to drive a culture of mass consumption. There must be a paradigm shift in the relationships between resource extraction, the economies, and people of the world in order to combat territorial and generational injustices.
  • Broaden the understanding of inequality to address it in the context of inequality among and within cities and between urban and rural areas by promoting integrated territorial development.
  • Recognize and address the disproportionate effect of resource extraction and waste surcharge on people living outside traditional urban boundaries.

# Physical Resilience in cities

  • One million people are living in informal settlements or slum-like conditions. These habitations are more likely to be disaster-prone and to be situated within environmentally degraded areas. It is estimated that by 2030, 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18. While maintaining the no-eviction policy, it is essential to implement Disaster Risk assessment and its reduction in all processes of upgrading.
  • Resilience is hugely affected by the capacity of communities and local authorities to respond to disasters. Community-led DRR activities should be encouraged by providing technical assistance and financial resources.

# Financing for Sustainable Urban Development

  • To create a finance and fiscal system that enables sustainable urbanisation, we need to focus on factors that create liquidity and enable an appropriate macroeconomic environment. Taxation should be applied to underlying risk factors that dissuade sustainability in an urban context by integrating ecological tax reform and social externality taxation along with progressive taxation.
  • Ensure the access for local authorities to non-exploitative international public finance and Multilateral Development Banks, through a risk assessments process which fully integrates  social and environmental risks such as E-RISC (Ecological Risk Integration to Sovereign Credit)
  • Local governments’ expenditures have two aspects. The fiscal spaces and mandate to decide its allocation both need to be expanded to meet the needs of local authorities.
  • Emphasizing that local governments should have a capacity of collecting taxes and develop frames to capture  income such as land values. Administrative structures in Latin America are often limited and the results are below global average of tax revenue.

#Full Integration of three dimensions of sustainable development into the urban planning

  • The ecological footprint of cities must remain within the thresholds set out by local biocapacity as well as planetary boundaries.
  • Recognise that the local biocapacity and integration of environmental condition of lands in policy development is key factors to achieve resilient cities by preventing flood, preserving heavy rains in mountains, avoiding sinking, and providing cleaner water and air.

# Safe and Inclusive Public Spaces

  • Public space is not a privilege of the rich, but the right for all people and essential for a healthy and fruitful well-beings. All segments of the population have the right to access and manage public spaces that are secure, safe, accessible, green, healthy, and planned to serve the diverse needs of the people.
  • Community Ownership and participation of residents, especially young people, in the design process in the environmental transformation of public space are keys to promote the social cohesion and to create the Community organisations. Empowerment and allocation of sufficient funding to those should be prioritised.
  • Recognise the role of safety as a limiting factor in the mobility and full participation within the urban system for urban inhabitants, especially for women and girls and other marginalised people and ensure equal access to safe public spaces for all inhabitants of the city
  • More than half of all global homicide victims are under 30 years of age. Much of this crimes and violence, especially gender-based and age-based violence, takes place in urban areas. Spatial patterns of marginalisation within cities dictate the prevalence of crime and violence. Urban design within such areas should be conducive to safety and promote opportunities for young people.

# Mobile populations: migrants, refugees and internally displaced people.

  • States must commit to offer and actively enforce the rights of those in transit. Humanitarian aid must be granted to migrants, refugees and internally displaced people including access to justice, right to truth, and due process.
  • A territorial comprehension is essential in order to understand needs and opportunities. Territorial studies of migrant routes and shelters, refugees needs and of  internally displacement should be periodically executed.

# Accountability for PPPs and Voluntary Commitments

  • Institute ex ante and ex post community based assessment of Public Private Partnerships and their environmental, social and economic impact.
  • All voluntary commitments towards made through process should be held accountable in a systematic manner through an institutional mechanisms such as the registry of commitments (one of the outcomes of Rio+20).

# Healthy and Fruitful Well-beings and Right to Water

  • To create urban spaces which do not adversely affect inhabitant's well-being and mental health and enable inhabitants to enjoy a healthy life.
  • Daily drink and foods should be free from the harmful chemicals, excessive pesticide, and GMO. Taxation should be applied on those use of harmful materials, such as listed in WHO IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic risks to humans.
  • Recognise that sedentary life in urban places is not conducive to a healthy life. This should be addressed in urban design and planning, including the idea of walkable and pro-cycling cities.
  • Problems related to nutrition, especially obesity and tooth decay, are more common in cities and disproportionately affect the economically deprived and young people. Since these problems increase the burden on health care systems, unhealthy food and drink, such as processed food and sugar sweetened beverage, carries greater economic and social costs than their face-value. We propose that taxation should therefore be applied to health-related risk drivers.

# Follow-up and Review of New Urban Agenda

  • Call for establishment of Science and Technology Road Map which entails the evidence-based approach for designing, implementation, monitoring, follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda. Such mechanism is already practiced in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction in which all stakeholders came together to set the timeline, goals, and targets to achieve the SFDRR in the perspective of science and technology.
  • Recommend that the New Urban Agenda should set the goals and targets aligned with the SDGs to operationalise some indicators actually meaningful and implementable for countries and cities.
  • Integrate the Follow-up and Review mechanism into the High Level Political Forum to ensure coherence between processes and to avoid fragmented accountability mechanism.

UN Major Group for Children and Youth
h3dop@childrenyouth.org / http://childrenyouth.org

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