Habitat III: Final Wrap-Up

By Sadman Shafiq, Swinburne University.

Our third day in Quito started off bright and early with unexpected sunshine. We arrived at the conference ready for another full day of events.

First off was the Inclusive Cities Special Session, where the powerhouse of the speakers included the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, whose parting words were truly awe-inspiring. Her thoughts on fragmented cities facing discrimination, holding governments and all levels of municipality accountable, and encouraging active participation of all citizens as right holders, resounded throughout the whole discussion. The questions raised by the public were thought provoking and created the space for a higher level of discourse.

Next up was a High Level Round Table discussing integrated strategic planning and management. I took Australia’s seat at the Round Table alongside Victorian State Government Representative, Mia Davison. I found the Panel very informative regarding Sweden, Finland, and South Africa’s approaches in order to create an integrated, long-term plan for sustainable management.

The panel’s debate was cut short due to our next meeting with UN Human Settlements Officer, Bernhard Berth, based in the Asia Pacific Region. He shared his insights working with communities in Laos and in the Philippines and discussed how disaster risk prevention and rebuilding efforts are developed in these areas. His insight into the UN Internship Program also provided essential information about writing applications for internships and developing a career at the UN. 

After a quick get together with the Canada Youth Delegate we went inside the Plenary to hear Australia’s response to the New Urban Agenda (NUA). Australian Ambassador to the UN, Gillian Bird, acknowledged Australia’s urban problems, pledging to implement the NUA within Australia. Along with the initiative to create a Ministry for Cities, and the launch of the Government’s Smart Cities Plan, Australia’s position firmly supports the NUA.

Global Voices delegates with students and experts of T-Cubo think tank

Global Voices delegates with students and experts of T-Cubo think tank

We left for lunch and took a taxi to Universidad de los Hemisferios where we met with the experts of Ecuadorian think tank T-Cubo for a youth workshop. I was blown away by the formality and the number of students that showed up to work with us on broad questions related to the NUA. We were divided up along with experts and students in order to brainstorm policies. It was refreshing to find that the topics we discussed had both local and international parallels that ended up creating a strong link between us. With help from the T-Cubo experts, we presented what we perceived to be problems or issues and our recommendations for action. The two-hour session flew by and was followed by a well-deserved round of drinks.

Finally, we met with the Brazilian delegates from Instituto Global Attitude and the New Zealand delegates from Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute. We discussed many topics and bonded over our experiences in Habitat.

It was an amazing day: Bernhard’s outlook over Urban Planning in the Asia Pacific and UN Internships was enlightening, the Habitat III sessions continue to provide thoughtful discussion around the implementation of the NUA, and the scale and generosity of the students and the experts in the University workshop were both impressive and humbling.

Our final day wrapped up the Global Voices Habitat III experience perfectly. We were honoured to witness the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in Quito, which maps the future of urban development over the next 20 years. Thanks to RMIT, Swinburne and Griffith for supporting our delegation during this once in a life time experience.

Muchas Gracias por todo Habitat III and Global Voices! 

 

ECOSOC delegate Chau Nguyen: CrowdInk Contributor

In her recent article, ECOSOC delegate and Swinburne University of Technology student Chau Nguyen talks about what consumers can do to help improve the lives of women working in the textiles industry. You can read the full article on the CrowdInk website here or by copying the following URL into your browser http://bit.ly/chau-empowerwomen

Global Voices 2016 UN ECOSOC High-level Political Forum delegates meet with Sonia Smallacombe. Ms. Smallacombe currently works as a Social Affairs Officer with the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and is based in New York. (L-R) Riley McAuliffe (Global Voices Environment & Sustainability Program Manager), Amy Plant (Central Queensland University), Ms Smallacombe and Chau Nguyen (Swinburne).

Global Voices 2016 UN ECOSOC High-level Political Forum delegates meet with Sonia Smallacombe. Ms. Smallacombe currently works as a Social Affairs Officer with the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and is based in New York. (L-R) Riley McAuliffe (Global Voices Environment & Sustainability Program Manager), Amy Plant (Central Queensland University), Ms Smallacombe and Chau Nguyen (Swinburne).

Chau recently returned from the UN ECOSOC High-level Political Forum in New York. You can read her research on empowering women in the textiles industry in the 'Research' section of our website.

Chau's place to UN ECOSOC was made available through the support of our partners Swinburne University of Technology and Qantas Airways.

ECOSOC Delegate Chau Nguyen: Swinburne Profile

ECOSOC HLPF delegate Chau Nguyen has been profiled in Swinburne News. Soon Chau will be off to New York where she will participate in the review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues. These included ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.

ECOSOC delegate and Swinburne student Chau Nguyen

ECOSOC delegate and Swinburne student Chau Nguyen

Read more about Chau and her research by clicking here or by copying the following URL into your browser http://bit.ly/chau-swinburne-profile

Swinburne University of Technology is a valued partner of Global Voices and supports us in our mission to provide opportunities for young Australians to engage with global issues and foreign policy. 

ECOSOC Delegate Chau Nguyen: Style Hunter Contributor

Swinburne University delegate Chau Nguyen is a contributing writer to Style Hunter this month. The article, written as part of the Global Voices Research Fellowship, examines the impact of the clothing and garment industry on women in developing countries. Chau also discusses the need for increased regulation and creating pathways to leadership for women working in the manufacturing sector.

Read the article on the Style Hunter website by clicking on this link or copying the following URL in your browser http://bit.ly/27GkYqz

We would like to thank our valued partner, Swinburne University, for supporting Chau's place to the UN ECOSOC High-level Political Forum in New York. 

ECOSOC Delegate: Chau Nguyen

Chau is completing a Bachelor of of Communication and Business at Swinburne University in Melbourne. She also has a strong interest in fashion as well as cultural exchange and sustainable development. In 2015, Chau was fortunate enough to be invited as an Australian ambassador to Fashion Week in Korea. Alongside her fashion interests, Chau is passionate about the social development of the fashion industry with a goal to promote intellectual discussion about the understanding of fashion and its impact on the planet. 

Her passion and keen interest in fashion and sustainability will shape her research paper. Chau will undertake a comparative analysis of conversation projects aimed at protecting Australia’s biodiverse ecosystems.

The person Chau would most like to meet is Miuccia Prada. Not just because she is the head of the Prada fashion kingdom, but because prior to her move into fashion, Prada was devoted to the study and discussion of politics regarding social issues including women’s rights. 

She’s currently re-reading Kafka on the Shore by Murakami Haruki, having realised that the themes of the novel are a lot more complex than she realised when reading it as a young teenager.

As a Vietnamese Australian, Chau loves visiting Vietnam. She enjoys seeing how the country has changed over the years as well enjoying its beautiful landscape. She’s able to visit family as well as explore the country from the point of view as a tourist.

At the moment Chau is working with a Melbourne-based brand and enjoys the opportunity to be challenged while being surrounded by people who think like she does. She is equally excited about attending ECOSOC for the same reason. Being around others who think the same way and open up discussions leads to meaningful conversations and potential friendships. 

Swinburne University is a valued partner of Global Voices and supports us in our mission to provide opportunities for young Australians to engage with global issues and policy making.