Catalan Minister at the UN headquarters: “I am a member of a government working to become an independent state”
Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability Josep Rull is at the UN Headquarters in New York, together with over 100 representatives of local and regional governments from around the world, in order to prepare ‘Habitat III’, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will be held in Quito, Ecuador in October. In his intervention, Rull emphasised Catalonia’s push for independence and the legitimacy of such a process in front of the international community. I am a member of a democratically elected government that is working to become an independent state. Earlier, Rull greeted the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon “on behalf of Catalonia”. The Catalan Minister also expressed the Government’s point of view regarding the draft of the New Urban Agenda, a compilation of pledges and new obligations which set in place a new global strategy on urbanisation for the next two decades and which is expected to be approved at the Quito summit.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability Josep Rull has emphasised Catalonia’s push for independence and the legitimacy of the process at the UN headquarters in New York, where he is attending the preparatory assembly for ‘Habitat III’, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development. I am a member of a democratically elected government that is working to become an independent state, stated Rull, after greeting Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon “on behalf of Catalonia”. Until the 18th of May, over 100 representatives of local and regional governments from around the world will share their views regarding the New Urban Agenda, a draft of pledges and new obligations which set in place a new global strategy on urbanisation for the next two decades. The document is expected to be approved at the ‘Habitat III’ summit, to be held in Quito in October. The United Nations has called the conference, the third in a series that began in 1976, to “reinvigorate” the global political commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities and other human settlements, both rural and urban.
The preparatory assembly is organised by Partners of the Global Task Force (GTF), a coordination mechanism which brings together the major international networks of local governments to undertake joint advocacy relating to international policy processes, particularly the climate change agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and Habitat.
Among the issues up for discussion are: transformative commitments for a sustainable urban development, how to establish a supportive national, sub-national and local framework, how to plan and manage urban spatial development, and the implementation and follow-up of the New Urban Agenda.
Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, also attended the assembly, together with General Director for Planning and Urbanism, AgustíSerra, and DamiàCalvet, Director of INCASÒL, the Catalan Government's subsidiary that manages public land throughout Catalonia, all of whom were invited by GTF.
Barcelona’s mayor defends the voice of the cities
Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, who spoke on behalf of the European cities, criticised Spain’s obstacles to Barcelona hosting refugees coming from Greece, Turkey and Italy. “We are deeply ashamed that today thousands of kids, and elderly and sick people die on Europe’s borders”, she lamented. “It is not proper of cities which aim to be from the first world and an example of human rights”, she added.
“Institutions are facing a legitimacy crisis because they respond with bureaucratic excuses rather than with actual answers”, she stated and assured that cities “don’t aim to compete with states”but “to cooperate to solve the peoples’problems and have fairer cities”. Colau assured that she is proud of Barcelona’s international relevance but emphasised that the voice of the cities “is still insufficient”and that “it is not possible to do urban politics without the cities’involvement”.
‘Habitat III’: Getting the international community involved in urbanisation and sustainability
‘Habitat III’will be the third in a series that began in 1976, to “reinvigorate”the global political commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities and other human settlements, both rural and urban. It will also be the first time in 20 years that the international community, led by national governments, has collectively taken stock of fast-changing urban trends and the ways in which these patterns are impacting on human development, environmental well-being, and civic and governance systems worldwide.
In turn, Habitat III will also offer a potent opportunity for the international community at all levels to harmonise its understanding of the problems and opportunities posed by current trends in urbanisation. This includes poverty, quality of life, environmental degradation, climate change and other concerns on the one hand, as well as the economic, social and creative boons provided by cities on the other. Global actors will be able to use the run-up to Habitat III to work toward agreement on a broad and collective approach to start to both address and capitalise on these issues.