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Academics shaping UN policy on “critical global challenges”

9 October 2015

Shanty Town
Kibera, Nairobi – one of the largest slums in Africa

Three University academics appointed to UN Policy Units to shape agendas on housing and sustainable urban development

Three academics from across the University have been appointed to Policy Units to shape the agenda for a major United Nations conference next year.

Habitat III, the third global Habitat conference held by the UN, will take place in Ecuador in October 2016 and will focus on sustainable urbanisation and development.

The University academics are among 200 global experts selected to provide high-level expertise and explore state-of-the-art knowledge.  Experts were nominated by UN member states and the conference Secretary General.

The experts will develop independent recommendations on dimensions of sustainable urban development, to ensure that sustainable urbanisation remains a major driver of development and poverty reduction.

Their recommendations will contribute to the conference output document, the New Urban Agenda, to be adopted by UN member states.

Professor Alison Brown, Professor of Urban Planning and International Development in the School of Planning and Geography, has been appointed to the Policy Unit on the ‘right to the city and cities for all’, drawing on her extensive expertise in the global south and urban informal economies.

Professor Ambreena Manji, from the School of Law and Politics has been appointed to the Policy Unit on socio-cultural urban frameworks, drawing on her expertise in law development and African legal studies, and has published widely on land law reform in eastern Africa.

Dr Oleg Golubchikov, a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Planning of Geography, has been appointed to focus on municipal finance and local fiscal systems. He has authored regional reports on Russia and Eastern Europe, and previously advised the UN on urban and regional development, sustainable cities, and energy efficiency.

Professor Alison Brown said: “Habitat III represents a unique opportunity to address the two most critical global challenges of the 21st century – poverty and climate change. At present more than half the world’s population lives in cities, but this will rise to two thirds by 2050. There is an urgent need for the global community rethink processes of urbanisation, and to create the inclusive, resilient cities of the future.”

Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 – 20 October 2016.