Statement by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, on the successful conclusion of the UN's Habitat III Summit
October 21, 2016 Gatineau, Quebec Employment and Social Development Canada
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, made the following statement:
“As Canada's Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and head of Canada’s official delegation, I would like to acknowledge the extreme level of collaboration and intensive discussions that led to the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III Summit in Quito, Ecuador, this week. The adoption of this ambitious declaration strengthens the commitments of governments around the globe to make a meaningful contribution to the sustainable development of towns, cities and human settlements for the next 20 years.
The Government of Canada embraces the guiding principles set for the Habitat III Summit. These principles closely align with the Government’s goals laid out in Budget 2016 to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and help those working hard to join it.
I am particularly proud of Canada’s active participation in and meaningful contribution to the New Urban Agenda. We took strong leadership in the promotion of inclusive and diverse communities. Throughout the process and during the Summit, we were a strong advocate for equality and the inclusion of under‑represented groups, including women, Indigenous people, at-risk youth, immigrants and the LGBTQ2 community. We will continue to advocate for the rights of all peoples, both at home and abroad.
Across the globe, Canada is seen as a leader in the areas of partnership and innovation. Working together is something that Canada does well, and I believe this will be vital as we undertake the important work of implementing the New Urban Agenda. If we are to achieve the strong, safe, clean and inclusive cities we strive for, it will require us to continue working in partnership with provinces, municipalities, academia, civil society, youth, Indigenous people and others to make it happen.
The principles agreed to at Habitat III will guide work as our government embarks on the development of important national strategies and solutions related to housing, poverty reduction, child care, infrastructure, climate change and other challenges.
I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable work from the Canadian delegation that joined me in the discussions at the Summit. This was a proud delegation from various backgrounds representing Canada’s diversity. It confirmed that our country is strong—not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
Canada is at its best when all communities have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We understand that there is a lot of work to be done, but also that working together can help ensure that everyone has the quality of life they deserve.
Going forward, we will engage with our partners to share what we learned from Habitat III and discuss how we can implement the New Urban Agenda. ”
Member of Parliament Adam Vaughan, Spadina – Fort York and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs), made the following statement:
“Being here and working for the last few days with such a dedicated delegation was an honor for me. Our government believes that building stronger and safer communities will only be achievable through close collaboration between key partners such as municipal leaders, provinces, territories Indigenous people, academics and civil society. Working in partnership will be key to implementing the New Urban Agenda and to creating vibrant, inclusive communities in Canada and abroad.”
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Director of Communications
Office of the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
UNITED NATIONS HABITAT III SUMMIT
Habitat III Summit
The United Nations (UN) convened the first Habitat Summit in 1976 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to discuss the rapid and often uncontrolled growth of cities. The UN held a second meeting (Habitat II – the Conference on Human Settlements) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. This second meeting was held to assess two decades of progress since Habitat I and set new goals related to the sustainable development of communities for the new millennium.
The Habitat III Summit, which will be held October 17–20 in Quito, Ecuador, brings together all orders of government, as well as Indigenous organizations, the private sector and civil society with a view to uniting voices in support of the sustainable communities across the globe that put citizens first.
Urban centres now represent over half of the global population, and cities are the front line for many of the global community’s most pressing issues. Social inequality, climate change and poverty are challenges all orders of government must confront. Creating suitable, affordable and sustainable living spaces represents an unprecedented opportunity to ensure equality, quality of life and prosperity for citizens today and for generations to come. Issues that will be addressed at Habitat III include poverty, climate change, public safety, infrastructure and housing, health and quality of life.
Habitat III will be the first UN global summit following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the COP 21 on climate change. Habitat III’s outcomes will be closely aligned with these international commitments.
Canada’s leadership at the UN Habitat III on sustainable development
Canada embraces the guiding principles set for the Habitat III Summit. These principles echo the Government's objectives for Canada. The 2016 Budget includes an ambitious plan to boost the economy, strengthen the middle class and help those who are working hard to join it.
The Summit will culminate in an international declaration, entitled the New Urban Agenda, which will aim to renew global political commitments to promote sustainable development of municipalities, cities and other human settlements in the next 20 years.
The nature of Canada’s contribution in Quito will guide the country and impact all Canadians in the coming decades. That is why Canada is working hard to ensure that its goals are reflected in the New Urban Agenda. Canada is a strong voice for the promotion and protection of human rights and the advancement of democratic values. That is why we believe that people are—and should be—at the centre of the New Urban Agenda.
Canada is eager to share areas where it is showing leadership and innovation to address complex social problems, but also to hear and learn from other countries that are grappling with issues similar to our own.
Throughout the process to negotiate the New Urban Agenda, Canada strongly advocated for the following objectives:
1. Social Inclusion and Diversity
Throughout the negotiation of the New Urban Agenda, Canada fought hard to have groups like youth, women, children, immigrants, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and members of the LGBTI community officially recognized in the New Urban Agenda. We are proud to say that most groups were included.
2. Strengthening the Middle Class
One of Canada’s key priorities is strengthening the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. Canada believes that this is an area where countries can work together to help build and grow the middle class in order to encourage social and economic prosperity not only in our own countries, but also across the globe.
3. Partnerships and Innovation
Our cities still face deeply entrenched social challenges. Canada recognizes that no single group or government can solve these global challenges on its own. That is why partnership and innovation are key to Canada’s vision for the implementation of a New Urban Agenda. A central aspect of our collaborative approach is engaging our population on our priorities, such as developing strategies to address housing, poverty, employment, climate change and infrastructure.
The Canadian delegation to Quito
Canada wants to cultivate a positive and constructive relationship with the many stakeholders that help to develop and implement innovative solutions to urban challenges. The Canadian delegation comes from various backgrounds and is representative of Canada's diversity. The delegation includes representatives of provinces, municipalities, academia, civil society, youth and Indigenous peoples. All members share a common goal and understand that in participating in the Habitat III Summit, our country will send the important message that Canadians are committed to supporting an inclusive agenda where no one is left behind.
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