The Legacy Report of Communitas, the Coalition of Cities and Regions in the new UN Development Agenda

It is our pleasure to share with you the Legacy Report of Communitas, the Coalition of Cities and Regions in the new UN Development Agenda.

Communitas was an international, philanthropy-funded, multi-stakeholder coalition founded to pioneer knowledge-based advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goal on Cities and Human Settlements, SDG11. Through its unique blend of technical expertise from the perspective of subnational and local practitioners, Communitas embedded the real needs of urban and territorial sustainability into intergovernmental processes, while empowering multi-stakeholder collaboration. Communitas has been recognised as a decisive player in achieving the inclusion of SDG11 among the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Communitas also engaged intensely in the process towards the adoption of the New Urban Agenda and has been acknowledged as a key actor in the articulation of the notions of urban-rural linkages for integrated urban and territorial development in that process.

Thanks to the vital support of the Ford Foundation, this coalition brought together as core partners ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (Implementing Partner), the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD), UN-Habitat and the Tellus Institute (Organising Partner).

An Advisory Committee assembled a diverse cohort of specialised social, economic and environmental stakeholders with a keen interest in the sustainable development potential of cities and regions/states, including: EMBARQ, now part of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Ross Center for Sustainable Cities; Habitat for Humanity International; Habitat International Coalition (HIC); the Huairou Commission; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); IHC Global Coalition for Inclusive Housing and Sustainable Cities; the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP); the Millennium Institute; the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Oxfam UK; the Regional Studies Association (RSA); the global partnership on sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems of the RUAF Foundation; Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI); the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UN MGCY) and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

The Communitas project wrapped up on 31 January 2017, consistent with its original plan to work from 2013 through the end of the Habitat III Conference. The time has come to shift gears and work hard on the implementation, monitoring and accountability of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. The institutional arrangements, culture of mutual understanding, cross-sectoral and integrated approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships born out of the Communitas adventure constitute the legacy of the Communitas method. This legacy is at the service of all the like-minded stakeholders and tireless collaborators who have made the coalition possible - and of the wider community working towards sustainability in urban and territorial development. The highlights of and lessons learnt from the Communitas method are shared in this Legacy Report produced by the Communitas Secretariat. We hope our learning and reflections will be of help to future coalitions dedicated to the engagement of stakeholders in intergovernmental processes, and will contribute to the collective action and reinvention that lies ahead of us in order to successfully implement these global agendas at the local and regional levels and realise their transformative potential.
We offer our deepest gratitude and admiration to the many partners and travel companions who have turned this four-year journey into an unforgettable human experience. The list is long and we would quite likely leave some behind if we attempted to name them all. We feel most fortunate for the opportunity of working with all of you and learning from your knowledge and dedication.

As each member of the Communitas Secretariat moves to new professional assignments, individually we are committed to supporting and enabling the mutually reinforcing link between sustainable urbanisation and human development - so that no one and no place is left behind. Four years later, the most important work has just begun!

The Communitas Secretariat,

Maruxa Cardama, Christopher Dekki, Felix Dodds and James Goldstein

Please click here to access the Legacy Report, and here for the Communitas legacy website. 

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