During the opening of ‘Towns and Regions ahead of the Habitat III challenges and the New Urban Agenda’ conference held this morning at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Josep Rull highlighted the need to “to work towards a territorial balance” that would include “rural Catalonia” and “a decentralized model of management” to ensure the country’s welfare in the future.
The event took place on Monday and was organized by the Barcelona Provincial Council in efforts to unify the various positions in the Barcelona area ahead of the Habitat III conference which will take place later this year in Quito, Ecuador.
Rull spoke alongside the president of the Barcelona Provincial Council, Mercè Conesa, and on behalf of the Government of Catalonia emphasized the importance of incorporating sustainable polices on both municipal and infra-state levels.
The Habitat III summit, the third UN conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, will take place from the 17th until the 20th October in Quito with the aim of implementing the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and establish a universal framework for sustainable urban development. Throughout his intervention, Rull expressed his support to incorporate sustainable policies across all areas of the government’s activity, especially in terms of its “economic, social and environmental” competences.
Several preparatory summits for Habitat III were held to collect the governments’ contributions to NUA. In May, Minister Rull participated in the second assembly of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) in New York in which the New Urban Agenda’s Zero Draft was also discussed.
Minister Rull explained that “in order to make the New Urban Agenda work, we need to count on local governments, provincial councils and subnational institutions”. He also underlined that “being closer to the people allows us to manage cities’ prosperity in a more suitable way”. “In Catalonia, urban responsibility falls on local governments”, he added.
Rull stated that Catalonia disposes of “good working tools in matters of territorial planning, neighbourhood rehabilitation and public transportation”. Furthermore, he explained that “we are already working on the New Urban Agenda with the drafting a new territorial law”, which aims to implement key points emphasized by the UN and “increase efficiency in urban recycling instead of using more land”.
During the event, experts from several international organisations presented the main points of the Zero Draft. The European Commission's Urban Agenda for the EU anf the UN’s NUA were also presented. Finally, the mayors of Igualada, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Manresa, Esplugues de Llobregat, Badalona and Granollers debated and agreed on the common stance that will be taken by the province of Barcelona.