15 August, 2016
By Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Media Officer
Juliana Brown Afari, StreetNet Vice-President and WIEGO Board Member talks about her participatory experience in the third session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom3) of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which was held in Surabaya, Indonesia on 25 -27 July, 2016 at the Convention and Exhibition Hall Grand City Convex Surabaya.
The United Nations General Assembly, in Resolution 67/216, decided to establish a preparatory committee to carry out the preparations for the conference open to all Member States of the United Nations and members of specialized agencies and of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom), following the same resolution, had three meetings (PrepCom1, PrepCom2, and PrepCom3) before the opening of the conference. PrepCom1 was held in New York, the USA in September 2014, PrepCom2 was held in Nairobi, Kenya in April 2015 and PrepCom3 was held in Surabaya, Indonesia in July 2016.
WIEGO as an international network focused on securing livelihoods for the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy and a close StreetNet ally, has been working to ensure that the voices of informal workers, and the visibility of their challenges, are represented. Thus, as a result of WIEGO and partners’ efforts, the informal economy is significantly represented in the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda.
Juliana Brown Afari had a good chance to participate in the PrepCom2 as well as in the PrepCom3 Meetings while being a member of WIEGO Delegation to the Preparatory Meetings before the HABITAT III Conference.
According to Juliana, the Prepcom3 Meeting was educative, full of opportunities to acquire new knowledge and experience, to take part in hot discussions and interact with different stakeholders who have different mindset and views to the related issues.
“It is very important for all the informal workers to be part of and participate in such a high level discussions because informal workers are honorable workers and have a lot of issues that need the attention of our governments. There is no country that can develop without the informal sector workers, who should be part of issue about the cities they want to see and live in the next 30-50 years.
No city can be inclusive, equitable and sustainable without the inputs from the informal workers.
Informal workers are recognized and given the opportunity to speak about the issues themselves and the opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Definitely it should be a proper dialogue and negotiation between the informal street vendors and hawkers so that the New Urban Agenda is ensured to be inclusive and covers the urban poor needs”- emphasized Juliana.
She also stressed that street vendors have to ensure that their demands, such as: right to vend in public spaces, stopping evictions, simplified regulation for informal cross-border traders and others are reflected in the New Urban Agenda which will be adopted in HABITAT III Conference in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador.
“That’s why: Nothing For Us Without Us”, – concluded Juliana.
WIEGO, after participatory consultative processes with membership-based organizations of urban informal workers, developed its Policy Document on Implementing the New Urban Agenda, which clearly guides what do urban informal workers need from both local and national governments. The Document also indicates on common and sector-specific needs of urban informal workers.
To download the Document, please click here: http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/resources/files/WIEGO-MBO-Demands-PrepCom3.pdf