The Cycle of Conferences initiative will, beginning today, be holding in the light of the group gaze the upcoming UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, from 17-20 October.
Home - a deeply evocative word, which connects with identity, family, community, and belonging. In the last 40 years, since the first Habitat conference in Vancouver, more and more of the world's population have, for many reasons, decided that their home is to be found not in villages, but in cities. Now, almost 55% of the world are urban dwellers. This major migration, from countryside to urban centres, is bound to have significant implications for global civilisation, and the trend does not seem to be over. In order to grapple with the issues, the UN has convened Habitat III.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss “how to mobilise the global community and focus all levels of human settlements, including small rural communities, villages, market towns, intermediate cities and metropolises for demographic and economic growth…. Habitat III can help systematise the alignment between cities and towns and national planning objectives in their role as drivers of national economic and social development." Participants will include representatives from Governments, mayors and the full range of urban stakeholders.
While Habitat III is concentrated on a New Urban Agenda, it is important to have in mind the role that small and rural communities will also play in the future. The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), for example, promotes the idea of Ecovillages as “communities in which people feel supported by and responsible to those around them” and which are “small enough that everyone feels safe, empowered, seen and heard". GEN propose that Ecovillages are rooted in a strong sense of place and have four major dimensions – Social, Cultural/Spiritual, Ecologic and Economic. The International Alliance for Localisation (IAL), a programme of Local Futures, note that “localization does not mean eliminating international trade, or reducing all economic activity to a village level. It’s about shifting the power from transnational corporations to nation states, while simultaneously building up regional self-reliance.”
The drive towards urbanisation will in the future have to respond to the need to anchor the psyche in an authentic sense of place and a community setting suitable for the spiritual, social and psychological development of each and every person.
The Habitat III conference is focusing on the many issues arising from urbanisation, and through our support of this conference, we can energise the vision of a more direct and fruitful passage towards a future where all people may live in settlements, great and small, that work in harmony with each other and the other kingdoms of nature.
The Cycles focus on the Conference will conclude on October 20.
In lighted group companionship,
Cycle of Conferences