The General Assembly of Partners (GAP) is an innovative, inclusive and independent multi-stakeholder partnership platform that convenes more than 1,100 unique organizations with over 58,000 networks working on sustainable urban development.
To support partners’ engagement and contribution to the implementation of the Habitat III Conference, in particular to the New Urban Agenda as well as to the other global agreements promoting sustainable urban development.
The General Assembly of Partners (GAP) was first envisioned at a meeting during the first Urban Thinkers Campus in Caserta, Italy in October 2014 by partners of the World Urban Campaign, who recognized the need for an inclusive platform that would enable many new actors to bring their urban expertise and to engage in the Habitat III process.
GAP held its inaugural meeting at the Second Preparatory Committee of Habitat III in Kenya in April 2015, where it adopted its Constitution, By-Laws, and held its first elections.
Prior to the Habitat III Conference, GAP wrote a letter to the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly as well as the Department of General Assembly Conference Management requesting that 16 seats be allocated in the Habitat III plenary to enable equal representation of each of the Partner Constituent Groups (PCGs) in place at the time, instead of the traditional 9 seats for “Major Groups” of Agenda 21 and 3 seats for “Other Stakeholders.” This was granted, and although the seats did not reflect the names of each group, there were 16 seats in the Habitat III Plenary to reflect these 16 PCGs.
In addition to responding to the letter from GAP, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon elected to spend some of his time in Quito meeting with the GAP Executive Committee to understand this new system of collaborative stakeholder engagement.
The 16 PCGs of GAP were invited by the Habitat III Secretariat to collaborate on and propose speakers and content for 16 Stakeholders’ Roundtables that took place at the Habitat III Conference. These Stakeholders Roundtables were held successfully and focused on what each PCG would contribute and work on during the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the Habitat III and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly at its sixty-eighth plenary meeting of the seventy-first session on 23 December 2016. The New Urban Agenda represents a shared vision for a better and more sustainable future.
The role of GAP in the Habitat III process is recognized in the New Urban Agenda. The GAP used its strong networks and constituencies to contribute to official events at the Conference itself, ensuring that relevant urban expertise from different constituencies around the world was considered.
Many Member States noted the innovation of GAP given that, in addition to giving space for each PCG voice, GAP also advocated for common positions shared by all PCGs.
GAP is currently made up of 17 Partner Constituent Groups (PCGs). This structure builds on the United Nations Agenda major groups, the Habitat Agenda partners, as well as opens new spaces to groups that request recognition given their unique efforts and needs on sustainable urban development, such as Grassroots organizations, Older Persons, Persons with Disabilities, or the Media.
As a global platform, GAP’s membership comes from every region, and we share a common vision on the value of stakeholders’ expertise and knowledge in the preparation, crafting, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the New Urban Agenda.
Structure & Executive Committee
GAP is structured to bring relevant constituencies and stakeholders together through a democratic and efficient platform. It has a President and a Vice President – as in the United Nations General Assembly – as well as two co-chairs per Partner Constituent Group (PCG), who together make up the Executive Committee.
The President and Vice President coordinate the group and advocate for the agreed upon and consensus messages, as well as promoting the inclusion of GAP and stakeholders generally. The co-chairs of each PCG communicate the viewpoints and inputs of their constituencies, and organize each constituency group and its own strategic work plan.
President (as at December 2020)
Eugenie L. Birch
Vice President (as at December 2020)
GAP has a membership of 1,300 unique organizations and 400 additional individuals operating through 17 equal Partner Constituent Groups (PCGs). The PCGs represent nine major groups and eight others with deep interests in sustainable urban development, is an independent self-organized advocacy and implementation platform recognized by the United Nations in the New Urban Agenda.
It aims to ensure that PCG needs, desires, and contributions are part of the planning and management of an Increasingly urbanized world.
Originally created to support the preparations and execution of the Habitat III Conference (Quito, Ecuador, October 2016), GAP extended its mandate at Quito and now: