February 9, 2016

Dear IHC Member:

As I write to you on another snowy day in Washington, DC (but not as dramatic as the “snowfall of the century” of two weeks ago!) to share with you some important and exciting news about IHC, I hope that all is going well for each of you personally as well as for your organizations and urban programming.

Expanded Scope

IHC’s Board of Directors met on December 16, 2016 and approved a new strategy and expanded scope for IHC.  As you know, IHC has long been interested both in the living conditions of the urban poor around the world and, as part of that, in urban development.  Now, the Board has endorsed an explicit incorporation of cities into the IHC advocacy focus.  IHC’s overarching aim is to build a robust and informed global constituency for equitable urban development.

Capitalizing on the momentum established by the Sustainable Development Goals and Goal 11 that focuses on cities’ resilience, sustainability, safety and inclusiveness, IHC will continue to build awareness of the critical importance of rapid urbanization on the global development agenda.  IHC will advocate for greater resource allocation in foreign assistance and in national budgets for more equitable urban development.  We see housing as a key driver.

I thank you for your support of this mission – there are those who believe (and I among them!) that an important key to sustainable development in the 21st century is what happens in the cities.  IHC is bringing that message to a wide variety of audiences.

Same Name, Only Different!

Signaling the changes at IHC, the Board voted also to change IHC’s name.  We will continue to be known as IHC or IHC Global, but no longer International Housing Coalition.  Instead, we are now IHC, Global Coalitions for Inclusive Housing and Sustainable Cities.  Henceforth, you will see a new visual identity as we update and improve the IHC website (anticipated completion is March 30, 2016) in order to make it more interactive and better serve all Members.

Membership and Dues Changes

Under IHC’s new strategy, you will see an increased level of member services, including policy briefings, practical knowledge sharing, opportunities for interaction with policy makers and policy influencers, profile-raising activities for members, and expanded networking, to name a few.  I am grateful to all of you who have contributed to our thinking.

With the momentum established by the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the upcoming Habitat III meeting, this is the moment for all of us engaged in urban development to “seize the day”!  For IHC Global, this means that we will actively seek to build the coalition beyond the US as well as to add US-based members.

To support the expansion of the coalition and the new mission, IHC has developed a rationalized membership and dues structure.  This new structure enables organizational members to select various levels of membership with different levels of benefits as well as opening the coalition to individual members.

We look forward to building a robust constituency which by its membership and reach will become all the more influential.  We also envision the network among this constituency — among you the members — also becoming richer and increasingly useful to you over time.  You will be able to share your work (and IHC Global will continue the practice of highlighting member organizations and raising their “urban” profile) with peers and access theirs at a practical level; we hope you will find new allies and partners and that the network will boost your areas of endeavor.  We also believe that with a global vision and local advocates, sounding the same theme but adapted to their local contexts, the impact on equitable urban development will be enormous!

IHC’s 2016 Advocacy Agenda

Within the global vision of greater urban equity, IHC Global will focus its work on discrete policy ad practice areas that “institutionalize” inequity.  Turned on their heads, these same areas can become drivers for greater equity and prosperity. IHC will focus on greater urban equity through six priority policyareas in the coming year are:  (1) urban water and sanitation (WASH); (2) land tenure and security, with particular emphasis on gender concerns; (3) urban food security; (4) housing as a driver of equitable development; (5) migration and its implications; and (6) resilience, climate adaptation and the urban poor.  We will pursue these priorities in a number of ways:

  • Practice-focused policy research
  • Synthesizing knowledge and various arguments to make the issues clearer and more accessible to practitioners and city-level policy makers
  • Policy Briefings for Members and for policy-makers and policy-influencers
  • Issue-focused Roundtables
  • Commentary and publications focusing on equitable urban issues
  • One-on-one briefings with USG Officials (Executive and Congress), World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations and others
  • Participation and leadership role in Habitat III-related activities
  • Engagement of Members: Sharing Best Practice and Highlighting Successful Methods, Briefings of Policy Makers, Sign-on letters to USG, other opportunities

We hope to draw on and share the experience and expertise of you and your organizations and look forward to working with you!

IHC in the Global Community

IHC is currently participating in the US National Committee for Habitat III, sub-committee on Bringing Global Voices to the National Conversation, and as part of that will be co-hosting a policy roundtable on Inclusive Cities in May 2016.  In addition, IHC is part of the Civil Society Organization Committee of the Habitat III General Assembly of Partners and a member of the World Urban Campaign drafting committee which is developing a Declaration called The City We Need, as input into the New Urban Agenda to be rolled out in Quito in October 2016.   If you would like additional information about any of these activities, please let me know.  Also, if you have issues that you wish to raise, please know that we are always here to understand and represent your views as best we can in our united effort to focus more attention on and generate more resources for equitable urban development.

Member Policy Briefings

There will be at least two additional Member Policy Briefings this year.  Stay tuned!

In October, Habitat for Humanity International’s Daniel Petrie and Jane Katz briefed IHC members on Global Goal 11 (tee cities Goal) and on Habitat III  and in February Dr. Eugenia Birch of the University of Pennsylvania and Chair o  Habitat III’s General Assembly of Partners spoke about the impact of COP 21, the global Climate Change Conference held in Paris, on urban development and on cities and bridging these discussions to Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda. At both events, members had access to experts as well as networking opportunities. 

Thank you as always for your support of IHC Global.  Together, I truly believe that we are making advances and that increasingly policy-makers and others are coming to realize that the key to sustainable development in the 21st century is what happens in cities!

Best regards,
Judith Hermanson
President and CEO

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