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For the 13th year, World Resources Institute will host Stories to Watch, an event looking at the big stories that will shape the world in the coming year. Dr. Andrew Steer, president & CEO, World Resources Institute, will offer his views on the major economic, social, environment and development issues for 2016.

Welcome to the Anthropocene, an era built on centuries of economic growth, In the 50 years before this new age, the human economic footprint grew faster in terms of GDP than at any time in recorded history. By the year 2100, it could grow to Bigfoot proportions, severely straining the global commons we all depend upon. Now it's time to tame Bigfoot. Andrew Steer explains.

The Habitat III conference next week will see more than 45,000 leaders, decision-makers and experts sign into force the New Urban Agenda for sustainable cities. But the Agenda and the Habitat process don't stand alone -- going forward, they will be part of intensified efforts to achieve sustainable, equal development and combat climate change.

Rapidly growing cities are finding it increasingly difficult to provide their residents with core services, like housing, water, energy and transportation — a challenge that is exacerbated as the share of poor people living in urban areas grows. New research from the World Resources Institute finds that in most cities in the Global South, more than 70 percent of residents lack reliable access to basic services like livable, well-located housing; clean water; sustainable energy; and accessible and affordable transportation. The World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City examines whether prioritizing access to core urban services will create cities that are prosperous and sustainable for all people.

A good home gives families a base to build the foundations of society, but in urbanizing areas, good housing can be difficult to find. People like Jussara and her family in Porte Alegre, Brazil, face a trio of critical challenges to locating affordable housing that apply in many growing cities worldwide.

We invite you to join a press briefing call for the upcoming Habitat III convening. The United Nations hosts an intergovernmental conference for member states and stakeholders every twenty years and this third convening of Habitat on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will take place in Quito, Ecuador from October 17th-20th with over 45,000 delegates in attendance.

When delegates gather in Quito for Habitat III to adopt the New Urban Agenda for sustainable cities, they should keep in mind people like Adelaida, a banker and mother in Accra, Ghana, where unreliable, expensive electricity is a challenge. As a forthcoming paper of the World Resources Report shows, ensuring access to affordable energy and the economic opportunity it brings will be essential for a sustainable, prosperous urban future.

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