Zero draft on the #NewUrbanAgenda


+ info: Habitat III


For the first time in history, more than half of humanity lives in urban areas. By 2050, this proportion will reach nearly 70%, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends, intensifying its social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental challenges and opportunities.

Since the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver in 1976, we have seen dramatic improvements in the quality of life of millions of urban inhabitants, including slum dwellers and others taken out of poverty. However, we are still far from understanding and capitalizing on the positive aspects of urbanization and its potential contributions to sustainable development.

Urbanization is not only an outcome of development, but a formidable engine to achieve development. Cities are key to tackling global challenges, such as poverty, social inequalities, and climate change. With more than 80% of global GDP generated in cities, urbanization, if managed well can contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth, in harmony with nature, by addressing inequalities, increasing productivity, and promoting job creation, social well-being, citizen participation, innovation and emerging ideas. Cities are interlinked in regional, national, or even global networks. Strong national systems of cities and other human settlements are the hubs of balanced territorial development.

The battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities. By 2050, the urban population alone will be larger than the current total world population, posing massive sustainability challenges in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, and jobs among others. There is a need for a radical paradigm shift in the way cities and human settlements are planned, developed, governed and managed. The decisions we make today will shape our common urban future.

After the historic adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — including the Sustainable Development Goals–, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, the Istanbul Plan for Action on Least Developed Countries, and other multilateral processes, we take full account of the need to effectively and efficiently implement our commitments. The New Urban Agenda is the first step for operationalizing sustainable development in an integrated and coordinated way at global, regional, national, sub-national and local levels. By creating an action-oriented roadmap for implementation, the New Urban Agenda will drive the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Goal 11, of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, as well as other targets across the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Habitat Agenda in 1996 called for a partnership action plan to improve the quality of life in our cities and human settlements. The New Urban Agenda will secure renewed political commitment for sustainable urban development, assessing accomplishments to date, addressing poverty, and identifying and addressing new and emerging challenges, within innovative and ambitious collaboration frameworks integrating all actors. It is time to build strategic partnerships among governments at the global, regional, national, sub-national and local levels to create strong national systems of cities and urban areas, to ensure a broader financing base for investments and to facilitate more balanced territorial development. Local and subnational governments play a fundamental role in ensuring the safety, security, livelihoods, and wellbeing of our communities.

The New Urban Agenda aims to be concise, action-oriented, forward-looking, universal, and spatially integrative, recognizing distinct globally evolving trends, regional specificity, and transformative potential, as well as taking into account a wide range of realities and contexts, cultures, and historical urban and human settlements landscapes, avoiding a one-size fits-all approach.