UN Habitat III meeting agrees common priorities on city management

24 Oct 16

The United Nations has adopted an action plan to guide international policy on managing cities for the coming decades.

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City planning

Photo: Julius Mwelu/UN Habitat

Its Habitat III conference in Quito attracted some 36,000 attendees from 167 countries, drawn from fields including local and regional authorities, civil society groups and urban planners.

Habitat conferences are held by the UN every 20 years, the previous two having been in Istanbul and Vancouver.

They debate the challenges facing cities, which the UN said were expected to accommodate up to 70% of the world population by 2050.

The latest meeting in Quito adopted New Urban Agenda, which does not bind national or city governments to specific targets, but is intended to serve as a shared vision of standards for making urban areas safer, resilient and more sustainable.

It urges cities to tackle pollution, combat discrimination, improve connectivity and promote safe green public spaces.

Joan Clos, executive director of the UN Human Settlements Programme, said: “We have analysed and discussed the challenges that our cities are facing and have [agreed] on a common roadmap for the 20 years to come.”

He said it should be seen as an extension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by 193 Member States of the UN in September 2015, which included 17 sustainable development goals

Clos told the conference’s closing plenary session: “I encourage national, sub-national and local governments to use the New Urban Agenda as a key instrument for planning and policy development for sustainable urbanisation.”

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