Five things to know about the New Urban Agenda

by Rebekah Revello

It has been eight months since the New Urban Agenda was adopted by the United Nations at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador. Key elements of the NUA and the Sustainable Development Goals are being adopted in countries around the world. Here are a few key things to know about the New Urban Agenda.


It’s a United Nations-Adopted Resolution

A 29 page document designed to ensure progress in global urban sustainability, it was passed at the United Nations Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. Along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it serves as a guideline for nations, civil society, and the private sector to achieve inclusive urban development.

It’s a step towards global urban sustainability

The New Urban Agenda has nine key commitments: providing basic services for all citizens; ensuring that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination; promoting measures that support cleaner cities; strengthening resilience in cities to reduce the risk and the impact of disasters; taking action to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions; fully respecting the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons regardless of their migration status; improving connectivity and supporting innovative and green initiatives; and promoting safe, accessible and green public spaces.

Anyone can be involved

From government to civil society to the private sector, everyone can do their part to implement and to advocate for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

Funding across sectors is more important than ever

In a world where global development funding is in a precarious spot, investment in the SDGs and the NUA from the private sector and civil society is necessary to achieve global urban sustainability by 2030.

It embraces the city as a whole

The New Urban Agenda aims to do something different than its predecessors: look at the city as a living, breathing organism. Previous efforts to create sustainable cities have looked at issues like poverty, sanitation, climate change and infrastructure as separate mountains to climb. Instead, the New Urban Agenda strives to look at these issues as part of an integrated system, and sees that the success of the city and all urban people depends on the success of the whole.