A high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly is currently underway to approve a new global standard for sustainable urban development.
The two-day meeting, which is taking place from 5 to 6 September in New York, follows the agreement by UN Member States to the New Urban Agenda (NUA), which was laid out in Ecuador last October. It is intended that the NUA and its repercussions will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities. Specifically, this most recent meeting is aimed at maintaining the momentum around the implementation of last year’s NUA agenda.
The meeting will also provide a forum for member states to discuss the positioning of UN-Habitat, the UN’s current program setting out workable ways toward a better urban future.
Last month, a report from a high-level review panel scrutinised the role of UN-Habitat. The panel surmised that “UN-Habitat has limitations in accountability, transparency and efficiency, that its resources have been inadequate, insecure and unpredictable, and that the need to chase funds has caused it to stray from its normative mandate”.
At the top of the panel’s recommendations is to “save, stabilise and then rapidly strengthen UN-Habitat to equip it for a renewed role based on the 2030 Agenda and the NUA”.
The NUA coincides with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These goals set out to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Goal 11 has been specifically laid out to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.