‘New Urban Agenda,’ reform of UN-Habitat take spotlight at high-level General Assembly talks

New urban agendaThe United Nations deputy chief today said that the Organization is failing to deliver sufficiently in cities, and its work in and on urban areas must be reinvigorated, as the General Assembly kicked off a high-level meeting on a new UN approach to the rapidly urbanizing world.

The meeting will discuss how the New Urban Agenda” has been implemented since its adoption in October 2016 at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known as Habitat III, while examining the recommendations put forth by an independent panel reviewing the effectiveness of UN-Habitat.

It will also address the measures contained in the Report of the Secretary General’s Independent Panel to Assess, Enhance Effectiveness of UN-Habitat after Adoption of New Urban Agenda, which was published at the beginning of August 2017.

The outcome will serve as an input to the General Assembly’s main body dealing with economic and financial issues the (Second Committee), which will consider action to be taken in the light of these recommendations during its forthcoming substantive session this fall.

While cities are hubs of promise, jobs, technology and economic development, they are also the epicentre of greenhouse gas emissions and many of the challenges of sustainability.

In his remarks, General Assembly President Peter Thomson stressed the importance of capitalizing on the enormous social and economic opportunities provided by mass urbanisation to lift people out of poverty, drive inclusive economic growth, promote equality, strengthen community resilience, and of course, effectively combat climate change.

Secondly, strategic partnerships have to be strengthened between governments at all levels, community leaders, civil society, and the business community, to foster coherent approaches to urban development.

Then there is the task of harnessing the exponential potential of science, technology and innovation to drive smart new approaches towards sustainable urbanisation and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr. Thomson said.

And finally, the UN system must be able to effectively serve Member States in achieving these universal agendas, with UN-Habitat strongly positioned to support implementation of the New Urban Agenda, he said.