UN-Habitat & NUA

UN-Habitat & New Urban Agenda

Action Framework for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (AFINUA)

The New Urban Agenda encourages UN-Habitat and others ‘to generate evidence-based and practical guidance for [its] implementation and the urban dimension of the [SDGs], in close collaboration with Member States, local authorities, major groups and other relevant stakeholders, as well as through the mobilization of experts.’ UN-Habitat's draft Action Framework for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (AFINUA) aims to set out the essential ingredients for the implementation of the NUA, who should lead each, how they might be measured and how they link to the provisions of the NUA. The 35 key elements are grouped into the following five categories: (1) national urban policies, with six key elements, (2) urban legislation, rules and regulations, with nine key elements, (3) urban planning and design, with eight key elements, (4) urban economy and municipal finance, with six key elements, and (5) local implementation, with six key elements. Cutting across all 35 key elements are the principles of participation and governance.The action framework greatly benefited from inputs gathered at expert group meetings held in Surabaya in July 2016 and New York in April 2017.

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Scene Setter

UN-Habitat, in preparation of the Action Framework for the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda (AFINUA) is doing a review of the content of the New Urban Agenda (NUA), in order to facilitate the conversion of the NUA into a pragmatic and efficient framework of implementation. For this purpose, the contents of the NUA have been analyzed in fifteen categories, including the four cross cutting principles of the strategic plan of UN-Habitat, available in the UN Habitat website (http://nua.unhabitat.org/list1.htm#).

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  • 1. Principles and values
    (PV)

    The NUA refers in many occasions to the principles and values of the United Nations seen not only on the general framework of the human rights, as one of the three pillars of the UN, altogether with peace and security and development, but also in the agreed language within the UN family, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Humanitarian Summit, the Migration Conference and of course, the Habitat I, II and III conferences.

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  • 2. Urbanization and Sustainable Development (USD)

    The NUA consolidates the linkages between urbanization and sustainable development. This concept was strongly framed in the Rio + 20 outcome document, and has been further developed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, where urbanization has been recognized in goal 11 as a definitive contributor and a driver for development and prosperity. Although urbanization has been in the past linked to development in a generic and unspecific manner, we are currently going through a renewed theoretical recognition of urbanization as a much more powerful tool for development.

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  • 3. National Urban Policies
    (NUP)

    The NUA underlines a new approach to the role of National Governments as determinants of the final quality of urbanization. This role has been forgotten in many aspects from the theory of urbanization and is currently accepted from a new point of view, underlining the hugely important role of the National Government in the outcomes of urbanization. The National Government is the level that holds the sovereignty of the nation, and it establishes the rules and functions of the subnational and local governments.

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  • 4. Rules and Regulations
    (RR)

    The NUA highlights urban legislation as a priority area for sustainable urban development. Good urbanization cannot be conceived without a good regulatory framework. Urbanization should be based in the rule of law. Urbanization without rules and regulations tends to be spontaneous and ad-hoc. As world population grows more and more urban, we have no choice but to become more efficient in our urbanization, by establishing rules and regulations and implementing them.

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  • 5. Urban Planning and Design
    (UPD)

    Urban planning and design is an essential technical part of the urbanization process and it refers to the physical layout of buildable plots, public space, and their relationship to one another. In line with the NUA, UN-Habitat believes that urban planning of design is a fundamental priority to achieving sustainable urban development.

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  • 6. Financing Urbanization
    (FI)

    One of the novelties of the urban paradigm shift of the NUA is the contribution of urbanization to the national economy. Urbanization should be approached not as a cost, but as an investment, because the cost of urbanization is minimal compared to the value that it can generate. The key issue is to guarantee that the urban value generated is properly shared among the various actors, and not just kept by a few.

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  • 7. Urban Basic Services
    (UBS)

    With a vision of achieving universal access to basic services, the NUA commits to actions to address the backlog in urban basic services and ensure that improvement in services don't harm the environment. In pursuit of the NUA, the Paris Agenda and the SDGs, UN-Habitat seeks to implement an integrated and city-wide approach with planned urbanization at its core, to ensure the equitable access to urban basic services for all.

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  • 8. Housing and Slum upgrading
    (HSU)

    Adequate, affordable and safe housing as well as slum upgrading are endorsed by the Sustainable Development Goals, the Right to Adequate Housing and the NUA through the Housing at the Centre Approach - promoting inclusive housing solutions in the core of cities for integrated, socially and economically diverse, compact and sustainable cities and human settlements.

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  • 9. Risk Reduction
    (RiR)

    The NUA provides a charter for Action to develop comprehensive urban resilience. And UN- Habitat seeks to fulfill this charter by providing urban leaders, planners and developers with tools and information they need to calibrate and measure their resilience in order to make informed governance and investment decisions and to mobilize transformational, sustainable improvements to the physical, spatial, organizational and functional elements of cities to safeguard against multiple hazards and ensure continuity of urban processes and services.

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  • 10. Research and Capacity Development (RCD)

    Good urban policy and planning requires accurate information. The NUA refers to the relevance of research and capacity development.

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  • 11. Human rights
    (HR)

    The NUA presents a vision of cities that foster equal opportunities, through ensuring inclusion and participation of all and the elimination of discrimination. It makes the provisions that those affected most by urban development interventions and those in vulnerable situations are allowed to meaningfully participate in and benefit from urban development.

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  • 12. Climate Change
    (CC)

    Climate change is given prominence throughout the NUA, which highlights the unique role that cities can play in addressing the growth and adverse impacts of climate change. The NUA focuses on the dual approach of mitigating and adapting to climate change through urban development. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in cities is essential to mitigation, whilst increasing resilience of cities is essential for adaptation.

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  • 13. Gender
    (GE)

    The NUA strongly commits to gender, ensuring women’s and girls’ full participation and equal rights in cities. It recognizes the gap between women’s contributions to cities and what they benefit from cities, in terms of representation in urban governance, access to decent work and basic services, housing, and public spaces. As such, the NUA highlights the importance of addressing gender inequalities throughout the urban management and development process.

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  • 14. Youth
    (Y)

    The NUA specifically recognizes the multiple forms of discrimination faced by youth, and works to overcome these vulnerabilities and inequalities. Youth must be considered in urban governance processes, in order to foster equal access for youth to education, employment and infrastructure. Inclusion of youth as stakeholders and beneficiaries in these areas is a necessity to improve the successful implementation of the NUA. Special emphasis should be placed in countries that are urbanizing very rapidly, because they tend to have the higher proportion of young population.

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  • 15. Local Implementation
    (LI)

    The General Assembly requested an action oriented New Urban Agenda in order to provide a tool to guide the necessary change for the substantive improvement of urbanization for the next twenty years. The NUA insists in the local implementation of the general theories of development and urbanization.

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