UN-Habitat & New Urban Agenda

2. Urbanization and Sustainable Development (USD)

Article 2. By 2050, the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double, making urbanization one of the twenty-first century’s most transformative trends. Populations, economic activities, social and cultural interactions, as well as environmental and humanitarian impacts are increasingly concentrated in cities, and this poses massive sustainability challenges in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety and natural resources, among others.

Article 3. Since the United Nations Conferences on Human Settlements in Vancouver in 1976 and in Istanbul in 1996, and the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000, we have seen improvements in the quality of life of millions of urban inhabitants, including slum and informal-settlement dwellers. However, the persistence of multiple forms of poverty, growing inequalities and environmental degradation remain among the major obstacles to sustainable development worldwide, with social and economic exclusion and spatial segregation often an irrefutable reality in cities and human settlements.

Article 4. We are still far from adequately addressing these and other existing and emerging challenges, and there is a need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by urbanization as an engine of sustained and inclusive economic growth, social and cultural development, and environmental protection, and of its potential contributions to the achievement of transformative and sustainable development.

Article 5. (Also GE) By readdressing the way cities and human settlements are planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed, the New Urban Agenda will help to end poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions; reduce inequalities; promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in order to fully harness their vital contribution to sustainable development; improve human health and well-being; foster resilience; and protect the environment.

Article 9. The New Urban Agenda reaffirms our global commitment to sustainable urban development as a critical step for realizing sustainable development in an integrated and coordinated manner at the global, regional, national, subnational and local levels, with the participation of all relevant actors. The implementation of the New Urban Agenda contributes to the implementation and localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in an integrated manner, and to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, including Goal 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Article 10. The New Urban Agenda acknowledges that culture and cultural diversity are sources of enrichment for humankind and provide an important contribution to the sustainable development of cities, human settlements and citizens, empowering them to play an active and unique role in development initiatives. The New Urban Agenda further recognizes that culture should be taken into account in the promotion and implementation of new sustainable consumption and production patterns that contribute to the responsible use of resources and address the adverse impact of climate change.

Article 15(a). (Also UPD) Readdress the way we plan, finance, develop, govern and manage cities and human settlements, recognizing sustainable urban and territorial development as essential to the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for all.

Article 18. We reaffirm all the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including, inter alia, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, as set out in principle 7.

Article 22. We adopt this New Urban Agenda as a collective vision and political commitment to promote and realize sustainable urban development, and as a historic opportunity to leverage the key role of cities and human settlements as drivers of sustainable development in an increasingly urbanized world.

Article 23. We resolve to implement the New Urban Agenda as a key instrument for enabling national, subnational and local governments and all relevant stakeholders to achieve sustainable urban development.

Article 24. To fully harness the potential of sustainable urban development, we make the following transformative commitments through an urban paradigm shift grounded in the integrated and indivisible dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental.

Article 26. (Also NUP, GE, CC, HR) We commit ourselves to urban and rural development that is people-centred, protects the planet, and is age- and gender-responsive, and to the realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, facilitating living together, ending all forms of discrimination and violence, and empowering all individuals and communities while enabling their full and meaningful participation. We further commit ourselves to promoting culture and respect for diversity and equality as key elements in the humanization of our cities and human settlements.

Article 27. We reaffirm our pledge that no one will be left behind and commit ourselves to promoting equally shared opportunities and benefits that urbanization can offer, and that enable all inhabitants, whether living in formal or informal settlements, to lead decent, dignified and rewarding lives and to achieve their full human potential.

Article 49. (Also NUP) We commit ourselves to supporting territorial systems that integrate urban and rural functions into the national and subnational spatial frameworks and the systems of cities and human settlements, thus promoting sustainable management and use of natural resources and land, ensuring reliable supply and value chains that connect urban and rural supply and demand to foster equitable regional development across the urban–rural continuum and fill social, economic and territorial gaps.

Article 53. (Also UPD) We commit ourselves to promoting safe, inclusive, accessible, green and quality public spaces as drivers of social and economic development, in order to sustainably leverage their potential to generate increased social and economic value, including property value, and to facilitate business and public and private investments and livelihood opportunities for all.

Article 56. We commit ourselves to increasing economic productivity, as appropriate, by providing the labour force with access to income-earning opportunities, knowledge, skills and educational facilities that contribute to an innovative and competitive urban economy. We also commit ourselves to increasing economic productivity through the promotion of full and productive employment, and decent work and livelihood opportunities in cities and human settlements.

Article 57. (Also HR, GE, Y) We commit ourselves to promoting, as appropriate, full and productive employment, decent work for all and livelihood opportunities in cities and human settlements, with special attention to the needs and potential of women, youth, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and local communities, refugees and internally displaced persons, and migrants, particularly the poorest and those in vulnerable situations, and to promote non-discriminatory access to legal income-earning opportunities.

Article 58. (Also CC) We commit ourselves to promoting an enabling, fair and responsible business environment based on the principles of environmental sustainabilityand inclusive prosperity, promoting investments, innovations and entrepreneurship. We also commit ourselves to addressing the challenges faced by local business communities, through supporting micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives throughout the value chain, in particular businesses and enterprises in the social and solidarity economy, operating in both the formal and informal economies.

Article 59. We commit ourselves to recognizing the contribution of the working poor in the informal economy, particularly women, including unpaid, domestic and migrant workers, to the urban economies, taking into account national circumstances. Their livelihoods, working conditions and income security, legal and social protection, access to skills, assets and other support services, and voice and representation should be enhanced. A progressive transition of workers and economic units to the formal economy will be developed by adopting a balanced approach, combining incentives and compliance measures, while promoting preservation and improvement of existing livelihoods. We will take into account specific national circumstances, legislation, policies, practices and priorities for the transition to the formal economy.

Article 61. (Also Y) We commit ourselves to harnessing the urban demographic dividend, where applicable, and to promoting access for youth to education, skills development and employment to achieve increased productivity and shared prosperity in cities and human settlements. Girls and boys, young women and young men are key agents of change in creating a better future and when empowered they have great potential to advocate on behalf of themselves and their communities. Ensuring more and better opportunities for their meaningful participation will be essential for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

Article 63. (Also CC) We recognize that cities and human settlements face unprecedented threats from unsustainable consumption and production patterns, loss of biodiversity, pressure on ecosystems, pollution, natural and human-made disasters, and climate change and its related risks, undermining the efforts to end poverty in all its forms and dimensions and to achieve sustainable development. Given cities’ demographic trends and their central role in the global economy, in the mitigation and adaptation efforts related to climate change, and in the use of resources and ecosystems, the way they are planned, financed, developed, built, governed and managed has a direct impact on sustainability and resilience well beyond urban boundaries.