New Urban Agenda

New Urban Agenda 2019-01-07T10:00:01+01:00

In a nutshell

The New Urban Agenda is the outcome document agreed upon at the Habitat III conference (UN Conference on Human Settlement)  in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016. It will guide the efforts around urbanization of a wide range of actors — nation states, city and regional leaders, international development funders, United Nations programmes and civil society — for the next 20 years. The New Urban Agenda, coming on the heels of the crystallization of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, seeks to create a mutually reinforcing relationship between urbanization and development. It is not a legally binding document. (Source: Cityscope)

Aim and focus:

A framework that sets the global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development

With the focus on how human settlements are planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed, the NUA aims on urban alignment to the international development frameworks.

Supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through its three Transformative Commitments

Legal Relevance:  Voluntary, non-binding agreement

Supported by:  167 UN Member States ratified in October 2016

Implementation period:  2016 – 2036

Monitoring & Review:

The NUA calls for a quadrennial progress report on the state of implementation to measure change processes of sustainable urban development.

The Quito Implementation Platform includes over 70 voluntary commitments  by various partners to implement the NUA.


Role of local government  

“The participation of representatives of local authorities, designated by accredited international associations in consultation with national associations of local authorities.” Habitat II, 1996, Rule 61

Special local authorities hearing, second world assembly of local authorities, and § 64 of rules and procedures; Habitat III, 2016


Some features

Transformative Commitments

Sustainable Urban Development for Social Inclusion and Ending Poverty;

Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Prosperity and Opportunities for All;

Environmentally Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development.

Effective implementation

Building the Urban Governance Structure: Establishing a Supportive Framework

Planning and Managing Urban Spatial Development

Means of Implementation


“Development enablers”: national urban policy; laws, institutions and systems of governance; and the broad urban economy.

“Operational enablers” local fiscal systems, urban planning (rules and regulations, urban design, financial plan), and basic services and infrastructure.


Provide basic services for all citizens
These services include: access to housing, safe drinking water and sanitation, nutritious food, healthcare and family planning, education, culture and access to communication technologies.

Ensure that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination
Everyone has the right to benefit from what their cities offer. The New Urban Agenda calls on city authorities to take into account the needs of women, youth and children, people with disabilities, marginalized groups, older persons, indigenous people, among other groups.

Promote measures that support cleaner cities
Tackling air pollution in cities is good both for people”s health and for the planet. In the Agenda, leaders have committed to increase their use of renewable energy, provide better and greener public transport, and sustainably manage their natural resources.

Strengthen resilience in cities to reduce the risk and the impact of disasters
Many cities have felt the impact of natural disasters and leaders have now committed to implement mitigation and adaptation measures to minimize these impacts. Some of these measures include: better urban planning, quality infrastructure and improving local responses.

Take action to address climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions
Leaders have committed to involve not just the local government but all actors of society to take climate action taking into account the Paris Agreement on climate change which seeks to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Sustainable cities that reduce emissions from energy  and build resilience can play a lead role.

Fully respect the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons regardless of their migration status
Leaders have recognized that migration poses challenges but it also brings significant contributions to urban life. Because of this, they have committed to establish measures that help migrants, refugees and IDPs make positive contributions to societies.

Improve connectivity and support innovative and green initiatives
This includes establishing partnerships with businesses and civil society to find sustainable solutions to urban challenges

Promote safe, accessible and green public spaces
Human interaction should be facilitated by urban planning, which is why the Agenda calls for an increase in public spaces such as sidewalks, cycling lanes, gardens, squares and parks. Sustainable urban design plays a key role in ensuring the liveability and prosperity of a city.




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