Have UN Member States listened to cities in the latest draft of the New Urban Agenda for Habitat III?
The latest draft of the New Urban Agenda reveals that the voices of cities and territories are having an impact, but Habitat III must go further if it is not to be a missed opportunity to harness urbanization for sustainable development, says UCLG.
- There is increased recognition of the active role that local and regional governments must play in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
- The Agenda has recognized that decisions must be taken as close to citizens as possible, which means giving more powers to local and regional governments.
- The reference to the Right to the City has been maintained in the latest draft, thanks to the pressure from civil society and local and regional governments. Local and regional governments have taken on the Right to the City as the principle that should guide urban development. Its inclusion in the New Urban Agenda will be an important basis from which to promote the Right to the City in the global agenda going forward.
- The Agenda has explicitly recognized the need to strengthen local and regional governments’ capacities in finance, planning, governance, administration and data-management.
- The Agenda has also called for local and regional governments to play an active role in the follow-up and review of the New Urban Agenda, and for reporting to respond to local and national circumstances, capacities, needs, and priorities.
- The recognition of the World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments as engagement mechanisms is a great step forward. However the New Urban Agenda misses an historic opportunity to include sub-national governments as fully-fledged actors in development policy by giving them a seat at the global decision-making table.
- The Agenda does not yet address the urban and multi-level governance policies that are necessary for transformational change in a context of rapid urbanization. Habitat III risks being a missed opportunity to harness local governance to create inclusive, democratic, sustainable development for all.
- The Agenda fails to make strong and deep enough links between Habitat III and the SDGs, particularly SDG 11 on sustainable cities and human settlements. It is essential that the implementation and monitoring of these agendas are linked up on the ground.