The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development has wrapped up in Quito, Ecuador, with delegations adopting the New Urban Agenda – a new framework that that lays out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanization.
“We have analyzed and discussed the challenges that our cities are facing and have [agreed] on a common roadmap for the 20 years to come,” Joan Clos, Secretary-General of the conference and Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), told participants at the closing session.
The conference, hosted by the city of Quito drew around 36,000 people from 167 different countries over the past week and a reported 50,000 to the various associated exhibition areas.
Clos said that the document should be seen as an extension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by 193 Member States of the UN in September 2015.
That Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognized the power of cities and towns, which will constitute up to 70 per cent of the world population by 2050, to be the engine for sustainable growth in the future, a concept further emphasized in the New Urban Agenda.
Habitat III brought together mayors, local and regional authorities, civil society and community groups, the private sector and urban planners.
In the sidelines of the formal discussions, dozens of side and parallel events brought partners together to debate the more intricate areas of urbanization, such as the right of women and youth to the city, the importance of public space and how to finance the New Urban Agenda.
Above all, Clos said, the New Urban Agenda is: “A commitment that we will all together take the responsibility…[for the] direction of the development of our common urbanizing world.”