The High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the progress made in implementing the New Urban Agenda

Member States gathered in New York for the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on 28 April 2022 to review progress on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda six-years after its adoption at the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador. The HLM offered an opportunity for Member States to take stock and identify ways to revitalize the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, to utilize the transformative commitments and drivers of the NUA to achieve the outcomes of Agenda 2030 and of the Paris Agreement on Climate Action.

The High-Level Meeting on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda focused on action. Member States, local and regional governments, and other constituencies of the New Urban Agenda such as professional associations, grassroots organizations, and business leaders utilized the platform to highlight policy directions and programmatic initiatives they have been engaged in, and to put forward concrete commitments for the next two years. The High-Level Meeting focused on five key areas of action that have been identified in the reports on progress in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda submitted by Member States, the United Nations system, and by diverse partner networks for the preparation of the Quadrennial report of the Secretary-General:

  1. COVID-19 recovery and social protection. Fighting rising inequalities, with a focus on affordable housing and access to basic services.
  2. Boosting equitable and sustainable urban economies and predictable financing of sustainable urban development through innovative approaches.
  3. Decoupling urbanization from environmental pollution and linking communities to data and finance to strengthen climate adaptation and resilience.
  4. Promoting participatory urban planning approaches for effective and inclusive urban crisis response and prevention.
  5. Localizing the 2030 Agenda for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Four key elements informed the discussions during the High-Level Meeting:

  1. The quadrennial report of the Secretary-General on progress in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, published 15 March 2022 العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Pусский | Español ];
  2. Inputs based on deliberations of five regional forums for sustainable development that will be made available to Member States in April 2022;
  3. The summary of an ECOSOC special meeting, taking place on 21 April 2022;
  4. Dedicated side events organized immediately prior to the High-Level Meeting, on affordable housing, climate adaptation, business innovation, and local governments, taking place from 25-27 April 2022.

The one-day High-Level Meeting was streamed live-virtual, on UN WebTV and UN Youtube. A Summary from the President of the General Assembly recapitulates the key messages of the High-Level Meeting. 

Have you missed the event or would like to watch it again? Here are the links to the recordings:

UN-Habitat Position Paper on the New Urban Agenda (NUA tomorrow_today_together)

ACTION FRAMEWORK FOR THE NEW URBAN AGENDA (Afinua)

Summary Report: High-Level Meeting to assess progress on the implementation of the  New Urban Agenda

The President of the General Assembly's summary report of the high-level meeting is now available.

The summary identifies the meeting’s key messages from discussions among Member States, the United Nations system, and other stakeholders, including highlighting transformative and impactful initiatives to advance sustainable urbanisation urgently. The summary’s annexe captures declared actions and commitments by Member States during the meeting and can support further coalition building to raise ambitions.

Declared actions and commitments of the high-level meeting

87 Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda by submitting statements on progress achieved. All submitted statements were analysed to highlight actions taken by Member States over the past six years to implement the New Urban Agenda and commitments made on future actions.

These are grouped under six thematic areas:

  1. Importance of the NUA in achieving the SDGs
  2. The provision of adequate and affordable housing is among key social security measures during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Contributions by cities to mitigate climate change, adapt equitably to the effects of climate change and halt environmental degradation.
  4. Urban Displacement and Cities
  5. Urban Prosperity and Sustainable Finance
  6. Multi-Level governance and localisation
High-Level bike ride in New York to advance the New Urban Agenda

To show solidarity for non-motorised transportation and support for the High-Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda, a bike ride and an ensuing side event were co-organized by UN-Habitat, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the International Climate Initiative funded Urban Pathways project, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Road Safety Fund.

The morning bike ride featured high-level participants, including Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat; Mr. Jean Todt, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety; Ms. Heather Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of ITDP; and Mr. Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner of the Department of Transport, the City of New York, who were all sharing their enthusiasm for sustainable mobility.

The bicycle ride was followed by a side event titled “Advancing the NUA by building on the global momentum to reclaim streets for pedestrians and cyclists”, which brought together more than 150 participants in a hybrid format.

The event featured high-level participants, including the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Ms. Olga Algayerova; the mayor of Quelimane in Mozambique, Mr. Manuel de Araújo; and the Governor of the Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile, Claudio Benjamín Orrego.

“Cycling can bring us very many benefits in terms of social, economic and environmental development,” Ms. Algayerova said in her opening remarks. She further shared her experience commuting to work on an electric bike during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discussions highlighted that there is a unique window of opportunity for change in the way we organize our transport systems, building on the momentum of COVID-19 and cities’ efforts to expand walking and cycling.

The participants agreed that a key message to be conveyed to the Member States participating in the High-Level Meeting was that cycling infrastructures -- just like any other city infrastructure networks such as water, sewage, or power-- are critical to achieving sustainable and equitable cities envisioned in the New Urban Agenda.

Source: UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat and partners call for more robust action to end homelessness

A special event on Affordable Housing and Ending Homelessness was held in the framework of the High-Level Meeting Week on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

This meeting builds on the momentum generated by the resolution “Inclusive policies and programmes to address homelessness, including in the aftermath of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which was tabled by Algeria, Djibouti, Madagascar and Senegal on behalf of the African Group and adopted in January 2022 at the General Assembly.

The meeting was attended by over 70 in-person and online representatives, as well as those from a broad coalition of stakeholders, including 25 Member States, 6 local authorities and 15 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Through the statements at the meeting, five key themes emerged.

First, participants of the meeting emphasised that it is critical to recognise housing as a human right. The participants at the meeting reiterated that the protection of the human right to housing should always be placed above property rights and the use of housing as a commodity.

Second, moving forward on addressing homelessness, it is important to recognise the structural causes of homelessness, which include unemployment, lack of education, intergenerational poverty, and unaffordable housing markets, among others – and to address homelessness in this broader context including issues of substance abuse and domestic violence.

Third, there was a broad call to facilitate ending homelessness through international collaboration, exchange of best practices and mutual learning.

Fourth, the meeting revealed a broad consensus on the need to monitor homelessness to hold governments accountable for their commitments to end homelessness. Monitoring the prevalence of homelessness is necessary to evaluate the success of programs. Monitoring also necessitates clear definitions of different kinds of homelessness so that disaggregated data can be collected.

Fifth, the COVID-19 pandemic increased homelessness by widening the structural causes of homelessness and showed how pandemics catalysed governments to take action and demonstrated that if governments show political will, homelessness can be addressed. The City of Tshwane, South Africa, built 27 temporary COVID-19 shelters, housing 2000 people in just 10 days, stating that: “In 10 days, we managed what we could not do in 10 years,” said Stephan de Beer from Tshwane, South Africa. Post-pandemic, it is important to such relief measures are formalized and institutionalized into long-term solutions.

Moving forward, UN-Habitat will work in close collaboration with stakeholders committed to ending homelessness, who can reach out through Christophe Lalande, UN-Habitat’s Lead Housing Specialist in the Land, housing and shelter section (Christophe.lalande@un.org).

The collaboration will help to prepare a report to the General Assembly on the progress that has been achieved and challenges that remain in the implementation of inclusive social development policies and programmes to address homelessness. These include recommendations for possible indicators of social protection and access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Source: UN-Habitat

HLM Infographic