Urbanization and Sustainable Development: A United Nations System Input to a New Urban Agenda

Urbanization and Sustainable Development: A United Nations System Input to a New Urban Agenda

Urbanization is one of the most important global trends of the 21st century. It is a transformative force that can be harnessed to enhance economic growth, productivity and development. However, today’s most common urbanization patterns are often not environmentally, socially, politically and economically sustainable.  The international community is gathering in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016 for the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) to renew its global commitment to sustainable urbanization and a “New Urban Agenda.”

As an input to the conference, the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), in April 2016, adopted a Statement in with the Board’s members committed to promoting and supporting policies for achieving sustainable and equitable urban development in order to strengthen the contribution of urbanization to economic growth and employment creation, and pledged their collective support to Member States in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.  

CEB also endorsed a policy paper on “Urbanization and Sustainable Development: A UN System Input to A New Urban Agenda” as substantive input to Habitat III.  The paper outlines ten guiding principles on how urbanization could contribute to sustainable development, and ten levers of change by which the UN system could turn the principles into action.  As such, the paper proposes a vision for sustainable urbanization and concrete steps for its implementation.

The paper is the outcome of a two-year inter-agency consultation process, undertaken within the context of HLCP and under the leadership of UN-Habitat, and represents the current, joint thinking of the UN system on the issue of sustainable urbanization.  The paper is accompanied by an annex which includes detailed information on individual and collective initiatives on the topic.

  • Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Urbanization
  • Chief Executives Board (CEB)
  • Joint Statements


  • Urbanization and Sustainable Development_a UN system input to the New Urban Agenda-ODS.pdf

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