New Urban Agenda adopted at Habitat III

From UN-Habitat (21 October 2016) – “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.”

The New Urban Agenda by UN Habitat sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, and will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities. The New Urban Agenda is a roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment (United Nations, 2017)

A short introduction:

A Summary of the New Urban Agenda:

  • The New Urban Agenda is forward looking, and focused on problem solving with clear means of implementation.
  • It adopts a city-wide approach to development with concrete strategies and actions, introducing clear funding mechanisms and effective means of monitoring.
  • The agenda conveys a sense of urgency in the implementation of policies and actions that cannot depend on political schedules or opportunistic moments, but in clear and well-defined implementation plans.
  • The new agenda seeks to create a mutually reinforcing relationship between urbanisation and development, with the aim that they become parallel vehicles for sustainable development.
  • The New Urban Agenda establishes links to other global agreements and agendas and to be clearly connected to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • The vision of the New Urban agenda can be steered to induce transformative change promoting a new urbanisation model that is universal and adaptable to different national circumstances.


Break out of sections:

  1. Shared Vision; Principles and Commitments
  2. Call for Action
  3. Quito Implementation Plan for the New Urban Agenda
  4. The Transformative Commitments for Sustainable Urban Development
  5. Effective Implementation
  6. Follow-up and Review


  1. Focus on Urban Design and Planning
  2. Sub-National and Local Governments
  3. The Role of Participatory and “Bottom-Up” Practices
  4. Innovation, Data and Technology

More information about the agenda can be found here