Five resolutions were adopted, including one approving the new Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2023, as well as a decision on the arrangements for the transition towards the new governance structure and a Ministerial Declaration on innovation for better quality of life in cities and communities.
In addition, countries pledged more than USD 150 million in support for the organization’s work.
31 May 2019: The inaugural session of the UN-Habitat Assembly focused on delivering results for addressing urban challenges. The discussions and outcomes from the week-long meeting directly link to other multilateral development meetings and processes, including the September 2019 Climate Action Summit and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UN-Habitat Assembly convened following UN General Assembly Resolution 73/239, which dissolved the UN-Habitat Governing Council as a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and replaced it with the UN-Habitat Assembly, aimed at strengthening the organization through its organizational structure.
In his opening message to the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, via video message, stressed that the first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly comes at an important juncture as 60% of the urban infrastructure needed by 2030 is yet to be built. He emphasized that well-planned cities can facilitate economic growth and sustainable low-emission development, while unplanned urbanization could generate problems such as pollution, crime, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disaster, lack of affordable housing, and harmful emissions.
During its first session, the UN-Habitat Assembly succeeded in setting up the organizational components necessary for its functioning, including electing officials and operationalizing the Executive Board.
The Assembly also delivered outcomes important for achieving its mandate, which is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. In this regard, speakers highlighted that more than one-third of the SDG targets have an urban component. Five resolutions were adopted, including one approving the new Strategic Plan for the period 2020-2023, as well as a decision on the arrangements for the transition towards the new governance structure and a Ministerial Declaration on innovation for better quality of life in cities and communities.
At the end of the meeting, with countries having pledged more than USD 150 million in support for the organization’s work, UN-Habitat’s priorities had been concretized through resolutions on, inter alia:
- safer cities and human settlements;
- capacity building for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
- gender equality to support inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and human settlements; and
- enhancing urban-rural linkages for sustainable urbanization.
The first session of the UN-Habitat Assembly convened at the UN Office at Nairobi, Kenya from 27-31 May 2019. Delegates from 127 countries attended the event, including four Heads of State and Government and 49 ministers. Over one-third of the more than 2,900 delegates attending the Assembly came from national governments, 129 participants represented local governments, including over 60 mayors, and approximately 470 participants represented non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia, and the private sector. [IISD RS Coverage of UN-Habitat Assembly]