Through a declaration, ministers attending the UN-Habitat Assembly (UNHA) committed to advancing multilateral engagement and international cooperation to address urban crises, SDG localization, and the need for adequate housing. The ministers highlighted the importance of inclusive urban planning, multi-level governance, urban climate change adaptation and mitigation, response to natural disasters, and sustainable finance approaches.

Titled, ‘A Sustainable Urban Future through Inclusive and Effective Multilateralism: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Times of Global Crisis,’ the Ministerial Declaration reaffirms the ministers’ commitment to the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and its implementation plan, pledging that no one will be left behind.

The ministers responsible for cities and human settlements also, inter alia:

  • Welcome the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan adopted at UNFCCC COP 27, which recognizes the role of cities in addressing and responding to climate change, and highlight the urgent need for cooperative action in this regard;
  • Agree that inclusive and effective action requires a multi-level, multi-stakeholder, and multi-sectoral approach, with strong attention to data systems and knowledge for evidence-based policies and results monitoring, innovation, advocacy and communication, partnerships, capacity building, and digital transformation for accelerated progress; and
  • Commit to strengthening UN-Habitat so that it can deliver effectively on its mandate by providing financial resources and by exploring innovative resource mobilization options.

The ministers encourage Member States and relevant stakeholders to use inclusive and effective multilateralism and international cooperation to, among other actions:

  • Explore mechanisms and platforms for advancing sustainable solutions to progressively achieving the full realization of the right to adequate housing;
  • Explore just urban pathways for environmental action and sustainable consumption and production;
  • Promote inclusive urban recovery frameworks that empower cities to respond to natural and human-made urban crises;
  • Strengthen SDG localization and empower local and regional authorities and governments as central actors to accelerate action to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and
  • Promote people-centered smart city approaches by enhancing UN-Habitat’s existing work on smart cities.

According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting, the Assembly also adopted five decisions – and ten resolutions, which, together with the Ministerial Declaration, “set the organization’s marching orders for the next four years.”

The ENB highlights that the resolution on equitable financing and effective monitoring of the implementation of the Assembly’s resolutions “creates an urban action funding window within the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation to attract and manage funds from donors to fund the implementation of the UNHA resolutions.”

The ENB analysis of the meeting also notes that while the meeting offered an opportunity “to reflect on how to leverage UN-Habitat’s position and progress on sustainable urbanization,” several observers questioned whether the Assembly realized this potential. With SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) among the Goals to be reviewed in depth at this year’s session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), some lamented “the limited attention to reviewing global progress towards SDG 11 [and] its targets and indicators,” as well as “a lack of messaging for the SDG Summit in September 2023 and the 2024 Summit of the Future.”

The Second Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly (UNHA2) convened in hybrid format in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5-9 June 2023. [ENB Coverage of UNHA2]