Getting ready for the New Urban Agenda

In less than a month, nations will gather in Quito, Ecuador to adopt the New Urban Agenda at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito. ICLEI will be on the ground in Quito with a full agenda throughout the conference.

The official adoption of the New Urban Agenda will mark an important moment for cities across the world, as it will help define the course for sustainable urbanization in the coming decades. Whereas nations will agree on the framework and mechanisms for sustainable urbanization through the NUA, cities will have a critical role in implementing specific actions that will lead to a global transformation.

This is why ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability will be on the ground in Quito with a strong delegation of over 100 local leaders from 30 countries with an enduring commitment to sustainability.

ICLEI will engage in the official Habitat III proceedings, host a series of side events that zero in on concrete local action and participate in over 45 conference-related activities.

Official Habitat III proceedings

ICLEI is a member of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, a coordinating mechanism for local government networks to provide official input into the Habitat III process. ICLEI will actively represent local governments in the official conference dialogues, roundtables and special sessions at the Second World Assembly of Local Governments. This assembly is an essential forum in Quito through which cities will provide input to the New Urban Agenda, and is the third and final event in a three-part series hosted by the Global Taskforce.

Thematic events

To complement the high-level political negotiations, ICLEI is a key partner in a number of thematic events that will pave a path for action in key thematic areas, linking them with the New Urban Agenda and key global sustainability frameworks:

  • EcoMobility Days: ICLEI is leading five-day program on EcoMobility that convenes the global EcoMobility Alliance to map pathways for sustainable urban mobility.
  • “Fostering Renewables through Innovation”: This ICLEI Habitat III networking event is designed to help anchor renewable energy in the New Urban Agenda by exploring frameworks and mechanisms that position cities to move towards 100 percent renewable energy.
  • Resilient Cities (Half-)Day: At this half-day event on resilient cities, participants will look at effective examples of resilience, options for multilevel cooperation, global and regional tools for resilience, among other topics that connect urban resilience-building with the New Urban Agenda.
  • Climate: ICLEI is an active partner in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy event in which local representatives will help ensure that the current climate change agenda is mainstreamed in the New Urban Agenda.

Other activities

ICLEI will be involved in numerous other events outlining the commitments of cities around the world.

To show that cities are a united front in charting a sustainable path, ICLEI will present the commitments of European cities and towns that have voiced their commitment to sociocultural, socioeconomic and technological transformations through the Basque Declaration.

ICLEI will also host an event with the World Resource Institute (WRI) focusing on the state of cities across the world, and how they are responding. WRI will present its latest report on the state of cities, followed by a response from ICLEI that sheds light on how local leaders are responding to existing challenges while aligning their actions with global frameworks.

Since the beginning of the Habitat III process, ICLEI has been involved as a network representing local and regional governments, along with the Global Taskforce. ICLEI has responded to the drafts of the New Urban Agenda, welcoming its ambitions and each time calling for stronger mechanisms for implementation and a solid link between the NUA and the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) – particularly the urban SDG (SDG 11).

After the last round of negotiations that took place at the United Nations Headquarters in September, ICLEI is increasingly confident that Habitat III can place sustainable urbanization at the core of the debate on sustainable development and climate change by connecting the New Urban Agenda to the existing global frameworks.

Whatever the outcomes of the conference, all actors and levels of government must come together to build a sustainable future.

More information:

A full rundown of key official proceedings as well as ICLEI events and activities can be found in this guide and on the ICLEI Habitat III webpage.



Image: "Quito" by Florent Figon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.



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