Three years ago, Habitat for Humanity gathered in Quito, Ecuador for the Habitat III conference with policymakers from all levels of government, civil society organizations, academics and grassroots community activists. There, Habitat for Humanity affirmed their vision to increase access to decent shelter for 200 million people by 2036 over the course of the New Urban Agenda, the declaration signed during that conference, and called on all stakeholders to recognize the centrality of housing for sustainable development.

Now, three years later, the upcoming United Nations annual High-level Political Forum offers governments and organizations a chance to reflect on the various commitments and progress related to all the global goals and international agreements. In this case, it provides an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the progress we made since Quito, as the New Urban Agenda aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 11.1 to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums.

As new challenges emerge in our increasingly urbanizing world, the High-level Political Forum offers an opportunity to create and discuss new, innovative solutions. That’s why Habitat for Humanity colleagues will be heading to New York City to participate in the 2019 High-level Political Forum.

Each year, the United Nations reviews progress on a selection of the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The SDGs provide a framework to measure progress in sustainable development. This year, the UN will review progress on several SDGs, under the theme of empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.

Habitat for Humanity’s work to increase access to decent shelter is central to achieving equality and inclusion for all. Beyond giving families a safe place to sleep at night, housing drives outcomes in health, education and economic opportunity. Where you live and the price you pay for your home too often determines the services you can access. Access to affordable housing and secure land tenure, therefore, can act as springboard to equality and inclusion.

Increasing access to housing is foundational to increasing equality and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including those under review in 2019.

Goal 8 calls for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment.

We know that strong housing markets can be an effective empowerment tool to create substantial economic opportunities, including job creation and financial services.

Goal 10 calls for reduced inequality within and among countries.

We know that access to adequate and affordable housing for all, as well as equitable access to land for shelter, has a transformational impact on reducing broad inequalities within communities and addressing economic disparities.

Goal 13 calls us to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

We know that a family’s first line of defense against disaster is their home, and shelter is the cornerstone of recovery after any disaster. Better building practices can lead to more resilient communities and healthier families who will be better prepared for increasingly intense disasters.

Goal 16 calls us to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

We know that by creating stability through security of tenure, communities can achieve peace and inclusion by ensuring families aren’t threatened by eviction or conflicts over land use, occupancy or access.

Join us in urging all policymakers and participants at the 2019 High-level Political Forum in recognizing the centrality of housing and land in empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. Donate your signature to the petition calling on policymakers to implement policies that increase access to secure land tenure and safe shelter.