Now that the New Urban Agenda is a reality – signed by 167 nations at the United Nations Habitat III Conference – the focus has shifted to implementation and actions needed to address its sweeping vision.  At Habitat III, Habitat for Humanity announced its commitments to, increase housing access and affordability to housing for nearly 40 million people by 2020.  We publicly committed to raise awareness and improve policies and systems to help 10 million people secure access to land for shelter under our Solid Ground campaign; introduced a new urban approach to promote sustainable cities and develop more integrated and targeted programs in urban areas; through the new Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, we launched a market-systems approach to accelerate private sector solutions.  

Habitat for Humanity is now taking steps to meet its commitments made at Habitat III and calling on all stakeholders – particularly national governments and the United Nations – with policy recommendations to help create an enabling environment and establish urban plans and policies that prioritize adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure, and community-led development, fostering sustainable cities where everyone has a decent place to live.

National governments committed to the principles of a better and more sustainable future in which all people have equal rights and access to the benefits and opportunities of cities. We therefore call on national governments to fully implement the New Urban Agenda as follows:   

  1. Establish country-led commissions or other bodies composed of diverse stakeholders and dedicated to advancing plans, funding and initiatives related to the New Urban Agenda. 
  2. Strengthen and enact urban laws and regulations, especially around housing and land, and support subnational and local level reviews which take into account the principle of subsidiarity.
  3. Develop a financial plan which serves as an overarching framework and contributes to the overall understanding of governance structures and fiscal conditions, as well as supporting cities as they develop their own complementary plans. 
  4. Enable broad-based, multi-level stakeholder participation through coalitions, networks and partnerships, such the General Assembly of Partners, World Urban Campaign, Global Land Tool Network, and the Right to the City, among others; and,    
  5. Collect and promote open, accessible, and disaggregated data as a way to measure progress and shortfalls in meeting objectives of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.   

The United Nations also has an important leadership and coordination role to play in implementing the New Urban Agenda, and we call on the United Nations to:

  1. Centralize follow-up and review as a way to coordinate implementation of the New Urban Agenda, such as the recently developed UN-Habitat Action Framework for Implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
  2. Strengthen UN-Habitat and implementation platforms to be efficient and effective.
  3. Increase funding, research and capacity for cities to ensure urban growth is inclusive and sustainable.    
  4. Promote cross-sectoral collaboration so that various sectors and disciplines work together to align their complementary strengths and weaknesses.

Already, we are seeing some progress with national governments building out plans to fulfill the spirit of the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat developing key frameworks for implementation, and stakeholders addressing the key urban challenges through forums and summits. By implementing these priorities we hope to accomplish together a vision of a better life for more people and meet the present and future demands of urbanization. Habitat for Humanity stands ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure that we successfully implement the New Urban Agenda. To stand with us, take action by signing our petition in support of these recommendations.