The Brussels Office of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) was established in 2001 to allow for a smoother relationship and cross-fertilization between European Institutions, Member States and UN-Habitat.
The Office focuses on conducting policy dialogue, building partnerships and mobilizing resources for the achievement of the New Urban Agenda at the global level. It furthermore supports operational activities within countries of the European Union and neighbors.
The Liaison Office plays a role in assisting UN-Habitat headquarters and regional offices in identifying the priorities of European partners, developing new projects, and backstopping EU-funded programmes.
There is a very high degree of convergence of policies and priorities at the global level between the EU and the UN, and the mutual wish to see those policies succeed.
The European Consensus on Development specifically recognises cities as drivers for development and underlines the need to address urban inequality and slums. The delivery of basic services, promoting sustainable land use planning, mobility, and smart cities as well as cities´ resilience are stressed as priority areas. Furthermore, the Consensus underlines the importance of tackling climate change and adaptation to it.
With EU funding, UN-Habitat has contributed to the implementation of the vision outlined in the European Consensus on Development and the New Urban Agenda.
During the last financial framework of the European Union from 2014 to 2020, UNHabitat received a total of USD 230 million to implement projects on sustainable urban development across the globe.
In the past years (2016-2022), the Office managed several projects related to the institutional dialogue between the European Union and UN-Habitat. These projects relate to
- increasing investment in cities in developing countries,
- enhancing the governance of urban design,
- city-to-city cooperation between the EU and other developed and emerging economies,
- improving the methodology of indicators to measure the Sustainable Development Goals.
Donors and partners
There is a very high degree of convergence of policies and priorities at the global level between the European Union and the United Nations, and the mutual wish to see those policies succeed.
The EU Institutions and EU Member States were important donors to UN-Habitat. In 2014- 2020, the EU institutions were even the most important one. Out of UN-Habitat’s combined total revenue of USD 1.2 Billion for the seven years, the European Commission funded USD 230 million, and EU Member States (including the UK) funded USD 163 million.
Out of the EU funding of USD 230 million, the biggest part (64%) went thematically to post-crisis programmes. Geographically, the funding distribution was as follows: Asia Pacific 35%, Africa 23%, Arab States 22%, across regions 17%, Latin America 3%, Europe 1%. Within the EU institutions, the Directorate-General for International Partnerships was the most important partner with 75% of EU funding stemming from it, followed by the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations with 22% of funding.