Around 150 people attended a Partnership and Pledging Conference at the first UN-Habitat Assembly where over US$152 million in contributions and commitments were announced to finance UN-Habitat’s work to support implementation urban dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The funds came from 38 governments, 10 local governments, and 32 other organizations including 7 companies, in a show of commitment for achieving urban related SDGs.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat outlined her strategic plan aimed to help countries reduce spatial inequality and poverty, enhance prosperity of cities, strengthen climate change action, improve the urban environment, and mitigate and respond to urban crises.
She said that the plan would be guided by the principles of social inclusion and human rights for all including women, children, youth and older persons, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups. She added that UN-Habitat would be a centre of excellence, providing a point of reference on data, norms, standards, legal frameworks, policies, strategies and urban innovations.
Representing the European Commission, Mr. Lars Gronvald from the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development said that unlike before, sustainable urbanization is now at the forefront of the EC’s development strategy because of its linkage to the transformation of society and sustainability. He stressed the need for different types for partnerships to implement the urban agenda. The EC is a leading donor, and supports major urban programmes executed by UN-Habitat.
The importance of regional partnerships was highlighted by MINURVI’s President and Housing Minister of Costa Rica, Ms. Irene Campos Gómez. The work done by the inter-governmental ministerial body covering 35 countries in Latin America includes data collection, capacity building and implementation of pilot programmes. She underscored the importance of preferential loans combined with capacity building to allow local and national governments to implement projects.
Meanwhile, Naser Adel Khraibut, responsible for Planning and Design for Housing Welfare in Kuwait, outlined the country’s partnership with UN-Habitat for in Kuwait and the wider Middle Eastern region on urban policy and planning, capacity building, knowledge exchange. In addition to urban programmes in the country, Kuwait is a major supporter of rehabilitation programmes Iraq, Syria and Yemen. “If a village collaborates, it will never be afraid” he concluded with a wise saying from his country urging all to be part of the solution.
And from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, where the current population is fifty times that of 1972, Mayor Armand Roland Béouindé highlighted the need for integrated development encompassing security, housing, health, mobility, land security, waste management, environmental protection and equitable access to urban social services. His city promotes the use of local materials and appropriate technologies to support urban development. He said the will to mobilize resources, tools and capacity building was important for managing emerging cities and added UN-Habitat was an important partner for local governments.
The private sector plays an important role in providing technologies for sustainable urbanization. Microsoft’s Alexandre Pinho, Global lead for the United Nations at Microsoft, outlined the company’s partnerships with the United Nations and other development actors. The company has moved from just providing resources through corporate social responsibility to strategic partnerships to ensure fit for purpose use of technology. He highlighted the role of cities as important hubs of opportunity and where the digital dimension is critical in planning innovative and sustainable urban development. “Start with the outcomes and then build the partnerships you need to create a larger impact” , he advised.
Following the engaging panel discussion, Member States, speakers from the floor included Norway, a leading supporter for UN-Habitat’s normative work, urged other Member States to provide core funding for predictability, flexibility to fund new priorities and to facilitate cooperation with different partners.
Sweden also urged prioritization of UN-Habitat’s normative mandate as the organization contributes with knowledge, evidence, tools, policy advice and technical support so that actors can improve their capacities to address a myriad of urban challenges and opportunities within their local contexts. She said that a new global multi-year agreement would be announced in due course.
South Africa, which also pledged support said it would continue to champion UN Habitat’s work in areas such as slum upgrading, urban and territorial planning, and urban safety, while UN-Habitat’s host country, Kenya, pledged increased annual contributions for the organization’s core normative work. Kenya has also provided significant support for the UN-Habitat Assembly.
ICLEI, a global network of more than 1,750 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development, ICLEI underlined the importance of bold and innovative leadership and UN-Habitat’s continued engagement with local authorities. They encouraged Member States to increase financial and technical contributions to support UN-Habitat’s programme of work.
Other countries that spoke in favour of partnerships for sustainable urbanization and announced financial support at the Conference include China, Colombia, Republic of Congo, France, Gambia, Germany, India, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.
Concluding, UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif said “ Given the milestones reached so far, the commitment shown at the Partnership and Pledging Conference, and the progress made at the UN-Habitat Assembly, I have absolutely no doubt that together, as partners, we can raise the necessary funds to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
NAIROBI, 10 May 2019 – UN-Habitat will hold a partnership and pledging conference to raise US$ 250 million for urban development work. The funds will be used in 2019 to help countries implement the New Urban Agenda and urban dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The conference will be held during the UN-Habitat’s first UN-Habitat Assembly which takes place from 27-31 May in 2019 at UN-Habitat’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Around 2,000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend including Heads of State and Government, ministers and representatives of national and local governments, civil society, NGOs, businesses, academics, and other United Nations agencies.
The partnership and pledging conference, to be held on Wednesday 29 May 2019, will feature a high-level panel discussion with senior representatives from regional groups, national governments, local governments, the private sector and civil society on how to build successful partnerships to mobilize and leverage financing for sustainable urbanization. This will be followed by a pledging session aimed at raising US$ 250 million to implement normative and country programmes to reduce spatial inequality and poverty, enhance prosperity of cities, strengthen climate change action, improve the urban environment, and mitigate and respond to urban crises to help realize the vision of a better quality of life for all in an urbanizing world.
The UN-Habitat Assembly was established by the General Assembly in its resolution of 20th December 2018 on strengthening UN-Habitat. The UN-Habitat Assembly will be the highest-level decision-making body focused on sustainable urbanization and human settlements and will have universal membership of all 193 United Nations Member States who together, will frame the global urbanization agenda and provide strategic guidance to UN-Habitat in its work.
“If we want to have a chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to get our cities right.”
- Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat
Member States adopted the New Urban Agenda because the world’s urban population is expected to nearly double by 2050 with over two thirds of the global population living in urban areas, posing massive sustainability challenges in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety, and natural resources, among others. UN-Habitat is a focal point on sustainable urbanization and human settlements within the UN System to support implementation of the New Urban Agenda and urban dimensions of the SDGs.
September 2018This UN-Habitat Donor Brief welcomes our new Deputy Executive Director, features positive impact stories in Afghanistan and Jamaica, gives you updates on our institutional reforms and financial status, and invites you to celebrate the upcoming Urban October.
September 2017This month UN-Habitat Donor Brief features a story from beneficiaries in Iraq; Highlights from the high level independent panel meeting, donor survey, the ongoing Urban October, Dubai International Best Practise Awards and our regular financial updates.