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The prioritisation of human rights addresses the structural causes of inequalities and discrimination in an integrated manner. Urbanisation can only be sustainable if it is human rights based, and living conditions can only be improved for all if everyone’s human rights are comprehensively promoted and protected. UN-Habitat applies the Human-Rights Based Approach to address inequalities and discrimination, reaching the furthest behind first by placing power relationships in human settlements at the heart of its analysis and action.
Men and women, boys and girls experience cities in very different ways, and face various challenges and needs that cities have to address. UN-Habitat promotes the stronger commitment of national and local governments as well as other relevant stakeholders to work towards the realization of a world in which men and women are recognized as equal partners in development and enjoy equal human rights so that economically productive, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities and other human settlements can be achieved more rapidly, completely and sustainably.
Youth, children and older persons, especially those in situations of particular risk of marginalization, such as girl child and female-headed households, are often excluded from access to housing, urban basic services, public spaces and infrastructure, and the overall benefits of urbanization. Young women and men have been a key focus of UN-Habitat’s work. The agency has successfully advocated for the role of youth as leaders in sustainable urban development, recognizing the guiding principle of the SDGs of “leaving no one behind,” and the New Urban Agenda vision of cities for all.
Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected.