Nairobi, 13 September 2021 - UN-Habitat has launched the latest version of its Environmental and Social Safeguards System (ESSS 3.0) to ensure sound environmental and social performance throughout the agency’s projects and programmes.

The System outlines UN-Habitat’s commitments, roles, and responsibilities towards environmental and social risks and impacts associated with its work. This version follows an extensive, agency-wide development process, building on earlier versions in 2016 and 2018 and is supported by the ARCADIS Shelter programme. 

“UN-Habitat’s overhauled environmental and social safeguards system supports our constant efforts to improve the way we work to achieve our vision of “a better quality of life for all in an urbanizing world”. It does not stop at setting minimum standards for projects and programmes, it aims to directly improve project outcomes by promoting social justice, human rights, gender equality, resilience and safety,” said UN-Habitat’s Executive Director,  Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

Environmental and Social Safeguards are an essential tool to prevent and mitigate undue harm to people and the environment and maximize environmental and social benefits. They offer an important opportunity for stakeholder engagement, enhancing the quality of project and programme design and implementation and for increasing ownership.

The ESSS 3.0 includes a stronger focus on the organizational management of environmental and social risks of projects and programmes as well as a comprehensive project and programme lifecycle management approach. It now also features an improved set of comprehensive tools for the ESSS implementation, including procedures, templates and checklists for projects and programmes and incorporates UN-Habitat’s focus on social inclusion and its Cross-Cutting Thematic Areas of resilience and safety.

The new ESSS 3.0 is fully aligned and tailored to UN-Habitat’s mandate, organizational model and internal processes, and UN partner and donor requirements. The management procedures provide guidance in four areas: Project screening and categorization; impact assessment and management measures; monitoring, evaluation and reporting; and staff responsibilities.

The roll-out of the ESSS 3.0 at UN-Habitat will take place from September to October 2021 and will involve mandatory trainings. There will be an internal support mechanism for adequately aligning project and programme development with the ESSS 3.0.

Launch statement by UN-Habitat Executive Director on

Link to the ESSS 3.0 Framework document on the UN-Habitat webpage: (