PartnersHabitat Agenda Partners (HAP) are a range of organizations outside central government in the pursuit of sustainable urbanization and human settlements development. In an effort to continue working and learning together, UN-Habitat has established a number of thematic networks composed of a cross section of HAPs to allow partners to contribute to the design and implementation of normative and operational programmes at all levels. The involvement of HAPs working in the field of sustainable urbanization and human settlements development is essential for the successful design and implementation of a new urban agenda, the post 2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. UN-Habitat strives to establish a set of strategic partnerships including political actors, civil society and professional organizations, and the private sector as advocates of sustainable urbanization at all levels, and as implementers and monitors of national urban policies and programmes. UN-Habitat also fosters UN system-wide inter-agency coordination as a critical component of the partnership strategy in the belief that UN agencies within their mandates have responsibilities to respond to issues affecting urban and rural dwellers, as a result of rapid urbanization. Following is a brief explanation on each category:

Local Authorities

Local Authorities comprise a group including mayors, municipal councils and other decision-makers, who are involved in constructing, operating and maintaining economic, social and environmental infrastructure, governance and management of cities and local authorities; who oversee planning processes, establish local policies and regulations, and assist in implementing national and sub-national policies. Since local authorities are the level of governance closest to people, they play a vital role in educating, mobilizing, and responding to public needs and to promoting sustainable urbanization and human settlements development.

NGOs and CBOs

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are non-profit entities, whose members are citizens or associations of citizens of one or more countries, and whose activities are determined by the collective will, in response to the needs of the members of one or more communities with which the NGO co-operates. They can be international, regional, sub-regional, national, or local. Community-based Organizations (CBOs) are the action-oriented operational grassroots organizations whose objectives are to assist in finding the key solutions to specific problems in the field. NGOs and CBOs also act as implementing partners in the design and delivery of UN-HABITAT’s technical co-operation programmes in field projects, particularly in the areas of training, provision of local information for planning and in implementation. NGOs and CBOs :

  • Are able to reach segments of the population that are not usually targeted or needed by governments;
  • Possess extensive knowledge of local conditions;
  • Are recognised for their role in developing new initiatives, new programmes, new approaches and new mechanisms to address development problems and issues based on their local knowledge.
  • Can help to disseminate and support the principles of local democracy and to spread Habitat Agenda, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and post 2015 development agenda concepts among civil society, can assist in the monitoring and reporting of development indicators, help formulate legislation and policy, provide feedback from civil society to other partners and maintain databases to connect skills within communities on partners’ needs.

Trade Unions

Representing workers, Trade Unions have experience in addressing industrial change, give high priority to the protection of the working environment and the related natural environment, promote social responsibility and economic development. The existing network of collaboration among trade unions and their extensive membership provides important channels through which sustainable urbanization and human settlement development can be promoted. Trade Unions promote the roles and rights of workers and their organizations. In areas specific to UNHABITAT’s mandate they can work towards tapping the potential of the construction industry for economic growth and employment; as well as to train workers for housing development, city reconstruction and maintenance and to engage in environmental management activities related to the built environment.


UN-HABITAT appreciates that if sustainable cities and towns are to be achieved, then it must involve the professionals working in all human settlements and urbanisation related fields. These professionals are people from diverse backgrounds and include- but not restricted to- architects, surveyors, urban planners, geographers and lawyers, economists and statisticians, sociologists and engineers. In other words they can be drawn from any other profession that can practically contribute to a sustainable urbanization and human settlements development. In the context of rapid urbanization, the skills of professionals matter more than ever – planners, architects, surveyors and engineers can make a difference. They need to work together and as partners with governments, communities and UN-HABITAT. Partnerships with human settlements professionals are central to practical sustainability in cities, particularly in delivering sustainable urbanization at scale.

Academics and Researchers

This category includes universities, research and scientific institutions, professional societies, academics and various institutes. These are think tanks concerned with the advancement of new concepts, ideas and methodologies in the field of sustainable urbanisation and human settlement development, especially urban planning and design, including public spaces and streets, urban transport and mobility, climate change and environment, energy, disaster risk reduction and rehabilitation, housing and slum upgrading, safety and security in cities etc. UN-HABITAT draws expertise from them, as well as leverage from the partnership, which includes supporting international efforts and facilitating the joint implementation of specific programmes and projects.

Human Solidarity Groups

Sustainable development, which puts people at the centre of its concern, can be realized through human solidarity. Human Solidarity Groups contribute by promoting and encouraging civic engagement to resolve urban problems and support human solidarity and human values. They may be religion based but in all cases are motivated by ethical issues. They often overlap with CBOs and NGOs engaged in similar issues.

Indigenous People

Indigenous people living in urban areas constitute more than half of the indigenous population in many countries. This rate is on the increase due to a variety of factors that lead to forced or involuntary movement from rural to urban areas. The situation of indigenous peoples in urban areas varies greatly: While some are able to adapt and improve their living conditions without loss of cultural identity; many are subject to discrimination, exclusion and violence. They are a cross-cutting group along with women and youth. Indigenous people have also been recognized as an important partner through the 2007 adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. UN-HABITAT has contributed to various UN fora and reports regarding indigenous people.


Parliamentarians represent national, sub-regional, regional and global legislative bodies. The main role of Parliamentarians as partners is to facilitate legislation that supports sustainable urbanization and human settlements development. They promote the drafting, revision and updating of legislation and the strengthening and reorganization of related institutions and administrative structures. Furthermore, they participate in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies at the local, national, regional and global levels. Parliamentarians also focus on the follow-up, assessment and evaluation of achievements.

Private Sector

Establishing partnerships with businesses is an imperative for sustainable urbanization and human settlement development. The Private Sector has the responsibility for the sustainable and just development of societies. It is expected that the Private Sector promotes responsible corporate citizenship, adopts progressive environmental practices, and creates partnerships with civil society actors. The private sector is urged to invest in social infrastructure, especially in education, training and health care, which could only benefit business by creating a more productive labor force. Concentrating on efforts to combat poverty and its social evils – such as urban strife, violence, insecurity and oppression – is expected at all levels. Since the absence of job opportunities is the first step towards poverty, one of the key functions of the private sector is to create job opportunities and encourage enterprises with the vision of reducing unemployment.


Foundations are autonomous organizations that have their own resources, particular interests, and sponsor programmes for the public good. The unique characteristic of the global community of foundations and corporate funders is that they seek to promote and facilitate compassionate and broad- based citizen involvement in the environments, in which citizens live and work. UN-Habitat considers foundations as critical partners in resource mobilization for urban and human settlements development at all levels.

Financial Institutions

Local, regional and global financial institutions are quickly becoming some of UN-HABITAT pertinent partners. These include the World Bank and the African, Asian and Inter-American Development Banks among others. These partners are able to provide support especially in terms of follow up investment to pilot projects designed by UN-HABITAT and in providing start-up capital to national and local financial institutions dealing with urban infrastructure and human settlements. UN-HABITAT is able to leverage its funds by working with international and regional financial institutions through joint promotion of public-private partnerships. Domestic banks and micro-finance institutions are also key partners as they assist UNHABITAT and slum dwellers to access lower cost housing opportunities and longer term financing instruments.


Youth are most affected by problems of rapid urbanization, homelessness, unemployment, crime, violence, drug abuse, and environmental degradation. Promoting the full potential of youth as key partners, through various forms of education, quality training and skill building; and taking into account the diverse abilities, realities and experiences of youth is essential for the long term success of achieving sustainable urbanization. Youth contributes by taking part in determining solutions and prioritizing issues on access to adequate shelter, and in addressing issues such as migration, crime, unemployment, and the protection of the environment. ‘Youth’ is a crosscutting issue by nature; all Habitat Agenda Partners are expected to deal with youth issues. Currently, UN-HABITAT is working through a Youth Advisory Board. It also has the Opportunities Fund for Youth-led Development which supports youth groups improve their income generating activities.


The promotion of the role of women in the human settlements development is one of the objectives of UN-HABITAT. Effective implementation of sustainable urban development will depend on the active involvement of women in economic, social, and political decision-making. Women’s Groups promote the right of women to land and housing, strengthen the exchange of information among each other, and lobby for special credit schemes for women living in poverty. ‘Women’ and ‘Gender’ are cross-cutting issues.   How to become a Habitat Agenda Partner

Information for all organizations interested in becoming a HAP

First, Habitat Agenda Partners are organizations and not individuals. Second, organizations interested in becoming Habitat Agenda Partners are required to submit the following details about their organization to confirm that the organization is a legal entity with established governance structure, and operational areas relevant to urbanization and human settlements development agenda. This is the same information which is required of organizations seeking accreditation and organization working as implementing partners with legal agreements with UN-Habitat. General Information Required:

  • Date
  • Name of Organization
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Contact (Name and title)
  • Scope (National/Regional/International)
  • Representatives (Names and titles)
  • Purpose, objectives and summary of activities

Attachments Required

  • The purpose of the organization.
  • Information on the programmes and activities of the organization in areas relevant to housing, urban development and urban settlements, with detailed information in the country (s) in which they are carried out. Habitat Agenda Partners seeking accreditation shall be asked to confirm their interest in the goals and objectives of the Habitat III and may need to provide additional documentation.
  • Documented confirmation of the activities of the organization at the national, regional or international level.
  • Copies of the annual or other reports of the organization with financial statements, and a list of financial sources and contributions, including contributions from Governments.
  • A list of members of the governing body of the organization and their nationalities.
  • A description of the membership of the organization, indicating the total number of members, the names of organizations that are members and their geographical distribution.
  • A copy of the constitution and/or by-laws of the organization and a copy of the registration / incorporation of the entity as applicable.

Information on arrangements regarding accreditation of local authorities and other Habitat Agenda Partners to UN-Habitat Governing Council Sessions is available in UN-Habitat Governing Council Resolution 19/8 of 8 May 2003. Furthermore, the UN-Habitat Governing Council Rules of Procedure adopted by the General Assembly in resolution A/RES/58/227 and contained in Resolution 19/1 an annex to A/58/8 Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme Nineteenth Session 5-9 May 2003 provides information on different types of accreditation including organisations accredited to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Habitat II in 1996, and Istanbul +5 in 2001.   Background on UN-Habitat's cooperation with Habitat Agenda Partners

Habitat Agenda Partners: Key elements of implementation of the Habitat Agenda

UN-Habitat’s approach to engaging with partners is contained in the UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2014-2019, the Partnership Strategy of June 2011, Governing Council (GC) Resolutions 19/1 Rules and procedures of the UN-Habitat Governing Council, and GC Resolution 19/8 as well as General Assembly (GA) Resolution A/RES/67/216. It is widely acknowledged that the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), held in Istanbul, Turkey in June 1996, was organized as a "Conference of Partners"  partly in recognition of the achievements of various actors in the field and to provide the fullest opportunity to all stakeholders  to bring their experiences to the Conference. It is also recognized fact that various actors within the civil society have found innovative and lasting solutions to problems faced by the poor, raised awareness, improved capacity at the community level and developed effective ways of increasing co-operation with local and central governments. Equally important are political actors, think tankers, professional and business entities. As the Secretariat to the Habitat II Conference, UN-HABITAT broke new ground by involving local authorities, the private sector, professionals, academia and representatives of civil society to play an active role in the Conference and in formulating the Habitat Agenda. As a legacy of the Habitat II Conference, partnerships and participation of Habitat Agenda Partners (HAPs) are key elements of implementation of the Habitat Agenda, the World Urban Forum, the World Urban Campaign, and the Habitat III preparatory process within the context of a new urban agenda.