UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at PrepCom1 (c) UN Photo/Kim Houghton

New York, 17 September 2014 – The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, told member state representatives that guided by the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and considering that human beings are at the centre of concerns surrounding sustainable development, we are committed to implement the Habitat Agenda. 

Mr. Ban made the comments at the opening of the first session of the Preparatory Committee for Habitat III which opened today at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“Almost two decades ago, at Habitat II in Istanbul, the international community resolved to make the most of the opportunities presented by human settlements and preserve their diversity to promote solidarity,” said Mr. Ban. 

“The world has changed dramatically since the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements. More than ever before, we understand the power of well-planned urbanization for development.  But that is the key: planning – good, strong planning.” 

As Mr. Ban addressed the attendees, made up of government and non-government representatives, civil society, the private sector and other Habitat Agenda partners, he recognised that urbanisation had a growing importance in the context of other development processes such as the Post-2015 agenda. 

“Urbanization is a driving force as well as a source of development. It has the power to change and improve the lives. Urban areas are at the heart of many great challenges, opportunities and promise,” he said. 

In addition, he acknowledged the role that the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development would play in making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.