Joan Clos, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, analyses the current challenges of urbanisation and the strategies to overcome them embraced by the New Urban Agenda, and provides examples of the successful implementation of the Agenda in Commonwealth countries.
Urbanisation is one of the few human and social processes that take place without incentive. Urbanisation attracts millions of people with no encouragement. We see this in our growing cities, and in the projected growth of our combined urban population from 50 per cent currently to around 70 per cent in the next 30 years. This is why urbanisation has become one of the most important global trends of the 21st century.
Investing in good urbanisation is a guarantee of prosperity and development, particularly in developing countries, where major urban transformations will inevitably take place. But how do we achieve good urbanisation?
In October 2016 the capital of Ecuador, Quito, hosted Habitat III, the largest ever summit on sustainable urban development in the history of the United Nations. Habitat III gave birth to the New Urban Agenda, a guiding framework for sustainable urban development for the next two decades. The New Urban Agenda can be summed up as a set of five strategies to lead to good urbanisation, seen in the well-being of both citizens and cities though the generation of employment, prosperity and development. The implementation of the New Urban Agenda is therefore essential to the success of Agenda 2030, the United Nations roadmap to sustainable development. The brief case studies in this article illustrate the capacity of well-planned urbanisation in achieving prosperity and development…
*Statistics correct at time of original publication of CHOGM 2015 Report.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat