Together_Towards_Stamp-(1)The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will take place in Quito, Ecuador from 17-20 October, is the first UN global summit on urbanization since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Habitat III offers a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenges of how cities, towns, and village can be planned and managed, in order to fulfill their role as drivers of sustainable development, and how they can shape the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In Quito, world leaders will adopt the New Urban Agenda which will set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the civil society and private sector.

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.


  • Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today
  • By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas
  • 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world
  • 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising
  • The world’s cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions
  • Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health
  • But the high density of cities can bring efficiency gains and technological innovation while reducing resource and energy consumption

  • By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
  • By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
  • By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
  • By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
  • By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
  • Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
  • Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

Related news

UN conference agrees new urban development agenda creating sustainable, equitable cities for all

A major conference on the future of the world’s cities and towns, known as Habitat III, has wrapped up in Quito, Ecuador, with delegations adopting a new framework that will set the world on a […]

Read More

Habitat 3: 20 October in photos

The final day of the Habitat 3 UN conference on sustainable cities concluded Thursday with the adoption of the New Urban Agenda.

Read More

The New Urban Agenda: Key Commitments

It's official: world leaders have adopted the New Urban Agenda, which sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development, and will help us rethink how we plan, manage and live in cities.

Read More

UN Environment report: Put people, not cars first in transport systems

Lack of investment in safe walking and cycling infrastructure not only contributes to the deaths of millions of people in traffic accidents on unsafe roads and poorly designed roadways, but also overlooks a great opportunity to boost the fight against climate change.

Read More

Related videos