United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities. It is the focal point for all urbanization and human settlement matters within the UN system. UN-Habitat envisions well-planned, well-governed, and efficient cities and other human settlements, with adequate housing, infrastructure, and universal access to employment and basic services such as water, energy, and sanitation.
The main documents outlining UN-Habitat’s mandate are the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements (Habitat I), the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements (Habitat II and the Habitat Agenda), the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, and the General Assembly Resolution 56/206.
The mandate of UN-Habitat is further derived from other internationally agreed upon development goals, including those established in the United Nations Millennium Declaration (General Assembly resolution 55/2).
UN-Habitat mainstreams human rights into all aspects of its operational and normative work. This includes cooperating with the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote implementation of international conventions at national, regional and municipal levels
UN-Habitat’s concept of sustainable urban development includes the rule of law and the protection of vulnerable groups as central elements. The Programme’s legislative work focuses on the quality of law, in particular its effectiveness in delivering policy and its accountability and includes:
- Exploring the current status of urban law in cities and towns globally,
- Understanding the role urban law plays in facilitating good urban development,
- Identifying and promote urban law methodologies and mechanisms that promote the sustainable development of human settlements.