NAIROBI — The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has urged governments to double efforts in meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitments on housing and upgrading of slum settlements.
Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat executive director stressed the need to improve urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. “Let us double our efforts, and fulfill our commitments made during this Urban October, to ensure we work together in an integrated manner during this Decade of Action,” Sharif said on Monday during the launch of world cities report in Nairobi.
Sharif observed that countries have less than 10 years to achieve the SDGs despite the effects of COVID-19 that may push back progress. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic may also be an opportunity to rethink, reflect, re-skill and rebuild a better world for all.
The UN official urged policymakers and urban managers globally to engage and support communities in implementing government efforts to recover from the on-going impact of COVID-19. She said that the UN housing agency will keep providing services through the recently launched Catalogue of Services, and technical support in 93-countries.
According to the report, the value of sustainable urbanization can be unlocked once various planning, finance and governance conditions are in place.It calls on national governments to create an environment that empowers local governments to raise revenue, regulate land use, plan for urban growth, limit urban sprawl and relieve overcrowded housing.
The report says local governments should collect revenue to improve municipal services and public spaces. Sharif recognized the contribution of the Government of China, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, for their continued support to UN-Habitat’s advocacy of the New Urban Agenda.”Shanghai, the first city to host the global observance of World Cities Day, is doubling their efforts to localize the SDGs, in line with the UN’s Decade of Action,” she added.
According to the report, the role of the New Urban Agenda, the UN’s 20-year plan for sustainable urbanization, as a local road map to achieving the UN’s sustainability agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.