URI Participated in 26th Governing Council of UN Human Settlements Programme

22 May 2017, 3:21 PM
gathering photo

Greetings of peace and blessing from Africa.

This is to inform you that URI, being an NGO with Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, participated at the 26th Governing Council of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). 

The 26th session of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat took place from 8–12 May 2017, at the United Nations Offices in Nairobi, Kenya.

The theme of the conference was: “Opportunities for the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda”. The 3 sub-themes for the GC26 were as follows: 

  1. ‘Towards inclusive, sustainable and adequate housing for a better future’
  2. ‘Synergies and financing for sustainable urbanization’
  3. ‘Integrated human settlements planning for sustainable urbanization
conference photo

The conference set the political tone and shape the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The key issues discussed at the 26th session include:


  • The activities of UN-Habitat, including coordination matters
  • Review of the Outcome of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)
  • The work programme and budget of UN-Habitat for the biennium 2018-2019


The 26th Governing Council of UN-Habitat opened by H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya (the host country of UN Habitat HQ), called for the need to reform UN-Habitat to create smart towns and cities that are economically viable, socially livable, environmentally resilient and politically stable settlements.

The 26th session is a milestone for UN-Habitat, being the first meeting of the Governing Council after the adoption of the momentous 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the New Urban Agenda that sets the global strategy around urbanization for the next two decades.

Participation in the Governing Council meeting was open to all Member States and relevant stakeholders, including parliamentarians, civil society organizations, local authorities, professionals and researchers, academia, foundations, women and youth groups, trade unions, indigenous peoples organizations, financial institutions, and the private sector; as well as organizations of the United Nations system and Intergovernmental Organizations. There were about 650 delegates from different parts of the world participating in the conference.   

The Governing Council serves as the decision-making body for the UN-Habitat and approves the agency's biennial work programme and budget. The Governing Council is also responsible for setting UN-Habitat's policies by developing and promoting policy objectives, priorities and guidelines on existing and planned programmes of work on human settlements. The council meets biennially and reports to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) through the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

For your information: The 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. The New Urban Agenda is roadmap for building cities that can serve as engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being while protecting the environment. The Agenda also provides guidance for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and provides the underpinning for actions to address climate change.

In the New Urban Agenda, world leaders have committed to:


  • Provide basic services for all citizens
  • Ensure that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination
  • Promote measures that support cleaner cities
  • Strengthen resilience in cities to reduce the risk and the impact of disasters
  • Take action to address climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions
  • Fully respect the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons regardless of their migration status
  • Improve connectivity and support innovative and green initiatives
  • Promote safe, accessible and green public spaces


On this opportunity on behalf of URI, I would like to call upon all national governments and local authorities throughout the world to implement the promised Agenda in close working partnership with all stakeholders and grassroots organizations.

May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Written By

URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the UN and the African Union, URI-Africa Regional Director, Former Ambassador