UN-Habitat Assembly | Local and Regional Governments Forum | The Youth Cafe


The New Urban Agenda as an accelerator to implement Agenda 2030: local and regional government innovation for local action

Introduction and background

The New Urban Agenda was adopted as a result of the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). Cities are hubs for innovation in science and commerce as well as centres of culture and community. Vibrant, flourishing and inclusive cities provide opportunities for people to prosper economically and culturally. With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to five billion by 2030, it is critical that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.

The New Urban Agenda makes recurring references to the important role of local and regional governments to ensure implementation and follow up.

Par 163. We acknowledge the importance of local governments as active partners in the follow up to and review of the New Urban Agenda at all levels and encourage them to develop, jointly with national and subnational governments, as appropriate, implementable follow-up and review mechanisms at the local level, including through relevant associations and appropriate platforms.

The interconnections between the New Urban Agenda and Agenda 2030 are very clear at local level, where cities and territories need to be fully involved to achieve the global agendas. “leaving no one” behind means “leaving to territory behind”.

Local and regional governments are already responsible for sixty-five per cent of the SDG indicators. A growing number of cities and territories across the world are already taking action to localize the SDGs by aligning their own policies, work plans and budgets to this transformative global agenda.

Many mayors, governors and local public officers are embracing the SDGs as a tool to articulate different local policies, better understand local challenges, better communicate their own actions and deliver better and more sustainable public services.

Cities and local governments are also ideally placed to mobilize their local communities, civil society and private sector in joining efforts to contribute to both the New Urban Agenda and Agenda 2030, making sure that these unique and truly transformative agendas become a reality for everybody, starting at the local level. As the level of government closest to the people, local governments can provide the necessary link between global agendas and citizens.

During the first UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, the Local and Regional Governments will hold a forum to dialogue with policy makers, the UN system and stakeholders on identifying innovative solutions to harness the New Urban Agenda to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Expected outcomes

The Forum will bring together cities, policy makers, UN Agencies, civil society and business to identify innovations to accelerate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and to achieve the SDGs at the local level. The Forum aims to: Inspire local policy makers to engage with the global agendas and explore new ideas for inclusive local implementation.

- Share successful experiences and local actions that are accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and SDGs.

- Bring together mayors, governors and local government associations together with national governments, United Nations entities, civil society and private sector partners to establish renewed mechanisms of dialogue to jointly make the New Urban Agenda and the SDGs a reality, at the local level, and for all.

- Identify innovative mechanisms of multi-level governance to ensure policy cohesion between local, regional and national policies, actions and budgets.

- Highlight successful experiences and local actions that are accelerating the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and Agenda 2030.

- Highlight innovations by cities, local and regional governments to implement global sustainableurbanization agendas.

- Share the different experiences of Member States in ”Localizing the SDGs” and how local and central governments are working together to make Agenda 2030 a reality at the local level.


The Forum will be opened to all participants of the UN-Habitat Assembly. Speakers will include mayors, governors and local government representatives together with national governments, Habitat partners and the business community.

The Forum will be jointly organized by UN-Habitat and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (www.global-taskforce.org) in collaboration with UNACLA, the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities.