2015 marked the arrival of a new development era for the United Nations with the merging of the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Sustainable Development Goals set forth a list of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of the United Nations’ new sustainable development agenda.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals builds on the Millennium Development Goals and serves as a global framework to coordinate efforts around ending poverty and hunger, combating inequality and disease, and building a just and stable world. A total of 193 nations, including South Africa has agreed to these goals. One goal, Goal 11, is specifically aimed at urban development and proposes to build cities that are “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” In support of this specific goal the United Nations hosted the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in October 2016. “The New Urban Agenda” was adopted during this gathering as an extension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The New Urban Agenda thus serves as new framework that that lays out how cities should be planned and managed to best promote sustainable urbanization and intends to guide efforts around urbanization with a wide range of actors including national governments, local municipalities, regional leaders, the private sector, active citizens and international development funders.
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat SA welcomes the adoption of the New Urban Agenda and supports its emphasis on adequate and affordable housing, secure land tenure, and community-led development. We recognise that cities are dynamic hubs of activity that are interconnected and continuously evolving. Housing also forms a large part of our cities and therefore serves as a platform that connects and improves urban quality of life as an integral and integrating element of sound urban development and urban policies. Thus, in addition to boosting access to adequate and affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity SA is committed to promoting sustainable cities, increasing security of tenure and catalyzing market development to implement the New Urban Agenda in South Africa.