Joint press release issued by:
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Logo: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Habitat III Conference adopts New Urban Agenda

International community agrees on guiding principles for social and ecological urban development

Participants of the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador

Press release of 20.10.2016 |

Quito/Berlin – The international community has agreed for the very first time on common, political guiding principles for urban development in the decades ahead. The New Urban Agenda was adopted today at the end of the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

Federal Building Minister Barbara Hendricks: "Cities are keys to a sustainable and climate-friendly world because more and more people worldwide are moving to cities. With the New Urban Agenda, the international community is demonstrating its support for cities. Strong cities are better able to tackle poverty and advance climate action. The New Urban Agenda provides valuable guidance for the cities of the future. It is important to lay the foundations today."

Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller: "Whether sustainable development and climate action succeed will be decided in cities. We want liveable cities all over the world. This is the only way to prevent climate disaster, suffering, violence and flight. For this reason, during the negotiations on the New Urban Agenda, Germany advocated recognising and strengthening cities as key stakeholders in achieving global development and climate targets. This is why we promote municipal partnerships and knowledge transfer between German municipalities and those in our partner countries."

With the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, the UN member states have committed to involving cities to a greater extent in their policies and measures and improving the framework for achieving sustainable and integrated urban development. This will enhance local capacity to act, financial options and participation. The overarching goal is implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement at local level. The Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved with strong cities, and an effective climate agreement can only be implemented in cooperation with cities.

The German government, represented by State Secretary for Building Gunther Adler, showcased a number of innovative solutions from Germany and abroad at the conference. These included smart cities, where data is used intelligently to prevent traffic, save resources and cut costs. Minister Hendricks commented: "We do, however, have to use new technological options cautiously and wisely to ensure that the positive vision of a smart city does not ultimately lead to new inequity and dependence."

Germany is supporting implementation of Habitat III with a new initiative on transformative urban mobility. "Mobility is a crucial lever for safeguarding security, education, employment and political participation. To achieve our development and climate targets we need a global transformation in the transport sector", noted Minister Müller. With its Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative, Germany will support socially sound, innovative and climate-friendly mobility projects in developing countries and emerging economies.

In 2017 the Federal Development Ministry and the KfW Development Bank will provide over one billion euros for establishing and expanding sustainable mobility systems, including investments in buses, suburban trains, ferries, cycle paths and footpaths. As a result almost a quarter of a million people per day will be travelling around their cities by sustainable means, avoiding emissions of up to 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent and saving healthcare costs of around 80 million euros per year.

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