Federation for
Housing and

The New Urban Agenda, Post- Habitat 3

IFHP Chief Executive Anette Galskjøt shares her reflections on the New Urban Agenda as the global framework for sustainable urban development and as the backbone of IFHP’s role as implementation agent.

A week of multilateral meetings, debates, side-events and networking is over and we are back in working mode. The adoption of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) last week by the 193 UN Member States kick-starts the next 20 years of work to achieve more sustainable and inclusive cities. With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially #11, adopted by the UN Member States last year, the NUA forms the global frame work for sustainable urban development.

At IFHP we will use this framework in our activities going forward and become an implementation agent of the NUA. But what does this mean? For us it means creating the right partnerships and work to achieve more sustainable and inclusive cities. We will be the neutral platform that will convene the private and public sector as well as other organisations to identify concrete implementable actions. PwC and the World Economic Forum released a draft report last week in Quito on the importance of – public-private partnerships when implementing the NUA. At IFHP we are already doing this, as we believe that implementation is only possible if we all work together. The cities will need to provide good urban governance and focus, the private sector will provide new and innovative solutions and we will tie it all together!

The world has been urbanizing at an accelerating rate, with 70% of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050 resulting in a series of ecological and environmental problems. Implementation and concrete actions are needed, since cities all over the world increasingly face severe social and environmental challenges. Estimates suggest that only 3%[1] of the globe is urban land but that cities are accountable for 75%[2] of global CO2 emissions. Besides this, cities have become very expensive to live in because of rapid urbanization creating a tight market with ever rising housing prices; resulting in segregation and gentrification phenomenon, which do not contribute to an inclusive city. Social inclusion has always been the core of the IFHP and we focus on Housing for All. With our partners we wish to explore new ways of creating more affordable housing in our cities to ensure that the city has room for us all! An inclusive city is a livable city where possibilities are created for all.

As opposed to the old millennium goals and the Habitat 2 agenda, the NUA as well as the SDGs are global frameworks recognizing that urban challenges are not only severe in the Global South, but more often also in the Global North. Since cities in this region are still important decision-making, power and transport hubs, it is important to guarantee their sustainable transition to the middle of the 21st century in which these cities are likely to transfer their power and influence to (new) upcoming ones.

Therefore, next year our projects will among others include an urban lab in Indonesia, where we will investigate how to create sustainable and livable housing in the urban slum areas. In selected European cities we will explore how to reuse and renovate the existing building stock in cities to ensure that we get the best and most sustainable housing solutions and we will look at how good communities and housing can create healthier cities. As a global network of professionals we will continue to advocate inclusive cities through the World Urban Campaign and through our new co-chairmanship of Habitat’s Professionals Forum. We believe that the key to success lies in a combination of local, concreate implementable actions and global advocacy!

Please join us in our effort to make Cities Better for People.


Anette Galskjøt, 





[1] Liu, Z., He, C., Zhou, Y., & Wu, J. (2014). How much of the world’s land has been urbanized, really? A hierarchical framework for avoiding confusion. Landscape Ecology, 29(5), 763–771.

[2] UNEP. (2016). Cities and Climate Change. Retrieved from