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UNGA Second Committee Considers Sustainable Urban Development, Strengthening UN-HABITAT

1 November 2012: The UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee considered issues relevant to the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), including discussion of two reports, in a meeting on 1 November 2012, in New York, US. Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, said the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III) in 2016 should reinvigorate sustainable urban development commitments and produce a political outcome document. Clos introduced two reports of the UN Secretary-General: one on implementing Habitat II outcomes, preparing for Habitat III and strengthening UN-HABITAT (document A/67/263); and the other on coordinating implementation of the Habitat Agenda, or the “Urban Agenda for the 21st Century” (document A/67/316). Clos proposed organizing Habitat III around the theme of “Sustainable Urban Development: the future of urbanization,” and urged the Committee to adopt a resolution on Habitat III's scope and organization to facilitate preparatory processes. Clos said the Habitat III outcome document should have clear, measurable and time-bound goals that align with the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the discussion, speakers welcomed preparations for Habitat III, and commented on increased urbanization trends, including challenges faced in their own countries, and called for sustainable urban development, particularly in the face of worsening climate change and natural disasters. The Group of 77 and China (G77/China) recognized the challenges climate change poses to sustainable urban development. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) recommended strengthening the urban focus of poverty reduction and sustainable development efforts as the proportion of the population living in urban areas grows. India and Bangladesh called on developed countries and UN-HABITAT to provide financial support for slum upgrading and prevention. Other speakers highlighted the need for sustainable human settlements in the face of climate change and disasters, referencing the recent impacts of Hurricane Sandy. Japan said disaster risk reduction (DRR) should be included in the mainstream agenda, and stressed the connections between disaster resilience and sustainable development. [UNGA Press Release] [Publication: Implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)] [Publication: Coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda]