Habitat III Policy Unit 4: Urban Governance, Capacity and Institutional Development

The final policy paper of Policy Unit 4, co-led by LSE Cities and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

In 2015 and early 2016, LSE Cities co-led jointly with UCLG a group of twenty global experts as part of the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), taking place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17–20 October 2016.

In 2015 and early 2016, LSE Cities co-led jointly with UCLG a group of twenty global experts as part of the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), taking place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17–20 October 2016. A draft policy paper framework was produced in December 2015, before the publication of the final policy paper in March 2016 by the Habitat III Secretariat. The policy paper is now an official UN General Assembly document.

As a co-leading organisation of Policy Unit 4, LSE Cities was responsible for coordinating and presenting the final outcome of the expert group’s deliberations on the challenges, policy priorities and critical issues for the implementation of a renewed political commitment to sustainable urban development: the New Urban Agenda.

Since the Habitat II Conference in 1996, the wider context of urban development has changed considerably and many urban challenges have become more pronounced and evident. The globalisation of economies and value systems, population growth and rapid urbanisation, the threat of climate change and environmental degradation, increasing inequalities, global migration, global health risks and the impact of new technologies have all been reshaping the challenges facing the governance of cities and their societies.

Incorporating the feedback of UN member states and accredited stakeholders on the draft policy paper, Policy Unit 4’s final document begins by arguing that a new urban governance must be based on aspirations for the right to the city, sustainable development and territorial equity. Based on these, the paper outlines its key recommendations. These include the creation of strong multi-level governance frameworks, strengthening of decentralisation processes, promotion of integrated national urban and territorial policies, reinforcing metropolitan governance, promoting a new culture of participation and equity, strengthening capacity-building for urban governance, and enabling digital era governance.

Download the full paper here.

Working papers