the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development
(Habitat III), in October 2016, the New Urban Agenda was unanimously adopted.
It serves as a new vision for our cities and municipalities for the next 20 years. According to UNDP, it demonstrated its full support to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda with the official launch of its Sustainable Urbanisation Strategy.
It further stated that it a year later, it welcomed its Strategic Plan 2018-2021 with the endorsement of Member States, providing strategic guidance to UNDP’s policy and programmes for the next four years. The new plan sets out the direction for a new UNDP to support countries to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality and achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This UN New Urban Agenda was a document that has been approved by 193 countries and was branded a positive trend that creates values including socio-economic, agglomeration economics, innovations, social advancement among others. The Agenda was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly at its 68th Plenary Meeting of the 71st Session the 23rd December 2016.
“The Plan recognises that rapid urbanisation and changing demographic patterns are challenging conventional thinking on development pathways, and that addressing urban challenges requires cross-cutting, integrated applications of expertise and investment, customized for each country and circumstance and driven by global best practices and international standards.”
Through four out of the six Signature Solutions of the Strategic Plan, UNDP sees unique opportunities to scale up its offer of services on sustainable urbanisation, outlining Signature Solution 1 – that keeps people out of poverty, which involves a mix of solutions that improve rural and urban livelihoods, strengthen gender equality, build social protection and provide basic services.
These are equal strategies embedded in our national development blueprint and we hope that The Gambia as it steadily moves towards implementing its development blueprint between 2018 and 2021, will surely be successful.
Sustainable Development Goals and targets, including Goal 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is vital, however, the New Urban Agenda equally acknowledges that culture and cultural diversity are sources of enrichment for humankind and provide an important contribution to the sustainable development of cities, human settlements and citizens, empowering them to play an active and unique role in development initiatives.
The New Urban Agenda further recognises that culture should be taken into account in the promotion and implementation of new sustainable consumption and production patterns that contribute to the responsible use of resources and address the adverse impact of climate change.
“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.”