1. The World Urban Campaign (WUC), was created by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in 2010. It is an advocacy and partnership platform to raise awareness and advance positive change in order to achieve green, productive, safe, healthy, inclusive, sustainable and well-planned cities. Through its campaigns and 250+ Urban Thinkers Campuses (UTCs) which engaged more than 30,000 participants, the WUC has provided an educational exchange led by its 16 partner groups1 to share learnings, ideas, best practices, tools, local examples and case studies to make cities and communities more sustainable and accessible and so to improve our shared urban future.
2. At this critical moment for cities worldwide, the WUC partners have come together to provide a framework and identify related actions for creating The City We Need Now! (TCWNN). The vision is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by the end of the decade to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11, while meeting the ever-more urgent crises of climate change, global pandemics like COVID-19 and the challenge of integrating into cities and towns large numbers of new migrants and refugees while also recognizing their rights, lived experiences and knowledge to positively contribute to their new host city.
3. Now it is time for new action! In 2015, the WUC developed The City We Need to create a shared vision, framework, towards the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in July of 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. The WUC was recognized and helped to influence the outcome agreement, also known as the New Urban Agenda (NUA). However 21st century challenges are converging in cities with greater intensity at the same time that urban populations are growing and poverty is concentrating.
4. TCWNN (3.0) is aligned with The City We Need (2.0) and builds on the implementation of Global Agreements such as the New Urban Agenda (NUA), Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, with reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as our fundamental ground.
5. We urge Member States and the international community to consider our common vision driven by principles and drivers of change, to effectively work for the localization of SDGs and towards the 2030 Global Goals and the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat IV) in 2036.
6. The world is at a crossroads. As we have witnessed since 2020, the world, and cities in particular, have been living in what has been called “the new normal,” as people living in cities, especially poor and vulnerable groups have been disproportionately hit with social, economic, and political challenges from the COVID 19 pandemic. Cities are also increasingly affected by the impact of temperature rise and violent weather events as the result of increasing greenhouse gases emissions by human activities. In addition, the world is subject to recent war conflicts affecting entire cities and communities, triggering a humanitarian crisis. This has resulted in devastating setbacks to reaching our goals to eradicate poverty and advance inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities. Not only are we off-track to achieve the SDGs but the future appears increasingly uncertain with the acceleration of crises of different natures, be it environmental, economic, geo-political and societal, widening gaps in cities. Today's reality of climate change, pandemics risks and wars destroying cities, reinforces our drive for correcting actions and urgently puts cities on track to build a better urban life for future generations.
7. More than ever, our shared vision is to achieve cities and human settlements where all persons are able to enjoy equal rights and opportunities, as well as their fundamental freedoms, guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including full respect of international laws. To realize this vision, we need to implement the SDGs and the complementary NUA which is grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and informed by the Declaration on the Right to Development.
8. In the next few decades, urban dwellers will double in number, reaching nearly three-quarters of the world's population. More than 60 percent of the built environment needed to accommodate these new urban dwellers by 2030, has yet to be constructed. How we plan, build, and manage our cities today will determine the outcome of our efforts to achieve a sustainable and harmonious development tomorrow. Well-planned cities allow all residents the opportunity to have safe, culturally rich, healthy, and productive lives. Well-designed cities present nations with major opportunities to promote social inclusion, equality, resilience, and prosperity. But current planning is not affordable today for half of the urban dwellers. New tools are needed for planning cities that take into account the right to the city for all.
9. As declared in the United Nations New Urban Agenda and further reiterated here: “The battle for a more sustainable future will be won or lost in cities.”
10. Cities are the world’s engines for human development, business, social enterprises, and innovation. With good management, they can provide jobs, hope and growth, while building sustainability. Cities represent an unparalleled opportunity to forge a new urban era where people can find freedom, equal opportunities, inspiration, prosperity, health and security.
11. The ecological transition that presents itself as an imperative, calls for a new economy defined by the recognition of the limits of natural systems in our approach to urbanization.
12. Understanding the city as a complex socio-ecological-system can help realize a heretofore impossible dream: that of bridging short-term economic goals with longer-term policies and strategies that focus on peace, shared prosperity and better health, safety, and well-being of all of a city’s inhabitants, while respecting cultural identity and preserving the natural environment. We believe that cities and communities can only become truly regenerative, heritage rich, resilient and sustainable if we start applying key principles and take action for TCWNN in 10 key areas: health and well-being; peace and safety; climate adaptation and resilience; inclusion and gender equality; economic opportunities for all; culture and identity; local governance; urban planning and design; housing, services and mobility, and; learning and innovation.
THE CITY WE NEED NOW! ACTION AREAS, PRINCIPLES AND RELATED SDGS