The second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly took place from 5 to 9 June 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. The session focused on “A sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilateralism: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in times of global crises.”

Kenya’s President William Ruto officially opened the meeting on 5 June in the presence of UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Sharif and other representative members from 193 nations and stakeholders and other different local and international organizations. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, virtually addressed the event with a video message. He emphasized that UN member states must meet the 2030 sustainable development goals in his address.

Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, also sent a prerecorded video message he highlighted the importance of addressing the complex global crises and implementing sustainable development initiatives while protecting the planet from climate change. Furthermore, the role of UN-Habitat in these endeavors, particularly considering that cities are at the center of converging crises such as migration, climate change, and conflicts, was emphasized by him.

The second session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF), facilitated by UCLG, organized World Assembly of Local and Regional Governments (WALRG). This gathering was officially recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, acknowledging the crucial role that local and regional governments and communities play in promoting sustainable urban development and implementing the New Urban Agenda. The World Assembly is mentioned explicitly in the Quito Outcome document (paragraph 169) as a mechanism for reviewing and following up on the New Urban Agenda. The document emphasizes the importance of collaborating with WALRG and engaging with associations representing sub-national and local governments to monitor and evaluate the New Urban Agenda.

The following themes were discussed at the WALRG:

  • Transformative partnerships for quality and equitable local public service provision: towards the SDG 11 under review.
  • Localizing the SDGs to achieve the global agendas for sustainability in times of crises: towards the SDG Summit.
  • Revitalizing Multilateralism: towards the Summit of the Future.

Various local governments from the MEWA region attended the event, including Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality,      Marmara Municipalities Union, Riyad Greater Municipality, Selçuklu Municipality, and Üsküdar Municipality. Yehia İbrahim, Policy Officer, represented the UCLG-MEWA Secretariat at the UN-Habitat Assembly.

“Only the well-planned cities can build new business lines. By providing opportunities for new ventures, we can continue to generate opportunities both for current generations and the future ones.”

Notably, Üsküdar Municipality from the MEWA region was chosen to host World Cities Day at the end of this year’s “Urban October” month at the end of the event.

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