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UN-Habitat member states pledge $161 million for sustainable urbanisation

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Amina J. Mohammed

In a renewed effort towards improving lives in cities, and towns, member States and other development partners have pledged more than $161 million to finance UN-Habitat work, which will help countries make cities more inclusive, healthy, prosperous, green and resilient.

The pledging session comes after member states approved the agency’s work for 2021, which requires a total of $228 million of which $206 million will be raised through voluntary contributions from member states and other development partners.  About $10 million will be used to for core normative work to improve urban knowledge, data, policies, norms and innovations so that these can then be adapted to the needs of different countries and $196 million will go towards earmarked global and country programmes.

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Last year, UN-Habitat held its first pledging conference, in a bid to raise $250 million for urban aspects of SDGs at first UN-Habitat Assembly. Around 150 people attended the conference where over $$152 million in contributions and commitments were announced to finance UN-Habitat’s work to support implementation urban dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 11 to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Specifically, at this year’s conference organised by UN-Habitat.  The event “Partner and Pledge for Sustainable Urbanization”, opened with remark by UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Maimunah Sharif.

“Our goal is simple but ambitious: to make sure that cities have the right footprint to limit and manage the impact of climate change, protect the poor and vulnerable from the worst consequences of crisis and disasters, and create access to adequate housing for more than 1 billion people who live in slums or are homeless. But we cannot do this alone,” she said.

In a video message, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, underscored the importance of sustainable urbanisation. “The global pandemic has put a bright spotlight on the urgency of to address inequalities and development challenges in cities.  By leveraging cities as innovation hubs for creative solutions we can build back a more just equitable and greener recovery to improve the quality of lives for all,” she said.

She called on member states to provide financial support for the core mandate of the UN-Habitat and to bring public and private partners together to deliver the New Urban Agenda 2030. “Recovering better will demand putting in practice the New Urban Agenda agreed at Habitat III. UN-Habitat cannot do this alone, its role is a catalyst for sustainable urban development requires genuine collaboration, partnership and investment.”

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The President of the UN-Habitat Assembly, Martha Delgado Peralta, highlighted the multi-faceted urban challenges that need to be addressed such as improving access to clean water, waste management, adequate housing and other basic services for the most marginalized communities.

“Without adequate funding, we cannot respond to these urgent needs, I strongly urge all member states to support the agency with non-earmarked contributions,” she said.

The pledging session was attended by 127 participants including representatives from 38 countries and the European Union. Pledges of more than $161 million in contributions and commitments were announced to finance global thematic programmes and country plans to be implemented with the support of UN-Habitat to accelerate achievement of the urban dimensions of the SDGS.

In his closing remarks, Chair of the UN-Habitat Executive Board, Ambassador Jafar Barmaki, expressed his appreciation for the partnership of member states and other development partners and for their pledges to provide financial support.

“UN-Habitat has an important role to play to help countries manage the risks posed by rapid urbanization and address emerging urban challenges to make their cities inclusive, safe, green and resilient,” he said.

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