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Dialogue 2

Implementing the New Urban Agenda to drive Sustainable Change


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) and the New Urban Agenda (2016) both acknowledge   that urbanization is a key transformative force for sustainable development.

Cities will play an increasingly critical role both in enabling countries to achieve sustainable development and to respond to the climate crisis. It is estimated that up to 65 percent of SDG targets are not achievable without defining a clear role for urban stakeholders in implementation of the NUA and the 2010 Agenda.

Cities have a clear role to play in ending poverty (SDG1); reducing inequality (SDG10); promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and providing full and productive employment (SDG8); ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG12) and combating climate change and its impacts (SDG13).

The global call for a Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development by 2030 launched by the Secretary-General is a challenge for all stakeholders to leverage innovation and culture to fast track sustainable urbanization. There is urgent need to identify key drivers of sustainable development by exploring ways to improve current approaches to planning, building, the movement of people and goods, and existing consumption patterns while protecting the environment. Sustainable change must be anchored in local culture to maximize the benefits of innovation. Culture is dynamic and is not limited to cultural heritage. It is formed around the identity, soul and intangible values of a place and the people associated with it.


This Dialogue will examine how the implementation of the New Urban Agenda can accelerate the achievement of SDGs as highlighted in the Decade of Action, ensuring no one and no place is left behind.

The case will be made for inclusive and sustainable urbanization and the positive impact it can have on reducing urban inequalities, responding to the climate crisis, protecting the environment, preserving biodiversity and building resilience against multiple natural hazards.

Anchoring sustainable development in local cultures and focusing on innovation is critical in identifying urban and nature-based solutions that can drive change at scale.

The dialogue will argue for an integrated approach to the three transformative commitments of NUA: Leaving no one and no place behind in the fight against poverty; urban prosperity and opportunities for all; and ecologically resilient cities and human settlements.

Guiding Questions
  1. How can implementation of the NUA drive sustainable change and accelerate progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework and other relevant global agendas? How can urban inequalities be overcome so that no one and no place is left behind?
  2. What are the critical elements in changing the way we plan, build, move people and goods and consume while sustaining our natural environment and exploiting nature’s potential to provide solutions?
  3. The New Urban Agenda must be implemented across a diverse and fast urbanizing world affected by conflict and prone to natural disasters. What challenges and opportunities does this bring with it for implementation for the New Urban Agenda and its potential outcomes including sustaining peace where relevant?
  4.  What role do culture and innovation play in implementation of the NUA and its transformative commitments: social inclusion and ending poverty to ensure no one and no place is left behind; sustainable and inclusive urban prosperity and opportunities for all; and environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development?

Session Speakers

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