Ministers Roundtable

Hall 4, Room A

Different approaches by different constituencies determine the opportunities cities have for defining access by their citizens to the benefits of culture and innovation. Creative urban processes are governed by rules and regulations, with national governments playing various roles. 

Throughout history, cities have been incubators of ideas and hubs of innovative transformation. Sustainable Development Goal 11 highlights the commitment by member states to making “cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Target 11.4 calls for strengthening “efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage”. Other SDGs, including SDG 9 on “industry, innovation, and infrastructure” complement this theme.

Promoting and preserving human creation and “culture” benefits future generations and ensures that societal changes triggered by innovative processes are ethically acceptable and their benefits accessible to all.

The High-level Roundtable of Ministers will share experiences and review actions taken by governments to enhance the potential of culture and innovation to contribute to the sustainable development of cities. It will focus on the contribution made by national governments “towards shared cities prosperity and promoting culture and innovation”.

The UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2020-2023 contributes to achievement of the SDGs through implementation of NUA which supports policy reforms around four mutually reinforcing and integrated domains of change namely reduced spatial inequality and poverty in communities across the urban-rural continuum; enhanced shared prosperity of cities and regions; strengthened climate action and improved urban environment; and effective urban crisis prevention and response.

Each domain of change relates to enhancing the cultural environment and promoting innovative actions by national governments to bring about change for all.  


The High-Level Roundtable of Ministers brings together representatives of national governments and key decision-makers to deliberate on and identify emerging issues and significant global trends in urban development. It will place emphasis on cultural creation and preservation, as well as innovative approaches for a better urban future for all.

The High-Level Roundtable of Ministers elevates the debate on strengthening linkages between sustainable urbanization and the global development agenda to the most appropriate decision-making level. It will be an opportunity to reflect on the how-to accelerate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ministers will be encouraged to identify areas with potential for concrete collective action, intensify their engagement, and maximize the opportunities for collaboration between local governments and city leaders. This will accelerate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda at national and sub-national levels.

Guiding Questions

Part 1: Regional and sub-regional mechanisms review and engagements  

  1. Based on the Ministerial Declaration made at the First Session of the UN-Habitat Assembly, what achievements have been made in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and what have been the main challenges?
  2. What actions are being undertaken at regional and sub-regional levels to identify linkages between culture and innovation for national prosperity and as opportunities for sustainable development of cities? What strategies are in place to deliver tangible results?
  3. What regional and sub-regional mechanism has been adopted by your government to promote and facilitate investment in cultural creation and innovations that support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda?

Part 2: National updates and peer review

  1. How are culture and innovation included in your policy-making processes and how does your government intend to leverage them to create more opportunities for cities and citizens?
  2. Which urban legal frameworks, urban and territorial planning frameworks or financing frameworks are being used by your government to promote culture and innovations as ways to support sustainable urbanization?
  3. What measures have been implemented by your government to empower local authority representatives who are closest to the cultural heritage of cities to be agents of change by exercising their mandate as elected leaders?
  4. What more could your government do in the next two years to increase the political momentum for implementation of the New Urban Agenda at national and sub-national levels?


Session Speakers