HIComment on UN-Habitat Review

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HIComment on UN-Habitat Review
05 September 2017

In advance of a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on 5 and 6 September 2017, HIC and HLRN have reviewed the High-level Independent Panel assessing the performance and capacity of UN-Habitat and posing recommendations for its future. The Panel’s report considers UN-Habitat performance and capacity from four angles, including its:

1. Normative and operational mandate,

2. Governance,

3. Partnerships and

4. Financing.

Although the Panel had little time and insufficient terms of reference, it produced its report on 1 August 2017 with several recommendations for UN-Habitat’s role in implementing the New Urban Agenda, which global policy guides implementation through 2036.

The objectives of the General Assembly’s 2-day meeting are to:

1. Generate ideas and build momentum to support implementation the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including by sharing best practices and success stories relating to the implementation, and

2. Build a greater understanding of the recommendations contained in the Report from the Secretary General’s Independent Panel to Assess, Enhance Effectiveness of UN-Habitat.

The HIComment on the Panel’s report seeks to contribute to those two objectives.

HIC and HLRN find the report useful by raising more questions about each of the four areas of review, however, without providing convincing rationale for several recommendations. Besides leaving the important criteria of the agency’s normative framework undefined, the proposals for universal state membership in UN-Habitat’s governing body and the creation of a new, parallel UN structure remain questionable in light of the UN’s reform efforts to consolidate and align its Sustainable Development System within the priorities of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement on climate change.

The terms of engagement with the “UN-Habitat we want” remains subjects of further debate that HIC-HLRN will address through its Human Rights Habitat Observatory.

Download the HIC-HLRN summary statement on the Panel’s report (3.5 pp.)

Download the extended version of HIC-HLRN response (8 pp.)

View the UN live stream broadcast of the High-level General Assembly sessions

Photo: Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, at the High-level meeting discusses the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the positioning of UN-Habitat in this regard. Source: UN.

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