Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to be held in Quito (Ecuador) in October, no fewer than 30 housing ministers and senior government officials have endorsed Africa’s Priorities for the new urban agenda.

The ministers met with representatives of National Government, local and regional authorities, intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, professionals and academia, private sector, civil society organizations, women, children and youth under the Habitat III Africa Regional Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, from 24 to 26 February 2016.

The text of the Abuja Declaration for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development  (HABITAT III), read by Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works & Housing and Chair of the Preparatory Board for the Preparation of the Abuja Declaration, Mr. Babatunde Fashola was adopted by the Delegates at the African Regional Conference.

They agreed as follows:

Harness the potential of urbanization to accelerate structural transformation for inclusive and sustainable growth through:

  • Allocating adequate financial resources to promote.
  • Sustainable urbanization and human settlements development to drive structural transformation for the benefit of all citizens. This should include promotion of land titling and registration, as well as resource generation through land base revenue and land value capture.
  • Promoting inclusive economic growth that translates to full employment and decent jobs as well as improved living standards for all.
  • Enhancing connectivity between rural and urban areas to harness the full potential of the urban rural linkages.
  • Strengthening linkages between urbanization and structural change policies, including accelerated industrialization and agricultural modernization strategies for high productivity and value addition.
  • Strengthening and creating systems of well-connected cities and human settlements at the national and regional levels as nodes of growth based on their competitive advantages.
  • Integrating urbanization into national development planning as a cross cutting factor driving national growth and transformation.
  • Prioritizing planning and investment for sustainable urban mobility systems that link people, places and economic opportunities.


Enhance people-centered urban and human settlements through:

  • Ensuring access to affordable basic services including clean water, sanitation, energy, health, education and sustainable transport and employment by all citizens in order to realize their full potential, especially youth, women and people in vulnerable groups.
  • Strengthening institutions and spatial planning systems to foster urban safety and security, as well as healthy environment and promotes inclusion through participatory approaches and consultative frameworks;
  • Ensuring access to sustainable, affordable and adequate housing and land, and promoting slum upgrading to ensure security of tenure and access to socio-economic facilities, taking into account the diversity of contexts, the potential of informal economies and the rights of the inhabitants;
  • Developing and implementing clean air policies to reduce health risks through regulatory and voluntary initiatives, working with multiple stakeholders;
  • Developing a national system of connected cities and human settlements to enhance rural-urban linkages and to advance growth and transformation based on their competitive advantages
  • Adopting integrated National Urbanization Policies in the context of national development planning to facilitate multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration and avoid sectoral silos
  • Focusing on preemptive, spatial and programmatic urban planning to harness the full potential of urbanization and avoid irreversible and unsustainable pathways
  • Accommodating cultural differences, promoting localized systems of sustainable urban development and increased attention for the preservation of cultural heritage


Strengthen institutions and systems for promoting transformative change in human settlements including through:

  • Enhancing capacities for rural and urban planning, governance and management, underpinned by sound data collection and use.
  • Promoting effective decentralized urban management by empowering cities and local governments, technically and financially, to deliver adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements.
  • Facilitating the participation of urban dwellers in urban governance and management.
  • Strengthening and harmonizing urban legislation and regulation to promote and facilitate planned urbanization.
  • Enhance the contribution of urban and human settlements development to continental integration by:
  • Taking advantage of urban corridors at the regional level for related infrastructural and other initiatives, cross regional interaction and movement of people.
  • Orienting regional and interregional infrastructure, facilities and initiatives to promote cross boundary interaction and leverage urban and human settlements assets.
  • Enhancing the urban dimension of existing sub-regional initiatives and investments.
  • Positioning urbanization and human settlements as a driver of competitiveness through specialization and connected urban systems at the regional level, namely infrastructure, economy and institutions.
  • Developing sustainable cities with improved urban systems for improved functionality, efficiency including energy and resource efficiency and effective delivery of urban basic services and infrastructure.


Enhance environmental sustainability, resilience and effective responses to climate change in cities and human settlements by:

  • Strengthening capacities of local governments for strategic response to climate change adaptation and mitigation across the rural-urban continuum.
  • Developing infrastructure that is resilient and which will reduce the impact of disasters especially in slums and informal settlements and building institutional capacities and mechanisms, and disaster risk management and mitigation including early warning systems and urban observatories.
  • Promoting Green building and infrastructure technologies as well as the application of designs, which mitigate climate change and adapt to its impact, including the urban heat island effect.
  • Fostering the utilization of sustainable renewable energy and natural resources as well as investment in Low Carbon production systems in urban centres.
  • Promoting resource efficiency in cities, to facilitate urban development in a manner that preserves rapidly diminishing natural resources, and allow cities to better manage water waste food land and energy.
  • Developing systems for sustainable solid and liquid waste management, including promoting the principle of reducing, reusing and recycling of resources.


Enhance efforts to advance a global partnership to facilitate the implementation of the new global urban and human settlements agenda by:

  • Mobilizing financial resources from both state and non-state actors.
  • Enhancing multi-stakeholder engagement for the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda for cities and human settlements agenda in Africa, including the private sector.
  • Capacity building, skills and technology transfer for sustainable urban and human settlements planning and management.


Strengthen UN-Habitat to make it politically visible, as the key player in mobilizing all relevant actors, State and non-State in implementing the New Urban Agenda as the outcome of Habitat III as well as the urban and human settlements component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and reiterate the importance of the Nairobi Headquarters location of UN-Habitat by:

  • Establishing universal membership at its Governing Council to give it more authority and legitimacy in decision-making.
  • Ensuring additional, stable and predictable financial resources both from regular and non-regular budget of the United Nations.
  • Improving the ability of the organization to provide capacity building to developing countries in designing, planning, implementation and sustainable management of urban and other human settlements.
  • Empowering UN-Habitat as the global anchor institution that mobilizes and leads all actors on the sustainable urbanization agenda, urban governance, and which engages the UN system in the implementation of mandates on urbanization and human settlements.

“We finally commit to promote the principles and the recommendations included in this Abuja Declaration for Habitat III, ensuring that this contributes to the upcoming Third Preparatory Committee meeting to be held in Surabaya in July 2016 as well as to the formulation of the New Urban Agenda at the next United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to be held in Quito (Ecuador) in October 2016.”