High-level panel recommends formal role for subnational governments in renewed UN Habitat

07 August 2017

The High-Level Independent Panel to Assess and Enhance the Effectiveness of UN-Habitat has made recommendations on enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and oversight of UN-Habitat.

The High-Level Independent Panel to Assess and Enhance the Effectiveness of UN-Habitat published its report to the UN-Secretary General on 1 August. In the report, the eight-member Panel, of which Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and UCLG President, Parks Tau, were members, acknowledges that the UN System has failed to recognize the “fundamental role” played by local governments in urban development.  

In a statement to the Global Taskforce, Panel Co-chair and UCLG President, Parks Tau said the Panel was convinced that “with adequate resources, tools and full ownership of the Member States, as well as developed partnerships, UN-Habitat continues to have the potential to play a significant role... The recommendations to enhance its governance should enable it to play a significant role as a focal point for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.”

The Panel’s report recommends a governance system in which all spheres of government, including local and regional governments, play a strong role in policy development, in close partnership with civil society and other actors. More specifically, it calls for a formal role for a Local Government Committee in a renewed UN Habitat governance structure.

In line with long-standing Global Taskforce recommendations, the report also calls for urbanization to be mainstreamed across the work of the UN through a new body, UN Urban, and for an integrated, territorial approach to urbanization that break downs the artificial urban-rural dichotomy.

With regard to the local and regional government constituency, Tau said “I am well aware that the aspirations of our constituency are even greater, but I am convinced that, if all gather around the solid mechanisms that we have put in place, such as the Global Taskforce and the World Assembly, if we continue to forge partnerships with Major Groups and stakeholders, in particular GAP, we will be able to make great contributions to the development agenda and to shape the sustainable future we all want.”

The Panel’s report will serve as an input to a two-day High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly from 5-6 September to discuss the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the positioning of UN-Habitat in this regard.

More information:

Report of the High Level Independent Panel to Assess and Enhance Effectiveness of UN-Habitat

Statement by Parks Tau to the Global Taskforce

UNGA High-level Meeting on UN-Habitat