Sustainable cities and human settlements
Human settlements

"Promoting sustainable human settlements development" is the subject of Chapter 7 of Agenda 21, which calls for 1) providing adequate shelter for all; 2) improving human settlements management; 3) promoting sustainable land-use planning and management; 4) promoting the integrated provision of environmental infrastructure: water, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management; 5) promoting sustainable energy and transport systems in human settlements; 6) promoting human settlements planning and management in disaster-prone areas; 7) promoting sustainable construction industry activities; and 8) promoting human resource development and capacity-building for human settlements development.

Sustainable human settlements development was discussed by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its second and third sessions as well as during the nineteenth Special Session of the General Assembly. It was again considered at the Commission's twelfth (CSD-12) and thirteenth (CSD-13) sessions in 2004/2005 - the first two-year Implementation cycle following the adoption of the Commission's new approach and Work Programme.

The Secretary-General's reports on sustainable human settlements development facilitated the Commission's review at CSD-12 and decision-making at CSD-13 on progress achieved at all levels in the implementation of the human settlements goals and targets contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Both the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (Chapter II - Poverty Eradication, paragraph 11) and the MDG Target 7 called for efforts to achieve "a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers", by 2020.

Sustainable Cities
Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. Cities can promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable societies if we adopt a holistic approach to urban development that ensure universal access to basic services, housing and mobility. Urban planning, transport systems, water, sanitation, waste management, disaster risk reduction, access to information, education and capacity-building are all relevant issues to be addressed.

Action Network on Sustainable Cities
Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs