Urban challenges are substantial, growing and global sustainable development will be increasingly linked to what is happening in cities. Given the need to reconcile this inevitable reality within Agenda 2030, it is necessary to have an urban leader .
In this way, the Panel was urged to make bold recommendations to improve UN-HABITAT’s effectiveness, efficiency and accountability, ensuring that the Agency is prepared to address the requirements of inclusive and sustainable urban development, Which implies greater transparency, responsiveness to a rapidly changing global and urban landscape, and flexibility to seize opportunities as they arise.
To this end, the Panel responsible for this report was established to conduct an independent, objective and evidence-based review and evaluation to make recommendations for improving effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and oversight of the agency in four areas Operational mandates, governance structure, partnerships and financial capacity.
The role of UN-HABITAT
2) Recognizing that UN-HABITAT plays a key role in addressing sustainable urbanization but faces challenges that compromise its ability to respond effectively, the Panel recommends that the first priority be to rapidly stabilize and strengthen UN-HABITAT.
(3) Considers that UN-HABITAT is the appropriate entity of the United Nations to play a promotional role around the importance of urban issues. In this way, it would assist and support Member States, United Nations agencies and other stakeholders in integrating the New Urban Agenda and urban aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals into their development operations, providing guidance And tools to strengthen urban work at the national level.
4) In complementing the role of UN-Habitat, the Panel proposes that UN-Urban be established as a coordination mechanism similar to UN-Water or UN-Energy as part of the United Nations system-wide reform, With a small secretariat based in New York.
The mandate of UN-HABITAT
(5) The Panel recommends that with ODS and NAU as guiding frameworks, UN-HABITAT’s normative role is to “leave no one behind”, a policy widely supported by human rights frameworks backed by the United Nations system . This implies promotion and supervision with Member States to ensure that urban work reflects this guide as well as guidance on the best means to achieve this goal.
(6) Further recommends that all operational work be clearly linked to policy priorities and a closer link to global strategic policy and governance oversight.
(7) The Group recommends two priority areas in this regard: attention to equity, vulnerability and exclusion in urban development and a focus on urban planning, legislation and standards that best support the equitable development priorities together With environmental sustainability and economic soundness.
In particular, it is recommended that UN-Habitat provide guidance on informality as the engine of exclusion.
9) Clear project documentation is recommended to demonstrate the complementarity of normative / operational work and the interpretation of the normative / operational distinction in each project.
10) In the urban definition, the Panel calls for a conceptual change towards a more territorial approach, focusing on the metropolitan regions, including the cities, towns, outlying areas and villages they contain, and avoiding excessive simplification of the rural-urban dichotomy.
(11) The Group recommends that UN-HABITAT, in its data support role, pay particular attention to gaps in the collection and analysis of data obscuring the realities of excluded groups.
(12) The Group agrees that the current governance model suffers from systemic problems affecting accountability, efficiency and effectiveness and recommends some key changes, focusing on the need for participation of all Member States and capacity for Reflect the complexity of the urban development landscape with its multiple actors.
13) Recommends a new governance structure that includes the universal membership of the 193 Member States in a General Urban Assembly and the addition of a small Policy Board focused on providing strategic and policy advice as well as project oversight. The Policy Board would integrate input from the CPR, the Secretariat and the Executive Director, but also a committee of local and subnational authorities and a committee of urban stakeholders, both with capacity to assess and revise resolutions and provide coordinated guidance to the Policy Council . UN-Urban would also advise this Board.
(14) The Group recommends that the Urban Assembly organize its calendar and the location of its meetings to maximize the potential for overlap with both the United Nations Environment Assembly and the General Assembly.
15) UN-HABITAT should also have a greater staff presence in New York, especially high-level staff to improve coordination and closer relations with United Nations entities in New York.
16) UN-Habitat should have more staff in Nairobi, New York and regional offices, with gender parity to fulfill its mission and mandate to support Member States, subnational governments and United Nations country teams.
17) In order to have active, effective and inclusive partnerships that can contribute to the fulfillment of its inclusion mandate, the Panel recommends that UN-HABITAT explore and strengthen relations with representative organizations of local governments and civil society, as well as Strengthening partnerships with the United Nations and the Regional Economic Commissions.
18) Also urges UN-HABITAT to explore ways to encourage private sector actors to examine the unwanted negative impacts of their investments and to find ways to mitigate them.
19) Finally, it recommends institutionalizing the World Urban Forum (WUF) to help keep NAU firmly on the global agenda. It proposes that the results of the WUF be integrated into the UN-Habitat strategic plan and program of work and budget. This should be done through a report on the results of the Policy Board for its integration into the resolutions of the Urban Assembly.
20) The Group recommends that an urgent appeal be made to Member States to support UN-HABITAT with committed funds for several years. In addition, it recommends that UN-Habitat develop a medium-term plan and expenditure framework for four to five years.
21) In order to encourage voluntary contributions from Member States, the Group recommends that UN-HABITAT specify the percentage of core funds spent on staff and other administrative costs.
(22) In order to reinforce the priority assigned to normative work, the Panel recommends that part of the financing of specific technical cooperation be earmarked for linkage with the normative mission and firmly proposes a limit to the funds allocated from Member States Which are intended for operational work.
(23) The Group recommends that UN-HABITAT explore the benefits of grant modality, giving the organization more management flexibility and responsiveness, while allowing it to remain a part of the United Nations Secretariat.
24) In order to explore new and innovative sources of funding and increase available resources for inclusive and sustainable urbanization, the Group recommends that UN-HABITAT develop a strategy of cooperation with multilateral banks, financial institutions and private sources of funding. The potential for funding and fundraising inherent in local urban relations could also be explored.
25) Finally, the Panel recommends the creation of a Global Trust Fund to serve as a platform for alternative funding for sustainable urbanization efforts.
In order to maintain momentum for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and reflect on the position of UN-HABITAT in this regard, the President of the UN General Assembly convened a High-level Meeting of the General Assembly On 5 and 6 September 2017 to discuss, inter alia, the Independent Panel Report of the Secretary-General to assess and improve the effectiveness of UN-HABITA