Global Urban Governance in the 21st Century

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Several recent international negotiations and agreements have potentially far-reaching implications for global urban governance. These include the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 (March 2015), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (July 2015), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (September 2015), the Paris Climate Agreement (December 2015), the World Humanitarian Summit (May 2016) and – last but not least – the soon to be agreed New Urban Agenda (October 2016).

The implications of these agreements for global urban governance are not yet clear. The Agenda 2030, for example, has a specific goal for sustainable cities and human settlements (SDG 11), but also contains various other targets and indicators related to other goals with a strong urban dimension. This raises questions regarding the extent to which the SDGs have to be implemented in, and with, cities and other urban actors. More broadly, the successful implementation of the urban dimension of the SDGs and other international agreements requires (UN) institutions that can: support implementation at the global, regional, and national levels; coordinate implementation within the UN system; and monitor and review implementation.

Against this background, adelphi analysed the potential implications of these various agreements for global urban governance. This involved an in-depth investigation of the roles, responsibilities, and capacities of different institutions and organizations in the UN system and beyond as they relate to the urban dimension of these agreements.