Designing the New Urban Agenda: Lessons from International Agreements

Designing the New Urban Agenda: Lessons from International Agreements
Schreiber, Franziska; Kaj Fischer, Eleni Dellas and Alexander Carius 2016: Designing the New Urban Agenda: Lessons from International Agreements. Berlin: adelphi.

In the process of drafting the New Urban Agenda (NUA), three questions regarding its form and function are of paramount importance. The first considers the broader framing of the NUA: will the NUA reflect a clear vision on urbanisation and sustainable urban development, and if so, how? Second, what are the specific goals and desired impact of the NUA? What responses and actions should it trigger, and from whom? And third, what should the structure and contents of the NUA be and how will it be linked to other international agreements?

The present report addresses these crucial questions. First, it briefly outlines the ongoing international debate about the framing of the Agenda and its desired impact and overall goals. Based on these considerations, the authors examine the general requirements of the NUA and lessons learnt from other international agreements and agendas. To this end, the report utilises a two-step approach. First, the report investigates the relationship between the legality, structure and substance of international agreements in general. This helps to understand the impact of these different elements and the trade-offs between them, as well as how they affect the level of compliance. Second, the report examines other relevant international agreements and agendas in terms of their form, elements, language and impact. This step is crucial in order to identify key components for the NUA, clarifying what these components should consist of and how they must be shaped in order to be meaningful and effective. Based on this analysis, the report finally presents a proposal for the structure for the NUA and how it can be linked to international processes.