Reflections on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda – Commissioned by the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Habitat III

Reflections on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda
Schreiber, Franziska; Kaj Fischer, Paola Adriázola and Alexander Carius 2016: Reflections on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda. Commissioned by the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Habitat III. Berlin: adelphi.

After gathering inputs from UN Member States, the urban expert community and civil society groups, the zero draft of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) was published on 6 May 2016. The document has been prepared by the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee with support of the Habitat III Secretariat, and will be further refined during informal intergovernmental negotiations between May and July 2016. The draft provides a noteworthy basis for the upcoming debates. But does it contain all relevant topics? How are potential conflictual issues reflected?

“Reflections on the Zero Draft of the New Urban Agenda” analyses strengths and weaknesses of the zero draft and takes a closer look at several important issues. The paper was commissioned by Cities Alliance under the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Habitat III.

First, the linkages to other important international agreements such as Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate agreement are scrutinized. This includes an assessment of the narrative structure and coherence of the document. Secondly, priorities for action and critical issues are identified. Thirdly, a thorough assessment of key topics provides insights on how the draft envisions implementation of the NUA. Which enabling conditions are included? What role are partnerships set to play? How are territorial development, financing mechanism, and questions of decentralization and subsidiarity addressed? And lastly, how will the follow-up and review process support implementation efforts? While the zero draft is of noteworthy quality, this report identifies several aspects that can be further improved.