The New Urban Agenda is pushing the idea that sustainable development and urbanization go hand in hand. There are many parts of development and urbanization that The New Urban Agenda focuses on which attain both of these simultaneously while promoting social agendas as well. Through poverty alleviation, inclusive economies, and environmental sustainability initiatives, The New Urban Agenda pushes for many benefits from cities themselves. Those listed include
- Adequate housing with accessible food, water, sanitation, and jobs
- Participatory communities in order to meet all needs
- Gender equality by ensuring numbers 1 and 2
- Meet social challenges in a way that is sustainable and inclusive
- Act as a center for the development at hand with administrative services
- Plan for age and gender mobility obstacles to link this population with people, places, goods, services, and economic opportunities
- Implement a disaster risk reduction and relief program as well as mitigate and adapt to climate change
- “Protect, conserve, restore, and promote” the environment within and around the city in order to minimize environmental impact and make a move to responsible production and production methods
All eight of these are included in the Outcome document of Habitat III as the vision of future cities. While these are all things every city should strive for, it is still a non-binding agreement with minimal accountability. As shown in the indicators under Sustainable Development Goal 11, the goals and indicators are clearly stated but do not mention clear measurements to strive for.
For example, 11.A aims to “support positive economic, social, and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.” The indicator for this is 11.A.1, stated as “proportion of population living in cities that implement urban and regional development plans integrating population projections and resource needs, by size of city.” There are two large issues with this: a lack of measurement and not accounting for measures taken outside of cities. First, the lack of measurement relates back to the issues seen with the Millennium Development Goals. Without a set goal, these could be achieved in a minor way but have minimal impact. Second, while the goal is for urbanization, there will undoubtedly be interaction between rural and urban areas. Whether this is merely a trade of goods or includes people traveling regularly between the two, many of the urban plans should be applied to rural areas as well in order to have a fuller impact.