H.E. President William Ruto delivers his speech during the official opening of second session of the UN-Habitat Assembly held in Nairobi from June 5 to 9, 2023.

Kenya hosted the Second Session of the United Nations Habitat Assembly from June 5 to 9, 2023 in Nairobi, under the theme: ‘A sustainable urban future through inclusive and effective multilateralism: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in times of global crises.’

The UN-Habitat Assembly is the global authority on urban trends and policies. It convenes once in four years. This year’s assembly brought togher more than 80 Ministers and Vice Ministers. Over 5,000 delegates from around the world represented Member States and Stakeholders at the event.

The Assembly hosted by the Government of Kenya in collaboration with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme opened with a call for sustainable urban development and effective multilateralism to create more liveable, sustainable and resilient cities to emerge stronger after crises.

H.E. President William Ruto officially opened the Second UN-Habitat Assembly on June 5, 2023. In his opening statement, he said that the key barrier to humanity’s aspirations for sustainable urbanization happens to be the very impediment to effective sustainable climate action in the Global South.

“As a result, countries are unable to effectively pursue all the opportunities in sustainable urbanization and leverage them to promote the broader agenda of economic transformation, climate action and sustainable development,” the President said.

The President also challenged the Assembly to pay due attention to the fact that the prevalent unjustness of the international financial architecture, and the discriminatory practices inherent in development financing, are unethical as they directly and indirectly exacerbate the vulnerability of the majority of humanity.

He called for correction of this systemic injustice to enable the developing countries to effectively mobilise multilateralism to achieve global net-zero emissions, avert a climate catastrophe and achieve sustainable development goals.

The five-day programme included thematic debates, and dialogues focusing on universal access to affordable housing, urban climate action, urban crises recovery, localization of the SDGs, and prosperity and local finance. More than 30 side events showcased innovative approaches and transformative actions linked to the five key areas highlighted in the special theme of the Second UN-Habitat Assembly.

The UN Member States cast their votes with a number of resolutions tabled to guide regional, national, and local governments to secure a better urban future for all. These included; the International guidelines on people-centered smart cities, accelerating the transformation of informal settlements and slums by 2030, World Clean-up Day, biodiverse and resilient cities, localization of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as adequate housing for all. The five-day session concluded with a Ministerial Declaration upon reaching an agreement.