World Vision Leads Children's Rights in the New Urban Agenda

In October 2016, the United Nations adopted ‘The New Urban Agenda’ at the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development – a set of guidelines and measurements that will support the implementation of the SDGs in urban areas, specifically Urban SDG #11 “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

As part of the implementation phase of the New Urban Agenda, World Vision continues to work with partners UN-Habitat and plans to host an Urban Thinkers Campus in 2017. World Vision is also working with other partners to implement urban solutions that contribute to creating safe, sustainable and just cities for children - especially the most vulnerable.

World Vision is Co-Chair of the General Assembly of Partners' Children and Youth Stakeholder Group for Habitat III - an officially recognised UN platform for major stakeholder engagement in the formulation, implementation, monitoring, review and implementation of The New Urban Agenda. As part of this role, World Vision advocates for the needs of children and youth and their critical role as key contributors in local, national and global policies and processes that shape our future cities. Listen to World Vision's call for action at Habitat 3.

World Vision is also a standing committee member and lead partner of UN-Habitat's World Urban Campaign – a global advocacy and partnership platform raising awareness on sustainable urban development. In this role, World Vision provides the child wellbeing lens to how city stakeholders should plan, build and manage 'The City We Need’ in order to achieve a sustainable urban future. 


The Habitat III Conference was only the third time in history where global leaders and urbanists have gathered to discuss the world’s cities. Notably, it was a historic first for the inclusion of children’s voices in the entire Habitat process. During the event, World Vision led/co-led the Children and Youth Assembly, Children and Youth Roundtable, a Networking Event focused on ‘just and inclusive cities for children’, as well as featured as a panellist speaker at several partners’ events.

The Children’s Assembly brought together over 100 children and adolescents from Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, India and Indonesia from local, regional and global child and youth focused agencies to identify issues, priorities and recommendations for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. The Assembly, the first of its kind, aimed to provide a formal platform for current citizens and future leaders to propose solutions that can contribute to cities for children that are just, safe, healthy, prosperous and resilient that leave no one behind.

Children demanded access to quality education, safe public spaces, protection from urban violence. They demanded neighbourhoods free from drugs, violence, alcohol and access to green and walkable spaces and playgrounds that are environment friendly and managed efficiently. These urban solutions were captured in a Children’s Charter and presented to Dr Joan Clos, Secretary General of Habitat III and city government authorities during the closing press conference for the event (41:00), as well as shared widely during the Children and Youth Roundtable.

“We want a world that is full of love, and no more hate… We want to tell the distinguished authorities to pay close attention to everything that children say. Remember that this is not just a matter affecting the country’s children, but involves everyone… Let’s work together,” declared Emily Daniela, aged 10 years old, from Ecuador. Watch her speech on UN WebTV.

To uphold children’s rights in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, World Vision is calling upon city authorities to: 

  1. Protect the most vulnerable children, especially from abuse and exploitation
  2. Improve access and quality of urban public services and the built environment
  3. Build social cohesion to contribute to inclusive cities
  4. Enhance knowledge building and support participatory urban governance
  5. Promote multi-sectoral partnerships for citywide impact

Nearly 170 countries unanimously adopted the New Urban Agenda. As Co-Chair of the General Assembly of Partners’ Children and Youth Group towards Habitat III and lead partner of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, World Vision has successfully advocated for the inclusion and recognition of children’s rights, which is now embedded in the New Urban Agenda.


In the lead up to Habitat III, the UN hosted a series of regional and thematic high level meetings to debate the priorities of the New Urban Agenda and inform global policy. World Vision featured as a keynote speaker and panellist member at several plenary and side events at the following meetings:

In addition, the UN General Assembly established a preparatory committee for the Habitat III Conference, providing a platform for major stakeholders to contribute their views on housing and sustainable urban development. World Vision has delivered official statements and presentations at several side events during the second meeting (PrepCom II) in Nairobi, Kenya in April 2015, and third meeting (PrepCom III) in Surabaya, Indonesia in July 2016. 

Finally, World Vision engaged in the UN informal hearings for major stakeholders in New York in May 2016 to provide feedback on the New Urban Agenda.


As a lead partner of UN-Habitat's World Urban Campaign, World Vision was approved to organise three Urban Thinkers Campuses as part of a global campaign to inform The New Urban Agenda:

  1. Ethical Cities - Locking in Liveability
    February 16 2016 - Melbourne, Australia. Co-hosted with UN Global Compact Cities Programme.
    Read the event report, published by UN-Habitat.

  2. Resilient Cities: Bridging the Humanitarian/Development Divide
    February 11 2016 - Online. Co-hosted with the International Rescue Committee
    Read the event report, published by UN-Habitat.

  3. Healthy and Just Cities for Children and Youth
    October 28 2015 - Geneva, Switzerland
    Read the event report, published by UN-Habitat.

The Urban Thinkers Campus is an initiative of UN-Habitat conceived as an open space for debate, learning, and consensus building between urban experts to propose solutions for a better urban future. Each Urban Thinkers Campus will produce key recommendations for consideration in The New Urban Agenda.