Urban Polices & Legislation

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) will depend to a large extent on the adoption and implementation of effective policy sets and enabling legislation. The combined impact of rapid urbanisation and globalisation will require a concerted effort by all spheres of government and civil society to review their laws, policies and practices to facilitate more equitable urban development and sustainable or "smart" forms of urbanisation and urban growth.

Second session
Barcelona, 13-17 September 2012

Dialogue on urban realities: Innovative urban policies and legislation in implementing the Habitat Agenda and attaining the Millennium Development Goals. [MS Word] | [PDF]
The background paper presents an overview and analysis of current urban conditions and projected trends. It argues for a more harmonized and urban approach to national policy formulation and development. It presents six country case studies of promising and innovative laws and policies in the areas of land, housing and basic services, water and sanitation, social inclusion, local economic development and the role and contribution of local authorities. The paper concludes with pointers for the future, as well as an outline of a set of tools to support the development of good urban policies and enabling legislation.

A Focus on Urban Policies and Enabling Legislation
The Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme of UN-Habitat is in the process of developing and field-testing the following tools:

Guidelines for reviewing urban policies and enabling legislation
Reporting format for disseminating good urban policies and model legislation
Terms of Reference for a searchable database and knowledge network for good urban policies and model legislation
Guía para la presentación y formato informativo para Buenas políticas urbanas y Legislación facilitadora

The purpose of these tools is to support all spheres of government and civil society to improve the effectiveness of urban policies and legislation in addressing the issues of:

• Urban poverty reduction including job creation and local economic development
• Gender equality and social inclusion including universal access to water, sanitation, health and education
• Slum improvement including access to land, housing finance and basic services
• Urban environmental management and smart growth
• Decentralisation and the empowerment of local authorities


UN-HABITAT has published the Good policies and Enabling Legislation for Attaining the Millennium Development Goals: A methodology for participatory review and assessment as part of its ongoing initiative to document good policies and enabling legislation. The pilot phase of this work was conducted in 2002-2004. The publication outlines the genesis, process and status of the initiative, and the results to date. It also includes tools developed for the process of identifying, reviewing and documenting laws and policies.

A Focus on Knowledge-Sharing and Peer Learning
The steps involved in building a knowledge sharing system for policy and legislative reform include:

The "unpacking" of relevant laws/policies to render them understandable and accessible by the general public, including a map of key actors and institutions involved in policy formulation and implementation
A multi-stakeholder review of the laws/policies to identify issues, opportunities and constraints in implementation, as well as the identification of any unintended outcomes
The sharing of lessons learned through conferences, seminars, case studies, peer exchanges and decentralised co-operation (C2C)

For further information, please contact:
Best Practices and Policies Section
email: bestpractices@unhabitat.org

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