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UN-Habitat, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the UN agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development. It was established in 1978 as an outcome of the first UN Conference on Human Settlements and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat I). UN-Habitat is headquartered in Nairobi.


UN-Habitat is the leading agency within the UN system for the co-ordination of UN activities within the field of human settlements. It is mandated by the General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

UN-Habitat is responsible for

  • assisting countries with policy and technical advice
  • organizing expert meetings and seminars
  • facilitating the global exchange of information on shelter and sustainable human settlement development.

The UN Conferences on Housing (Habitat)

The UN Conferences on Housing (Habitat) are occurring in the bi-decennial cycle:

Habitat I

Habitat I was the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements held in Vancouver, Canada, 31 May-11 June 1976. It was convened by the United Nations as governments began to recognize the magnitude and consequences of rapid urbanization.

The conference outcomes were integrated in the Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, which carried an action plan with 64 recommendations for National Action. The Conference also established the agency UN-Habitat.

Habitat II

Habitat II, the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, was held in Istanbul, Turkey, 3-14 June, 1996. The conference adopted the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda (A/CONF.165/14), through which governments committed themselves to the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements.

General Assembly 25th special session, 2001

Five years after Habitat II, the United Nations General Assembly held a special session for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, New York, 6-8 June 2001. This event resulted in the United Nations Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, which reaffirms the will and commitment to implement fully the Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, in the spirit of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

Final report (A/S-25/7/Rev.1)

Habitat III

Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, took place in Quito, Ecuador, 17-20 October 2016. The Habitat III Conference reinvigorates the global commitment to sustainable urbanization, to focus on the implementation of a “New Urban Agenda”. The implementation of new global development and climate change goals was shaped. In particular the conference elaborates on goal #11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable".

More on UN-Habitat

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions


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