Nordic Declaration on the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda


This multi-stakeholder declaration is an outcome of the conference Nordic Urban Ways – Implementing the New Urban Agenda*, which was held in Stockholm on 16 December 2016, organised by the independent think tank Global Utmaning in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Swedish National Centre for Architecture and Design (ArkDes). The conference was held as a regional follow up to the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). The declaration was initiated by a drafting committee that included the rapporteurs of the conference’s panel discussions. Over 400 attendees from research, private sector, civil society, national and local authorities have had the opportunity to actively contribute to this statement. (Download PDF)

  1. Our joint point of departure is that sustainable urban development as outlined in the New Urban Agenda is essential to achieve the 2030 Agenda.[i] 
  1. We are convinced that political leadership plays an essential role in order to jointly define challenges, developing shared visions, building coalitions and create conditions for courageous actors.[ii]
  1. We call for a governance structure with focus on co-production in development and planning when turning visions into action, developing strategies, defining and implementing action plans. [iii]
  1. We therefore emphasize that the management of sustainable urban development should adopt a flexible multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach in seizing opportunities, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. [iv]
  1. Finally, acknowledging that cities are complex, ever-changing systems, their adaptive capacity is essential. Therefore, our joint vision is that sustainable urban development in the Nordic region should be guided by a set of fundamental principles supported by sufficient resources: [v]
  • Sustainable urban participation – collaboration between citizens, civil society and local government; capacity building and broaden inclusive platforms; age, gender and socio-economic responsive approaches leaving no one behind.[vi]
  • Sustainable urban environment – protect and reuse natural resources and improve urban ecosystems; smart city approach, circular economy and sustainable energy; mitigation and adaption to climate change.[vii]
  • Sustainable urban socio-economic well-being – safe, healthy, affordable and inclusive environment; accessible, green, and quality public spaces; generate social and economic value; well-connected and well-distributed networks of human-scale.[viii]
  • Sustainable urban housing – age- and gender-responsive; wide range and mix of housing, strengthening affordable options; integrated housing approaches.[ix]
  • Sustainable urban mobility – urban-rural interactions; road safety; connectivity approach; integrating mobility plans into overall urban plans.[x]
  • Sustainable urban culture and lifestyles – revitalize urban areas to promote diversity; strengthen social and cultural participation to support transition; adopting a mix of sustainable lifestyles and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns.[xi]

Global Utmaning encourage all relevant actors and stakeholders to take collective action and responsibility for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. Our conviction is that the Nordic region holds the potential to fulfil these goals. We therefore commit ourselves to share good examples and lessons learned and move forward at global, national, regional and local level to achieve a sustainable development.

* Conference website

[i] See SDG11 ’Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ & New Urban Agenda (NUA)
[ii] SDG11a, NUA§85-92, Nordic Urban Ways (NUW) p.51
[iii] SDG11b, NUA§93-123, NUW p.51
[iv] SDG11c, NUA§123, 130-160 p.51
[v] NUA§93-123, NUW p.51
[vi] SDG11.3, NUA§29, 39-42
[vii] SDG11.5 & SDG11.6, NUA§30, 64-69, 71-78
[viii] SDG11.7, NUA§37, 53-56, 63-67, 100
[ix] SDG11.1, NUA§31-36, 46, 59-70, 107-108, 111-112
[x] SDG11.2, NUA§49-50, 54, 113-114
[xi]SDG11.4, NUA§38, §14