Habitat UNI was introduced as a means of promoting cooperation between UN- HABITAT and institutions of higher education, as well as facilitating exchange and cooperation among universities globally. UNI promotes the idea of universities becoming closer partners of cities and actively engaged in problem solving, thus closing the gap between academia and practice and encouraging collaborative learning.
UNI aspires to create the next generation of urban leaders, managers, researchers and practitioners. Universities are the key to the success of the initiative and UN-Habitat will act as a catalyst, facilitating partnerships with them and other agenda partners.
Find below an extract from the UNI Charter. You will find the full text here.
The aim of the UNI is to harness the strengths of universities and promote cooperation in the fields of education, research, professional development and policy advice towards progressive university-city collaborations on sustainable urban development.
To create the next generation of urban leaders, managers, researchers and practitioners and promote the global exchange of knowledge. To encourage and support the global dissemination of ideas on sustainable urbanization, enhancing the quality and relevance of university work.
To achieve its aim and vision, UNI will:
- Be at the centre of a global inter-disciplinary network that will be the partner-of-choice in urban education and research activities. This global network will lead change and influence practice and policy in sustainable urban development.
- Provide a global platform to encourage dialogue and debate between the UNI community, policy and decision makers, practitioners and the public.
- Promote the development of world-class educational programmes in sustainable urban development for the next generation of practitioners and leaders. In addition, UNI will undertake capacity building programmes to disseminate research results and best practices.
- Support cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and thinking that spans the scope of urban issues. The research will be strategic in setting the global urban agenda and will be conducted with a wide range of international partners with capabilities in urban theory, implementation, regulation and policy development.
- Promote a demand-led approach to urban research, which would speed up the process of identification, development and uptake of solutions related to sustainable urban development. UNI believes that such an approach will lead to greater impact. The dissemination of innovative and appropriate methods will support the going to scale of urban practices.
- Turn research findings into information and knowledge in support of urban practice and policy. UNI will provide dissemination mechanisms to maximize the uptake of its research and policy advice so that it has a demonstrable, tangible impact.
- Develop a knowledge management portal that will support the transfer of innovation and knowledge. The portal will be one of the tools through which UNI and other networks can interact. It will serve as the first stop for reliable up-to-date information and knowledge on sustainable urban development.
UNI promotes sustainable urban development as set out in the principles below.
- Accessible and pro-poor land, infrastructure, services, mobility and housing
- Socially-inclusive, gender sensitive, healthy and safe development
- Environmentally sound and carbon efficient built environment, including the use of appropriate technologies
- Participatory planning and decision-making processes
- Vibrant, resilient and competitive local economies promoting decent work and livelihoods
- Conditions of non-discrimination and equitable rights to the city
- Governance structures that will empower cities and communities to plan for effective management of adversity and change
- Transparent and efficient local resource mobilization
UNI will emphasize the comparative advantages of all partners in the field of education, research, professional development, policy advice as well as knowledge creation and dissemination.
UNI will be member driven. Universities and University-led associations will be able to become institutional members with full rights. Individuals, associated with universities, may become individual members. A Steering Committee provides strategic guidance.
Members signing up to the principles of UNI agree to promote sustainable urban development on local, national, regional and global levels
UNI promotes joint activities, projects, programmes and fundraising. The above strategic objectives will be achieved through education, research, professional development, policy advice and knowledge management.