UN-Habitat: UPSC Notes

The United Nations Habitat Program (UN-Habitat) is a global programme for Urban development that promotes sustainable human settlements. Such international bodies and programs are very important for the IAS exam. In this article, you can read all about UN-Habitat and its relations with India.

International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. Topics like urbanization and infrastructure are equally important for Environment and Ecology. 

UN Habitat UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

UPSC Prelims Facts - UN Habitat

UN-Habitat Objectives

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme was established with a vision to provide well-governed, well-planned and efficient cities and other human settlements. These settlements would have adequate housing and infrastructure along with enough basic necessities like water, sanitation and electricity. 

  • As an inter-governmental policy-making and decision-making body, the Governing Council of UN-Habitat seeks to promote an integral and comprehensive approach to human settlements, assist the countries and regions in addressing human settlement problems and strengthen cooperation among all countries on the human settlement issue.

UN-Habitat Publications/Reports

Some of the publications released by UN-Habitat are:

  1. The State of the World’s Cities
  2. The Global Report on Human Settlements
  3. New Urban Agenda
  4. Sustainable Development Goals and Urban Local Bodies – The Future We Want

UN-Habitat and India

India has been elected to the Executive Board of the first UN-Habitat Assembly at the Plenary Session of the Assembly that was held in Nairobi in 2019.

The nodal agency for UN-Habitat in India is the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The UN body has an office in New Delhi and is in the country since 1991.

Urbanization in India 

As per Global Liveability Index rankings released in 2019, by the Economic Intelligence Unit, two major cities of India, Delhi and Mumbai, found themselves slipping in the rankings. The Index basically measures the living conditions in 140 cities.

Learn more about Urban Planning and Development in India here.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana

The Housing for All scheme was an initiative of the Indian Government to establish housing facilities for slum dwellers. 

  • It was introduced by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • This is also known as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. It is for both people residing in urban and rural areas that fulfil certain criteria.

Read more about the Housing For All Scheme here.

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