The beginnings of UN-Habitat, today active in more than 70 countries worldwide, date back to 1975, when the UN General Assembly decided to form the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlement Foundation as part of the UN Environment Programme. With growing significance of urbanisation, the role of UN-Habitat became more powerful. In 2002, UN-Habitat was transformed into an independent programme. As of 2018, Madame Maimunah Mohd Sharif from Malaysia acts as the Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
Out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) established in 2015, the eleventh SDG aims at promoting more sustainable cities and communities. In accordance with this goal, UN-Habitat works on making habitats more secure, inclusive, sustainable and resilient. Drawing on SDG 11, the so called “New Urban Agenda”, the UN roadmap for sustainable urbanization, was adopted at the Habitat III summit in 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. Germany is a member of the Governing Council, the governing body of UN-Habitat, which meets every two years in Nairobi. Furthermore, since 2002, UN-Habitat has been organizing the World Urban Forum (WUF), a non-legislative forum, every two years to raise public awareness of issues related to urbanization and provide a communication platform enabling actors to better cooperate and coordinate.