The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is mandated by the UN General Assembly to champion socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities, serving as the focal point for urbanization and human settlement matters within the UN system. Collaborating with partners, UN-Habitat works towards building inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and communities, promoting urbanization as a positive transformative force.

On February 27, 2023, the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) and UN-Habitat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the OTS Secretariat in Istanbul. This collaboration aims to advocate for urban development fostering socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements in Turkic States.

The partnership will focus on building capacity in Turkic countries, supporting city-level governance frameworks, and introducing participatory budgeting mechanisms. The MoU facilitates data collection, analysis on urban governance, and public awareness campaigns promoting urban governance reforms. Additionally, both parties plan to organize a Regional Urban Forum for the Turkic States.

Subsequent to these developments, the OTS Secretary General, Deputy-Secretary-General, and Executive Director of UN-Habitat met on September 18, 2023, during the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Discussions centered around the draft Work Plan for enhanced cooperation, addressing specific action items, milestones, and timelines. The Secretary General highlighted the significance of the 2nd Azerbaijan National Urban Forum, expressing confidence in its potential for discussions and initiatives related to urban development.

The meeting also anticipated the official opening of the UN-Habitat office in Istanbul later in 2023, acknowledging its pivotal role as a catalyst for collaborative efforts in advancing sustainable urban development in the Turkic region.

These interactions were followed by the Meeting of Ministers in charge of Urban Planning of the Organization of Turkic States on September 30, 2023, in Baku. Hosted and chaired by the Chairman of the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture, the meeting included representatives from various member states and UN-Habitat. The OTS Secretary General emphasized the importance of collaboration in urban planning to address complex challenges faced by cities.

Acknowledging sustainable urbanization as a key cooperation area, the Secretary General referenced the 8th Istanbul Summit of the OTS, where Heads of State expressed the need for green technologies and smart cities in the digital age. He emphasized the potential of collaborative urban planning to lead to resilient, sustainable, and inclusive cities.

The Secretary General highlighted OTS's commitment to sustainable urban development through cooperation with UN-Habitat, establishing a platform of experts and IT specialists on 'smart cities' under the OTS. UN-Habitat Executive Director briefed about the organization's activities and mechanisms to address urban challenges globally and regionally.

The Heads of Delegation discussed the essential role of housing and sustainable urbanization, exchanging ideas on future regional collaborations, partnerships, climate change adaptation, funding mechanisms, and joint urban renewal projects.