Press Release

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UN-Habitat Sign An Agreement to Advance Sustainable Urban Development in the Kingdom

11 October 2023

Riyadh/Saudi Arabia, 11 October 2023 – UN-Habitat and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed a Host Country Agreement today to advance the existing partnership and collaboration, aiming at advancing sustainable urban development in the country.


The Host Country Agreement will fortify the ongoing collaboration between UN-Habitat and Saudi Arabia in urban transformation, while expanding partnerships with stakeholders from government, academia, civil society and the private sector.

The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh in the attendance of Ambassador Dr. Abdulrahman Al Rassi, the Deputy Minister of Multilateral International Affairs and Dr. Erfan Ali, Chief of Staff, UN-Habitat.

“The past period has witnessed an expansion of cooperation with the international community, especially United Nations organisations, and we hope for more joint and fruitful cooperation to support urban development efforts and transfer Saudi experience to countries around the world,” Dr. Al Rassi commented.

“We are proud to cooperate with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and hosting UN-Habitat in the Kingdom will strengthen the role of the Kingdom in the field of urban development at the regional and international levels and will also contribute to supporting the implementation of the United Nations general framework of work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Dr. Ali stated.

Mr. Mohamed El Zarkani, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Saudi Arabia; Ms. Rania Hedeya, Regional Representative (a.i.), UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States and Ayman Elhefnawi, Country Manager (a.i.), UN-Habitat Programme in Saudi Arabia, also attended the event.

For a decade, UN-Habitat has been engaging in supporting Saudi Arabia across various sectors to cultivate more liveable, sustainable and inclusive cities. This collaboration began with the Future Saudi Cities Programme. The collaboration has since expanded to support the Kingdom's Development Housing Programme, urban transformation efforts, the ongoing urban regeneration initiatives in Saudi cities, and an innovative partnership with the Quality of Life Programme.

Signing the agreement is of paramount importance, as Saudi Arabia is undergoing a significant transformation in its cities to realize the Vision 2030, and to advance the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, this partnership will amplify the global impact of Saudi Arabia's urban transformation efforts through various United Nations platforms and international forums, such as the World Urban Forums including the 12th cycle in Cairo in 2024.

The collaboration between UN-Habitat and Saudi Arabia and the increased UN presence in Saudi Arabia serves as a pillar of support for this transformation, culminating in a comprehensive partnership with the Saudi Government.

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Human Settlements Programme

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