The right to the city is defined as “more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city…the freedom to make and remake our cities.”[1] SDG 11 aims to make cities hubs for innovation, cooperation and economic and social progress for all residents, regardless of age, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or ability. In an age of unprecedented urbanization, it is imperative that nations work proactively to build urban centres that are sustainable and inclusive of all members of society. Arab countries face regional instability, climate-related stressors and above-average rates of urbanization, all of which place a burden on infrastructure and public resources. Consequently, ESCWA member States must prioritize urban accessibility to all persons, particularly those in vulnerable positions, so that everyone can contribute to society at their full capacity. Targets 11.2 and 11.7 are instrumental to removing the physical, environmental and societal barriers that hinder the full public participation of persons with disabilities, given that safe, accessible and affordable transport and public spaces are critical to the development and maintenance of sustainable cities.

[1] Chendan Yan, “Who owns the 'right to the city'? Moving towards urban inclusivity”, Yale School of Forestry Environmental Studies Blog, 6 June 2016. Available from