UN-Habitat was established in 1978. It is the leading institution for implementing the Habitat Agenda and coordinating settlement development in the United Nations system, which focuses on two priority areas: adequate shelter for all and sustainable urban development. The mission of UN-Habitat is to promote programmes aimed at providing every inhabitant of the world with housing in socially and environmentally sustainable settlements. In 2016, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which was held in Quito, adopted the New Urban Development Programme. The programme represents a common vision for a more sustainable future in which everyone has equal rights and access to the benefits and opportunities provided by cities, and in which, in order to achieve this sustainable future, the international community rethinks the urban systems and the physical form of urban space.
The main documents of UN-Habitat are the Vancouver and Istanbul Declarations on Human Settlements, Resolution 56/206, adopted by the General Assembly.
In 2009 the UN-Habitat Project Office was opened in Moscow and the Commission on Cooperation between UN-Habitat and the Intergovernmental Council on Partnership in the Construction Activities of the CIS States started its work.