Cities

More than one half of the world population lives in cities, and every country of the world is becoming increasingly urbanized. Urbanization—the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas—combined with overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050. Close to 90% of this increase will take place in Asia and Africa, according to the United Nations. This trend is changing the landscape of human settlement, with significant implications for living conditions, the environment, and development.

As the world continues to urbanize, sustainable development depends increasingly on the successful management of urban growth. Many countries face challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban populations, including housing, transportation, energy systems, and other infrastructure (e.g., water, sanitation, electricity, roads), as well as employment and basic services such as education and health care. Integrated policies to improve the lives of both urban and rural dwellers are needed, while strengthening the linkages between urban and rural areas, building on their existing economic, social, and environmental ties.

Events and Articles

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11th Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF11)

The “triple C crises” of COVID-19 pandemic, climate disasters, and emerging conflicts are converging on cities, pushing already marginalized populations further into poverty. Against this backdrop, many participants agreed that the world’s race towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be decided in cities, and it will be decided soon.
Event 26 June 2022 - 30 June 2022

2nd UNEA Cities and Regions Summit

Participants from around the world gathered for the Summit to exchange experiences, which showcase the multiple benefits of nature for cities for tackling the triple planetary crisis. They also focused on key levers to accelerate implementation, ranging from local to global actions, and from policy to finance measures.
Event 23 February 2022

Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Mayors Mechanism Networking Meeting: Enabling Local Solutions for Inclusive COVID-19 Response and Recovery

The session on “Enabling local solutions for inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery” was part of the 13th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD). The GFMD convened under the central theme, “The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development.” Hosted by the GFMD Mayors Mechanism, the session on enabling local solutions discussed local-to-national partnerships for migration policy, as well as identify priorities for joint action, barriers to success, and solutions for greater collaboration on migration policymaking going forward during the COVID-19 era. Session speakers will brought to the table their expertise with response and recovery efforts, with the aim of working so migration becomes “a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development in our globalized world” (Art. 8 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration). The Mayors Mechanism was established in 2018. Co-steered by United Cities and Local Governments, the Mayors Migration Council and the International Organization for Migration, it aims to include local and regional authorities within the GFMD process, bringing their voices and expertise into State-led deliberations, and intensifying the dialogue between different levels of government and different stakeholder groups. Created in 2007, the GFMD is a government-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. It is not formally part of the UN system, although it coordinates with it in a number of ways. For example, the GFMD provides a flexible, multi-stakeholder space where national governments, in formal consultation with local and regional governments, civil society, the private sector, the UN system, and other relevant stakeholders, can discuss multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to migration, development, and the link between these two areas. The GFMD was instrumental in ensuring the inclusion of migration in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and paved the way for recent global political agreements on migration, including the 2017 New York Declaration and the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The GFMD is supported by a Steering Group of 28 member countries and is organized under a rotating State Chairmanship, with the United Arab Emirates serving as current Chair. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took place online on 22 January from 16:00 – 18:00 CET. IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin Meeting Coverage, produced digital coverage and a summary report of the event which is available in HTML and PDF format.
Event 22 January 2021

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council 2020: The Role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID Times

The theme of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Council 2020 is “The role of the International Municipal and Regional Movement in COVID times.” An Executive Bureau meeting on Thursday, 12 November 2020 will feature a High-Level Policy Dialogue on Ecological Transition in the Context of Post-COVID. The dialogue is part of the programme marked by the one-year anniversary of the Presidency and of the Durban Declaration, which guides the work of the World Organization of UCLG. The high-level policy dialogue will discuss: global policy generation processes and their adaptation to the post-COVID world; linkages between democratic processes and the needs of the ecological transition; and international policymaking processes, their involvement with each other, and possible synergies. A policy debate will focus on addressing inequalities, which is critical in the post-COVID era. A business session of the Executive Bureau will also take place. On Friday, 13 November, the World Council will host a business session and a policy debate. The business session will address, among others: the 2021 work plan; composition and agenda of policy councils for 2021; the report of the Financial Management Committee; the Rome Charter on Cultural Rights; and the #CitiesAreListening Experience: Towards a Global Pact with Communities. The policy debate, titled “Leading the Way to Recovery: Toward a New Pact for the Future,” will consider what recovery means and what its needs are in the context of creating a “better normal.” It will also define key priorities in this context. UCLG Committees and Institutional Committees will also convene. The UCLG is a global organization of cities and local governments and their associations that represents and defends the interests of local governments on the world stage. It also provides a platform to advance dialogue, cooperation and knowledge-sharing to uplift and empower communities at the local level. The UCLG World Council 2020 will take place virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 11-13 November 2020 and is being hosted by the city of Guangzhou, China. IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin Meeting Coverage, will provide a digital update and a summary report of the UCLG Executive Bureau and UCLG World Council on 12 and 13 November.
Event 12 November 2020 - 13 November 2020

UN75 and Beyond: Inclusive Multilateralism and Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) as a Tool

The theme of this meeting, organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, is “UN75 and beyond: Inclusive Multilateralism and Voluntary Local Reviews (VLR) as a Tool.” This virtual meeting will, on the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary on 24 October, provide space for a dialogue among urban leaders and UN officials to explore the innovative options the urban world offers to deliver on inclusive multilateralism towards 2030, with a focus on VLRs as an innovative tool. Presentations will focus on: UN75 and inclusive multilateralism; the City of Bonn joining the VLR movement; and the German experience of inclusive multilateralism. Since 2018, with the first global review of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and with the momentum created by the New York City VLF Declaration, a growing number of local and regional governments are preparing their VLRs and submitting them to the UN. The process is further supported by the release of the VLR Guidelines by UN-Habitat and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in 2020. Also In July 2020, the UN Secretary-General released his COVID-19 in Urban World policy brief, which focuses on tackling inequalities, strengthening capacities, and pursuing a green recovery. The VLR preparation is even more important in light of the launch of the Decade of Action to deliver on the SDGs, with local action constituting one of the three pillars. IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, will provide web coverage and a summary report of UN75 and Beyond.
Event 23 October 2020