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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5th Local and Regional Governments Forum on the 2030 Agenda

Meeting at the intersection of interconnected crises—the COVID-19 pandemic; climate change; wars, including in Ukraine—many delegates raised the resulting challenges faced by local and regional governments while also pointing to innovative solutions they carry, including how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
Event 7 July 2022 - 12 July 2022

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

UCLG World Council & World Forum of Regions

The meetings included the first World Forum of Regions, which addressed the unique role of regional governments in improving collaborative governance with national, city, and rural authorities.
Event 17 November 2021 - 18 November 2021

Multilevel Action Pavilion at COP 26

Organized by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and the Scottish Government, more than 60 side events at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference followed the daily themes set out by the COP Presidency while providing a place for debate, knowledge exchange, and success stories of sub-national climate action and collaboration with other levels of government.
Event 31 October 2021 - 13 November 2021

HLPF 2021 Local and Regional Governments’ Day and Forum

Transformation of work and evolving production and consumption patterns are essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Local and Regional Governments are raising ambitions and actions on SDGs at the local level, through solidarity and multilevel governance.
Event 9 July 2021 - 13 July 2021

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Policy Councils Meeting 2021

Although local governments are at the forefront of responding to pressing challenges, such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, they often face constraints limiting their ability to respond to peoples’ needs. The UCLG Policy Councils aims to help local governments overcome some of these challenges.
Event 8 February 2021 - 12 February 2021

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

The session hosted by the Mayors Mechanism of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) highlighted the need for participation of local and regional governments in the development of migration policies, review of often restrictive national legal frameworks, and direct access by local and regional governments to international funding, in the particular context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Event 22 January 2021