United Nationsإدارة الشؤون الاقتصادية والاجتماعية التنمية المستدامة

SUC Guidelines and local pilot actions: help cities and communities in China and developing countries realize SDG11 by 2030

SUC Programme Management Center (

    To tackle the great challenges posed by rapid urbanization,the Sustainable Urban Development and Liveable Garden Community Programme(SUC Programme) was initiated by SUC (Beijing) Programme Management Center and UNEP in 2015, aiming to prepare the Guidelines for Sustainable Cities and Communities, form an International expert team, develop Pilots of Sustainable Cities and Communities and build Global Partnership Network to advance the realization of SDG11 in cities and communities by 2030 in developing countries. The Programme will inform policy makers and make the cities and communities in developing countries more sustainable, resilient, safe,inclusive and livable for their residents.


    Based on the SDG11 and its targets, SUC Guidelines draws on the UN City Prosperity Initiative, ISO37120,ISO37101, international standards and best practices. It has key performance indicators,and implementation pathways, management system, technical guidelines and best practices for each indicator, providing pragmatic guidance for local governments, planners and designers, investors and environmental professionals to optimize sustainable development projects. Through the promotion of SUC Guidelines and its pilot projects, SDG11 knowledge can be popularized, capacity building improved and awareness of sustainable development enhanced.It also provides proposed indicators according to the local context of cities and encourages cites and communities with advantages to make new innovations and explore new development modes.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    SUC pilot projects provide evaluation standards and implementation guidance for cities and communities in developing countries in implementing SDG11. SUC Guidelines helps the evaluation, planning, development and operation for sustainability. It upgrades based on the experience and lessons gained from the SUC pilot cities and communities as well as COVID 19 to promote resilient cities and green recovery. SUC Institute also provides the experience and lessons of SUC Chinese pilot cities and communities cities and communities along the Belt and Road,and promotes exchanges among them.

    Implementation methodologies

    In 2017, 3 cities and 3 communities were identified as pilots with different economic and geographical conditions. The cities are Yantian District, Quzhou, Yan’an; communities Sansheng Riverside, Dongting Lake Mansion and New Energy Town. The pilot period ends in 2021 with results released in September. The results of the 1st stage of SUC Programme(2015-2018) are: ①SUC Guidelines released; ②the pilots identified; ③the expert team created with over 100 experts; ④the partnership network formed, including UNEP, UNOSD, governments, NGOs and enterprises. Supported by MOHURD, the 2nd stage of SUC Programme(2019-2022) will see the pilots in BRI countries identified and developed. Each pilot project was led by the local government with a work team formed of department heads created and meetings held across departments involved. The localized Indicators System and Sustainable Planning was prepared for each pilot based on SUC Guidelines and actions were planned and carried out accordingly. Monthly, quarterly and annual meetings were held to monitor the progress, record data and adjust plans. The annual reports were prepared by the professional third party agency to remain objective. The results of the pilots were assessed by a jury composed of authors of SUC Guidelines and international experts. SUC Institute serves as the platform for resources integration and technical support. SUC Alliance consists of enterprises for sustainable urban and community development. SUC Forum provides the opportunity for discussions on the application of the Guidelines and pilot development. SUC Programme Management Center contributes initial capitals for the preparation of SUC Guidelines and creation of a cooperation platform. The fund also came from the government budget and social contributions.


    1. Help pilot cities and communities develop “sustainable development international indicator system and strategy report” and establish statistical standards and data collection channels. Accordingly, it evaluates their development status, discovers potential opportunities, and formulates sustainable urban planning strategies. 2. Improve awareness, knowledge and ability of achieving sustainable development of local governments, enterprises and citizens. Gradually form a low-carbon and healthy lifestyle. 3. Prioritize green and circular industries, as well as ecological and digital economies. Help cities build quality modern industrial systems to facilitate the transformation of urban development model. 4. Increase carrying capacity of infrastructure and public service facilities so as to improve life quality. 5. Improve resource utilization efficiency and promote resource conservation and recycling. 6. Reduce carbon emissions and improve environment and ability to respond to climate change.

    Factors and Constraints

    Enabling factors: 1. Earns support from the central government as it suits China's new development concept featuring green development and ecological civilization. 2. Cities hope to gain new momentum for development via the program. 3. Aims to introduce industrial projects that suit future trends. 4. Wide participation of think tanks, enterprises and citizens. Constraints: Weak technological innovation ability restrain it from achieving greater results. An international technology transfer center is planned to set up to introduce advanced technologies. A “one to one” pairing mechanism between cities was set up to promote experience and resources sharing.

    Sustainability and replicability

    Sustainability: 1. Smooth implementation channel is guaranteed as the program is integrated into local development plans. 2. The program is led by top local leaders and responsibilities are clearly assigned to departments to ensure implementation. 3. Introduce third-party to support. Cooperate with data support agencies and technology R&D bodies. 4. Meeting joined by stakeholders is held annually to review results, make evaluation and release report on residents’ satisfaction, among others. Replicability: 1. SUC resource baseline investigation tool enables stakeholders to do comprehensive background research and provide guidance for developing tailored strategies. 2. Identify priorities and set short, medium and long term goals. Mobilize resources to ensure solutions are well managed and financed. 3. Help governments decide the best intervention and financing plan for achieving each goal. 4. Invite third-party agency to monitor the process and make adjustment if necessary. 5. Promote and replicate successful practices.

    COVID-19 Impact

    The construction work was forced to suspend at the beginning of the epidemic. However, production was resumed in May 2020. We turned to online communication tools to hold meetings to ensure the program is proceeded on schedule. SUC guidelines helps pilot cities overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19, especially at the community level, as it lists “resilient cities”, “community safety” and “health” as important indicators, and accordingly formulates management systems, operating methods, based on the international best practices provided. No pilot communities were infected with COVID-19. SUC Institute is drafting more detailed guidelines in the field of “public health” to support green recovery, and help cities improve prevention and control system in response to public health incidents.

    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2015 (start date)
    31 December 2029 (date of completion)
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