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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Habitat (UN-Habitat)

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the priorities of your organization?

UN-Habitat has responded to the pandemic in 3 ways:

1. Repurposing funding at project level to support pandemic response

2. Investing in data collection and analysis of urban level impacts, redirecting significant normative resources to that, in collaboration with UN and other partners

3. Engaging in the socio-economic recovery at city and community level through existing and new programmes, focusing on building resilience and incorporating health concerns in urban development activities In 2021 UN-Habitat priorities have been recalibrated in consultation with our Executive Board to reflect the need to incorporate pandemic related impacts in our work. The recalibration narrowed UN-Habitat focus on the following: responding to new vulnerabilities and risks in terms of resilience and climate change, and in creating conditions for sustainable and inclusive recovery in response to the pandemic, and to accelerate progress towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While the strategic plan for the period 2020–2023,( with its 4 domains of change and 12 outcomes, had proven to be robust, what was undertaken was a recalibration of UN-Habitat's normative and operational work, while retaining the original structure of the plan, undertook the exercise using 3 lenses to rebalance investment and establish a better connection to knowledge, assets and capacities. The 3 lenses are as follows:

(a) Ensuring that all new programming responds to new vulnerabilities and risks in cities. The analysis of the impact of COVID-19 in cities showed that the risks of contagion and death were matched in areas of inadequate housing, higher deprivation and spatial inequalities, but also in more consolidated areas, where people appeared particularly affected by inadequate public transport and type and location of work. UN-Habitat has mapped a number of such areas that are considered to be weak spots, describing a new geography of vulnerability and risk;

(b) Pursuing more integrated programming to adapt the function and form of cities to respond to current and future crises in terms of resilience and climate change. Best practice in urban planning and governance arrangements in the world’s cities shows that sustainable ecological neighborhoods are the optimal option in response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and future threats, balancing sustainable urbanization with protection of biodiversity. Neighborhoods with adequate public spaces, services and amenities, including those for health and education, and well-established local or community organizations, appear to be the most appropriate functional units for the structuring and scaling-up of responses at the city-level. UN-Habitat will therefore review current urban planning principles that espouse sustainable and equitable solutions with a view to reorienting interventions that reshape the urban morphology, supported by innovation, creativity, technology and nature-based solutions that contribute to making cities more resilient and future-proofing them against climate change;

(c) Creating conditions for all programmes to support long-term socioeconomic urban recovery that helps to overcome spatial inequality and addresses the climate emergency. The pandemic has challenged the fiscal health of many local governments. Municipal revenues are shrinking as a result of reduced economic activity and tax policies. Urban productivity sectors and labour markets have been severely damaged, and value and supply chains have been disrupted. Local governments are expected to see a significant drop in local finances, while needing to increase local expenditure to cope with both the current situation and future conditions. UN-Habitat will therefore refocus its work to increase the economic resilience of cities and prepare social and economic strategies underscored by solid economic approaches to infrastructure development, supply chains and productive upgrading. Examples of recalibration include the following: (a) Linking climate change planning more explicitly to socioeconomic recovery, which also requires a review of how UN-Habitat can engage more strongly on urban economies; (b) Increasing focus on housing, as part of sustainable ecological neighborhoods as a way to build climate and pandemic resilience and contribute to climate mitigation ; (c) Ensuring that the work on increased and equal access to public spaces and mobility links more effectively with adopting nature-based solutions, protecting ecosystem services and biodiversity, and reducing CO2 emissions and urban heat island-effect.


2. In 2020/2021, how has your organization endeavored to support Member States to build back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? Please select up to three high-impact initiatives to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in those efforts to achieve coherence and synergies?

UN-Habitat intensified efforts to mobilize new resources to deliver UN-Habitat’s Response Plan and scale up support to countries and cities. At the same time, UN-Habitat immediately reached out to funding partners to minimize the disruption of the yearly workplan, by reprogramming resources and channeling energy to contribute to the response within the framework of the Business Continuity Plan. Detailed information about the first 6 months response on Covid19 emergency can be found on the report published on UN-Habitat Website:… 2. Localization of the Sustainable Development Goals UN-Habitat has been working to mainstream the localization of the SDG across its activities at all levels, specifically in view of connecting local action for the Global Goals to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. UN-Habitat has been partnering with sister agencies across the UN(UNDESA; UNDP; UNRCOs; RECs) as well as with a large network of local and national partners across the globe to advance SDG localization. The corporative approach is anchored on three main components: the global urban monitoring frameworks; Voluntary local reviews; and the SDG Cities flagship programme. Technical cooperation and support is combined with capacity building and high level engagement in the major UN-led and international processes on SDGs and COVID-10recovery 

Name: "SDG Cities flagship programme"
Partners: (please list all partners)  
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: The SDG Cities flagship programme helps cities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through a value chain that brings together urban data and evidence-based strategic planning, institutional capacity development and investment in impact. Each track is supported by online tools and resources and technical backstopping. The initiative thus strengthens local economic opportunities, improves environmental sustainability, reduces social inequalities, and ultimately improves the quality of life of all residents. As such, SDG Cities contributes to monitoring, capacity development, through diagnostic tools, such as the Sustainable Development Goals Project Assessment Tool, and an “city investment facility” that supports upstream project preparation, which in turn ensures alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and financial feasibility and matches pipeline projects to sources of public and private capital. Through the SDG Cities flagship programme, UN-Habitat aims to have a positive impact on one million lives in some 1,000 cities through the adoption of an integrated, systematic approach that combines evidence-based policymaking, digitized tools and digital capacity support, technical backstopping and matchmaking finances with catalytic, impactful projects that promote the implementation of the Goals. 


Name: "Voluntary Local Reviews and Voluntary National Reviews"
Partners: (please list all partners) UN-Habitat; UCLG; UN Regional Economic and Social Commissions (UNECE; UNECA; UNESCAP; UNESCWA);UNDESA 
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: Many cities and local governments are developing innovative strategies, policies and initiatives to localize the Goals so as to achieve the 2030 Agenda, to avoid a reversal of the progress made since 2015 and to support an inclusive, resilient and sustainable post-COVID-19pandemic recovery. Working through multilevel, integrated partnerships to connect all components of the implementation chain UN-Habitat is implementing Voluntary local reviews as a main tool for local and regional governments to monitor and report on progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, voluntary local review shave proved to be powerful accelerators for the implementation of the Goals at the local level worldwide as they enhance innovative data applications, stakeholder inclusion and participation, policy coherence, strategic planning and multi-level governance. UN-Habitat has been supporting cities worldwide to develop Voluntary Local Reviews as key tool and process to accelerate the localization of the SDGs. This has been done through (i) technical cooperation with cities such as the city of Florence(Italy), Moscow (Russian Federation) and Amman(Jordan); (ii) by developing key guidelines and knowledge products on VLRs, with specific attention to coherence with UN entities such as UNDESA and the UN Regional Commissions; (iii) by providing opportunities for advocacy and capacity building, especially in the context of regional and global processes as the Regional Forums on Sustainable Development, the High Level Political Forum and the World Urban Forum. UN-Habitat also worked to strengthen the preparation of Voluntary National Reviews by facilitating connection with VLRs through: (i) developing dedicated Guidelines and; (ii) directly supporting national governments to prepare VNRs, in coordination with UNRCOs – such as in the case of the 2nd VNR of Malaysia.   


Name: "G20 SDG Localization Platform"
Partners: (please list all partners) G20 Presidency; OECD 
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: UN-Habitat led with the OECD the works of the Development Working Group of the G20, under the presidency of Italy. This work resulted in the inclusion of SDG localization with the Communique of the G20Ministerial Meeting on Development and to the creation of the G20 Platform on localizing the SDGs.
Website: Communique of the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Development 


Name: "Local 2030 Coalition"
Partners: (please list all partners) UN-Wide initiative
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 , 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: As part of the Decade of Action, UN-Habitat coordinates the Secretariat of Local 2030Coalition, the UN-Wide initiative on Localizing the SDGs. It is also the permanent co-chair of the Coalition along with another rotational chair – UNDP for the period 2022-2024. The aim of the Local 2030 Coalition is to mainstream SDG Localization within the work of the UN, at all levels, and to offer a platform to connect all stakeholders engaged in advancing the local implementation of the SDGs. Local2030 is a project of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General that will transition by the end of 2021 into a broad-based coalition to advance the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals in support of the decade of action for the Goals. The coalition will serve as a platform for the development of networks of local and regional governments and their associations, national Governments, businesses, community-based organizations and other local actors and the United Nations system. It will foster collaboration, incubate innovation and encourage the sharing of solutions and the implementation of strategies, leveraging rapid urbanization processes to accelerate the achievement of the Goals. The coalition will create opportunities to work effectively with United Nations entities to make progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, the coalition will strengthen the capacity of United Nations entities to guide urbanization dynamics and local decision-making. It will support the efforts of United Nations country teams and Resident Coordinator offices to work with local actors in coordination with national Governments, leveraging United Nations assets. Finally, it will support the efforts of a wide range of local actors to monitor and report on the implementation of the Goals


3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing SDG implementation at national, regional and global levels? Please select up to three high-impact resources to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs.

Name: Voluntary Local Review-COVID-19 Recovery Tool 
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat; UNDESA; UNECE 
Relevant SDGs All SDGs in particular SDG 11, SDG3, SDG17 
Target audience: Local and national governments, local decision makers, project staff and urban development actors 
Resource description: UN-Habitat, UNDESA and UNECE are developing a tool to guide local and regional governments to mainstream COVID-19 recovery within the Voluntary Local Review process. The tool will be action-oriented, providing target audience with practical steps and suggestions on how to strengthen recovery from the pandemic in the VLR process and report. The tool aims to strengthen the connection between recovery and the Agenda 2030, considered the best framework available to guide recovery and development. The tool will be released during HLPF 2022. 
Language: English  


Name: Sourcebook on Integrating Health in Urban and Territorial Planning 
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat and WHO 
Relevant SDGs SDG 11, SDG 3.5, SDG 17, SDG6. The key interlinkage explored is the one between SDG 3.5 and SDG 11, but several other are also covered, including SDG 17 and SDG SDG6 
Target audience: Decision makers in urban development and health 
Resource description: This sourcebook details why health needs to be part of UTP and how to make this happen. It brings together the processes to guide the development of human settlements – in this document referred to as “urban and territorial planning (UTP)”;and the concern for human health, well-being and health equity at all levels – from local to global. It identifies a comprehensive selection of existing resources and tools to support the incorporation of health into UTP, including advocacy frameworks, entry points and guidance, as well as tools and illustrative case studies. The sourcebook provides the processes needed to harmonize UTP with concern for human health and brings together these two vital professions. It also highlights additional tools, literature resources for decision-makers, urban leaders, planners and health professionals. Published in May 2020, it has been the basis for several training sessions with local and national governments including in China, India and several countries in Africa. This source book is accompanied by an assessment tool to review local planning arrangements and has been translated in several languages.
Language: English, Chinese and Spanish


Name: Report on Cities and Pandemics: towards a more just, green and healthy future 
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat
Relevant SDGs The form and functionality of cities (SDG 11), exclusion and inclusion patterns in cities (SDG10 and SDG5), the local economy(SDG 84) and multilevel governance (SDG 17).SDG 11,SDG 5, SDG 5, SDG17 SDG 9 Innovation and Infrastructure 
Target audience: Decision makers in urban development and public health 
Resource description: The Report presents an analysis of the situation of the COVID-19 in cities and urban areas one year after the declaration of pandemic and outlines a range of bold measures that could deliver a lasting and sustainable recovery from the current crisis. It focuses on four key priorities: Rethinking the Form and Function of the City; Addressing Systemic Poverty and Inequality in Cities; Rebuilding a ‘New Normal’ Urban Economy; and Clarifying Urban Legislation and Governance Arrangements. The report identifies the key levers for resilience and recovery and reassesses the global relevance of urban development approaches. From the early days of the pandemic, cities have been on the frontline of COVID-19 and, as a large number of the first detected infections appeared in urban areas, many questioned their future while restrictions to contain transmission, such as lockdowns and curfews, brought local economies to a standstill. Yet in the months that followed, as the challenges of the pandemic have evolved, so too has our understanding of the disease and its complex relationship with cities. In fact, as with previous public health crises, the key determinants of risk for urban residents are inequality, inadequate housing and lack of access to clean water, sanitation and waste management. Aggravating conditions, such as high levels of air pollution, have also played a role in exposing marginalized communities to more severe impacts. At the same time, it has become increasingly clear that urban density is not in itself a decisive factor in the transmission of the virus but rather the disparity between balanced density and adequate services and overcrowded, excluded settlements and slums. Only by addressing the underlying issues of inequality and exclusion in cities, then, can COVID-19 be effectively managed and contained. If this task seems daunting, then there are also reasons for tentative optimism: with the right policies in place, the enormous economic and social resources being invested to curb the pandemic could help deliver greener, more inclusive urban areas in the long term. The Report has since been disseminated in all continents and its recommendation shave informed action and been the basis for partnerships with civil society and research institutions ,local governments and UN entities, particularly UN Commissions. 
Language: English


Name: COVID-19 Readiness and Responsiveness Tracker    
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat and CitiIQ 
Relevant SDGs SDGs 3, 5 and 11
Target audience: Policy makers, researchers  
Resource description: COVID 19 data at city/urban granularity compiled on a monthly basis since May 2020. Due to changes in reporting, there are variations in the number of cities in each monthly update. Data Period: May 2020- November 2021; Cities and Urban Areas Covered:20,866; Total Countries with Data Points: 141 as of November 2021. Developed in partnership with CitiIQ by UN-Habitat Data and Analytics team to illuminate the effect of COVID-19 for cities around the world providing a global view of COVID-19 information at a city level and respond to significant challenges raised by many local city leaders concerning the lack of local level data to help them respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tracker as one evidence-based tool that can help local decision-making processe. The tracker provides an essential insight into how cities are responding and is particularly important for urban areas that are anticipating potential outbreaks and would benefit from knowing ahead of their level of preparedness. The web-based visual platform provides scoring for over 1,000cities including, where data is available, cities with a population of 500,000 or higher along with country capitals and state/provincial capitals for the USA, Brazil, India, and China and allows for the addition of cities as data becomes available. A COVID-19 Readiness Score and a COVID-19 Responsiveness Score on a scale of 0-100 are extracted from the data. The Readiness Score is based on five core indicator areas: public health capacity, societal strength, economic ability, infrastructure, and national collaborative will. The Responsiveness Score is based on: spread response, treatment response, economic response and supply chain response. The input data is normalized to provide comparison between cities. The tracker is powered by the CitiIQ platform which is capable of sourcing, translating and communicating both the Readiness and Responsiveness scores of cities.  

Language: English  


Name: COVID-19 in human Settlements: Tools Compilation   
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat  
Relevant SDGs SDGs 11, 3, 17 - planning (SDG11.3), public space (SDG11.7), informal settlements(SDG 11.1), water and sanitation (SDG6), transport(SDG11.4)  
Target audience: Local decision makers, project staff and urban development actors  
Resource description: Series of key messages for local policymakers and others on COVID -19 response principles for cities, covering informal settlements, housing, transport, public spaces, gender, and water, sanitation and hygiene.  
Language: English  


Name: UN-Habitat COVID response plan 
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat  
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Target audience:  
Resource description: UN-Habitat is responding to a growing volume of requests from both national and local governments to help them prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on more than 40 years of urban experience, much of it in humanitarian situations, we are focusing on the city-level response to the crisis. UN-Habitat’s COVID-19Policy and Programme Framework provides guidance for global, regional and country-level action. The framework is a key instrument to focus and scale UN-Habitat’s contribution to the overall response led by national and local governments, UN agencies and local partners. The framework will be updated as required by changing context and acquired learning or experience 
Language: English, Spanish , Russian and Portuguese 


Name: Guidelines on framing and monitoring homelessness, including in the aftermath of COVID-19 
Publishing entity: UN-Habitat; Institute of Global Homelessness  
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Target audience: Local and national governments
Resource description: The imperative to recognise and solve homelessness took up a new meaning during and in aftermath of the health and socio-economic crisis created by the COVID-19 virus. Disproportionately affecting people experiencing homelessness, the pandemic also left thousands at risk of losing their homes — especially among already marginalised groups. With the lack of consistent data and information about the nature and extent of homelessness recognised as a major obstacle to effective interventions, evidence-based strategies are more needed than ever. Together with the Institute of Global Homelessness, UN-Habitat launched in 2021 the Global Homelessness Data Initiative, which will work with national Statistical Commissions, local authorities, NGOs, academia, and people with lived experiences to develop standardised global homelessness indicators and data collection methodologies. The framework will support national and local governments to ensure no one and no right is left behind.  
Website: UN-Habitat’s website (when tool finalised) 
Language: English  


4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established multi-stakeholder partnerships in this regard, please describe them (objectives, partners involved, relevant SDGs, Member States benefiting from the partnership) and provide links to relevant websites, if applicable.

UN-Habitat’s stakeholder engagements have focused on expanding strategic partnerships with key international, national and local actors who can push forward the SDGs’ localization, below some of the main initiatives: 

Name: #BeyondTheOutBreak and #CitiesAreListening
Partners: UN-Habitat; UCLG; Metropolis, plus additional partners
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative:  
Description: Throughout 2020 and 2021, UN-Habitat, UCLG and Metropolis have conducted a series of workshops entitled #BeyondTheOutBreak and #CitiesAreListening, where city representatives along with partners from national governments, civil society and the private sector discussed local action and local leadership to guide the immediate response and recovery from the pandemic. The results of the series has been gathered in a learning platform.

Live Learning Experience #BeyondTheOutbreak


Name: UN Task Force of Cities
Partners: United Nations System
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: The Task Force on the Future of Cities is constituted as an interagency task force chaired by UN-Habitat and supported by the Executive Office of the Secretary General (EOSG), consisting of UNDP, OHCHR, UNEP, WHO, DESA, FAO, ECLAC, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Women, ECA, DCO, ESCWA, ECE, ESCAP, UNESCO, and other relevant entities. Its primary objective is to look at possible options on how to strengthen the institutional relationship between the UN System and cities, including in its intergovernmental processes. The Task Force provided inputs to the SG’s Report on Our Common Agenda and is in charge of the design and establishment of the Advisory Committee of Local and Regional Governments to the SG


Name: World Urban Campaign
Partners: 170 multi-sector partnerships
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: The World Urban Campaign is an advocacy and partnership platform to raise awareness about positive urban change in order to achieve green, productive, safe, healthy, inclusive and well planned cities, Its goal is to place Urban agenda at the highest level in development policies. It Is coordinated by UN-Habitat and driven by a large number of partners from around the world. Part of the campaign is the successful initiative that has been relaunched Urban Thinkers Campuses that foster innovations by partner gatherings. UN-Habitat also continues to strengthen its partnership with financing institutions and the private sector, such as with the European Investment Bank to promote well-planned and managed urban development as a driver of sustainable development and a vehicle to achieve green and climate-smart transformation of economies.


Name: UN Habitat Universities cooperation hub
Partners: Universities, Academia
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Cuba, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa
Description: A UNI Hub is a consortium of universities that agree to work on the same thematic priority under the principles of mutual collaboration, exchange and learning, producing outputs which strengthen the role of universities in forwarding sustainable urban development. The Hubs established under the umbrella of Habitat UNI are to link the ongoing related work of UN-Habitat to the work the Hub does on the subject. Through active collaborations UN-Habitat and these academic consortia are to forward research and action on the thematic target, promoting education, policy advice and professional development which are updated to current urban realities, and which have a strong focus on translating into direct impacts on the city lev The UN-Habitat Universities cooperation hub is strengthening the role of research cooperation in building capacities of local governments, for example in Cuba, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Universities provide training and facilitate policy dialogue on sustainable urbanization.


Name: Global networks of women’s groups/ the Stakeholder Advisory Group Enterprise (SAGE)
Partners: Advisory Group on Gender Issues (AGGI), the Huairou Commission and others
Relevant SDGs SDG 5
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: Global networks of women’s groups working with UN-Habitat - the Advisory Group on Gender Issues (AGGI), the Huairou Commission and others - have had significant role in supporting reporting and monitoring of gender-related development in urban contexts through their bottom-up initiatives, supported by the Stakeholder Advisory Group Enterprise (SAGE) for the Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
Name: ‘Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance’
Partners: Member States
Relevant SDGs SDGs 6
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: Advancing the SDG 6 on water and sanitation, UN-Habitat is hosting the ‘Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance’ and managing the associated ‘Water Operators Partnership’ programme that supports 30 water partnerships to build capacities and knowledge of the operators. The ‘Waste Wise Cities Campaign’ addresses the growing waste management problems of the Member States by considering waste as a resource, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions reduction, urban air pollution and, with UNEP, to marine litter reduction Municipalities Union.
Name: National Urban Forum
Partners: Member States
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Spain and others
Description: At the national level, UN-Habitat has facilitated National Urban Forum meetings for national and local stakeholders. These are a proven effective tool that helps reporting and data collection on successes and gaps on the implementation of urban-related SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. In 2021, an Urban Forum was held, for example, in Spain, guided by the Spanish Urban Agenda of 2019, and in Turkey, organized by Marmara
Website: (Spanish national urban Forum)


Name: ‘Council of Urban Initiatives’
Partners: UN-Habitat, University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and LSE Cities
Relevant SDGs SDGs 9, 11 and 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: In 2021, UN-Habitat established a ‘Council of Urban Initiatives’ as an independent collaborative body between UN-Habitat, University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and LSE Cities. As the world will recover from the pandemic, the Council forms a new type of stakeholder group of thought leaders who aim to position urban issues at the heart of global dialogue, influence the formative agendas of the international community, and promote experimentation on progressive policies at the city level. The Council focuses on three fields of challenges: the just city, the healthy city, and the green city. It strives on the demonstrated ability of many cities to innovate and be proactive in facing the overlapping health, social, economic and environmental stresses. The Council provides a platform to showcase local experimentations and progress and to replicate them elsewhere to scale up a global change towards sustainable social goals.


Name: 11.1 Compact for Housing Solutions
Partners: United Nations System, national public-private housing entities, Private sector, Civil society organisations, academia
Relevant SDGs SDG 11 – Target 11.1, 11.c; SDG 1 – Target 1.4, 1.5; SDG 5 – Target 5.1, 5.a; SDG 10 – Target 10.2, 10.3; SDG 17 – Target 17.6, 17.9, 17.14, 17.15, 17.16, 17.17
Member States benefiting from the initiative: Global
Description: An alliance of stakeholders working on housing issues to coordinate the initiatives and activities, the 11.1 Compact aims at facilitating partnerships and collaborations in the housing sector by bridging gaps in sharing knowledge, strengthening capacities, testing innovative approaches on the ground, and giving visibility to partner efforts.


Following the adoption of the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA resolution 74/4), where Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation, please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in the following areas:

5.1 leaving no one behind;

Following the commitments and principles of the New Urban Agenda, UN-Habitat have supported the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs focusing on progress at the local level. The COVID-19 turning back the development clock globally, the rapid local adoption and implementation of the SDGs has become increasingly crucial to support an inclusive, resilient and sustainable pandemic recovery. UN-Habitat’s strategy on SDG localization focuses on multi-level, integrated partnerships to connect all components of the SDG implementation: from normative support on inclusive data collection to evidence-based policy making, and from project implementation support to monitoring, reporting and knowledge sharing systems. 5.1 leaving no one behind; UN-Habitat led the development of ‘Global Urban Monitoring Framework’ that harmonizes existing SDGs’ monitoring indices while incorporating rural-urban linkages and the principle of leaving no one behind. The Global Monitoring Framework is composed of a core set of global indicators and a series of secondary sets of indicators, to allow for the adaptation and analysis of each locality while aligning with local visions for cities. The framework is a useful basis for the preparation of Voluntary National Reviews and Voluntary Local Reviews (‘VLRs’), as well as UN Common Country Assessments. The Urban Monitoring Framework is at the heart of UN-Habitat’s approach to data and indicators for SDG localization and the work on VLRs. The worldwide roll-out expected in 2022, the Framework is will assist cities to track their progress towards the SDGs with comparable data.

5.2 mobilizing adequate and well-directed financing;

The ‘SDG Cities’ Flagship Initiative of UN-Habitat helps cities achieve SDGs through a value chain that brings together city data and evidence based strategic planning, institutional capacity development, and concrete investment in impact. This global Flagship Initiative strengthens local economic opportunities, improves environmental sustainability, reduces social inequalities, and ultimately improves the quality of life of all residents: The data track uses Voluntary Local Reviews that bring together statistical, spatial and perception data through the Urban Monitoring Framework to monitor SDG implementation and identify priorities for action; The capacity development track applies, for example, the SDG Project Assessment Tool in areas of governance, planning, service delivery and revenue, and directs cities to relevant training resources while improving the SDG impact of major urban projects; The investment in impact track includes a ‘City Investment Facility’ that supports upstream project preparation which ensures SDG alignment and financial feasibility and matches pipeline projects to sources of public and private capital investment. Through the SDG Cities, UN-Habitat aims to positively impact one billion lives in about 1,000 cities.

5.3 enhancing national implementation;

A) See 5.1

B) The Urban Agenda Platform, hosted by UN-Habitat, is an essential element in creating global community around local implementation of the SDGs. It brings together in one online space the cities and all other interested in urban monitoring, effective practices, cities working on their VLRs and more.

5.4 strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions;

See 5.5 B

5.5 bolstering local action;

A) See 5.3

B) In the end of 2021, the Executive Office of the Secretary General’s project ‘Local2030’ transitioned into a broad-based Coalition to advance SDG localization in support of the Decade of Action. The reformed Local2030 Coalition is a networking platform for local and regional governments and their associations, national governments, businesses, community-based organizations and other local actors, and the United Nations system. It fosters collaboration, innovation, shares solutions and strategies that advance the SDGs by leveraging on rapid urbanization processes. The Coalition will strengthen UN entities’ guidance on urbanization dynamics and local engagement, essentially by supporting work of UN Country Teams and UNRCs with local actors and in coordination with national governments. C) Localisation of SDGs through Voluntary Local Reviews (‘VLRs’) are a global bottom-up process by cities that has grown exponentially since 2020 with 65 current VLRs, and about 20 more in the pipeline. VLRs have become one of the main tools for local and regional governments to monitor and report on SDGs’ progress. Thus VLRs can accelerate the SDG localization worldwide. UN-Habitat with partners such as United Cities and Local Governments support cities in developing VLRs with data and strategic and technical guidance and by providing peer learning platforms for city authorities. VLRs can greatly enhance data, stakeholder inclusion and participation, policy coherence, strategic planning and multi-level governance between the local and national levels.

5.6 reducing disaster risk and building resilience;

The UN-Habitat flagship programme “RISE-UP: Resilient Settlements for the Urban Poor” leverages large scale investment to build urban adaptation and climate resilience in the global hotspots of vulnerability. At the same time, it addresses issues of poverty, spatial inequality and resilient settlements. By implementing the following outcomes, the programme will contribute to make the urban digital transformation work for the benefit of all: 1- Pro-poor climate resilience mainstreamed in national and city climate policies, plans and commitments, and into the priorities and strategies of important parts of the global climate action & finance architecture with clear recognition of fundamental rights 2- Increased investment and financing to inclusive pro-poor and non-discriminatory adaptation projects in global vulnerability hotspots, with a specific focus on the developing countries, LDCs and SIDS, and small and medium sized cities 3- Enhanced capacity among all levels of government and core partners to effectively coordinate action towards building the resilience of the urban poor

5.7 solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;

5.8 harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation for sustainable development;

The pandemic demonstrated that people-centred technologies, essentially internet access and digital governance, must be taken as a basic right. The digital divides between and within countries and communities have to be bridged to stop depriving the half of the world’s population that remains ‘offline’ from access to services and opportunities, such as education, employment, health and mobility. Future resilience and sustainable development must be built on transparent and participatory governance and functioning regulatory systems that foster trust between citizens, governments, companies and investors. Further, UN-Habitat has explored with partners such as Mojang, Ericsson and university partners how frontier technologies such as virtual or mixed realities can facilitate meaningful dialogue between professionals and citizens about production of urban space. These have led, for instance, to training of city officials of Johannesburg, South Africa, in the use of virtual reality in participatory public space mapping to make street crossings safe, pedestrianisation, increasing security and providing activities for users of public space.

5.9 investing in data and statistics for the SDGs; and

5.10    strengthening the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

5.10.1 Support to Voluntary Local Reviews and SDG Localization to guide COVID-19 Recovery: Principles: leaving no one behind; enhancing national implementation; strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions; bolstering local action; solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership; investing in data and statistics for the SDGs; and strengthening the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Description: UN-Habitat has crafted an integrated approach to SDG localization based on Voluntary Local Reviews, the Global Urban Monitoring Framework and the SDG Cities Flagship programme. The principles guiding this approach are rooted in the principles of the 2030 Agenda and of leaving no one and no place behind. Specifically, UN-Habitat’s VLR methodology is based on a participatory and inclusive approach aimed at involving communities and marginalized groups in the VLR development process hence strengthening communities’ connection and influence on decision-making processes at local level. This work is done in parallel with an innovative approach to data and indicators. UN-Habitat has been mandated by the UN General Assembly to develop the Global Urban Monitoring Framework, a new framework harmonizing existing indexes to monitor and report on SDG achievements and NUA implementation globally. In addition, UN-Habitat aims at strengthening national implementation by connecting local action to national frameworks and recovery efforts, specifically looking at enhancing multilevel governance systems for SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery. This is done by supporting the work of UNRCOs and UNCTs and specifically by strengthening the preparation of Voluntary National Reviews by connecting them to VLRs and city level partners and processes. Adopting a multilevel perspective, UN-Habitat works with its key international partners to link the lessons learned at the local and national level within the context of the key UN-led and international forum, specifically looking at strengthening the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). For instance, UN-Habitat organizes with UNDESA, UCLG, UNDP and other partners the annual Local and Regional Governments Forum during HLPF, while during HLPF 2021 it has organized the 1st edition of the VLR-VSR Days that brought together 474 participants and 68 speakers representing over 29 countries to discuss the future of SDG reporting at local level. As of 2022, UN-Habitat will start implementation of two projects work in 14 countries (Kenya; Ghana; The Gambia; Tunisia; Palestine; Jordan; Philippines; Vietnam; Nepal; Serbia; Tajikistan; Ukraine; Kyrgyzstan; Georgia), supporting cities to develop VLRs and deepen the SDG localization process in view of supporting recovery from the pandemic. The projects have been developed and will be implemented through a large multi-stakeholder partnership including: UN-Habitat; UNDESA; UNECE; UNECA; UNESCAP; UNESCWA; UCLG. Agenda 2030 Sub-Fund (UN Peace and Development Fund): Fostering COVID-19 recovery and SDG implementation through local action in Asia-Pacific, Arab and African countries UNDA Tranche 14: Voluntary local reviews: evidence for greener, resilient and sustainable urban recovery in Eastern European and Central Asian countries in transition

6.  In the lead up to the 2023 HLPF to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly (or 2023 SDG Summit), please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date.

Addressing the SDGs in integrated and coordinated way requires that actors are mobilized in a coordinated way and the challenges of multi-sectoral interventions faced. UN-Habitat is using the New Urban Agenda as key guidance on SDGs acceleration with a focus on: o Sustainable urbanization as an accelerator of SDGs achievement in cities, where the majority of the world population is living and where there is high potential for addressing inequality and environmental sustainability at scale. This shall involve supporting national and local government in the management of urban transformation, regeneration and expansion, through the development and implementation of adequate planning and policy instruments, the identification and design of sustainable projects and targeted investment to address the service gap and to enable value creation and redistribution that address inequality. o Sustainable urban development as an anchor for territorial and national development and in particular of economic productivity and efficiency, through economies of agglomeration and of scale which increase competitiveness and returns on investments. The creation of systems of sustainable cities and settlements and the improvement of the performance of cities will support local economy, and in particular create the markets for rural production, enable the extension of services and overall reduce territorial inequalities. o Area based approaches which enable better coordination across SDGs and related actors need to also become more common and be widely encouraged, supported by adequate instruments for multilevel governance dialogue, data gathering and analysis and multisectoral and integrated planning. Project and activities design, subjected to careful ex-ante SDGs assessment, need to be undertaken in close consultation with financing actors and new mechanisms or international and local capital mechanisms promoted through capacity building, targeted de-risking and finance blending, in order to steer the vast international (and even national) finance to relevant projects and investments. o Multilevel governance: strengthen national mechanisms for SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery looking at enhancing policy coherence, effectiveness of delivery and redistribution of resources for cities to deliver on their mandate. o Financing: new and innovative financing mechanism for cities and local governments to access resources to deliver on the SDGs and guide the recovery. o Building the trust between emerging local actors, such as local governments, and the international financing actors is a key task in this respect, with an emphasis on quality projects and initiatives and on the actors capacity to assess risk fairly and to engage productively. o Data: invest on data collection and management as well as on the development of coherent indicators at local level for cities to monitor ad report on the SDGs o Homelessness: Homelessness should be integrated as a crosscutting theme within SDGs. While ending homelessness is central to achieving almost all SDGs, it is currently not explicitly integrated in any of them.

7.  Please review your organization's information contained in the UN System SDG Implementation Database. If you wish to submit any updates, please share details below.

ECESA Plus Member
Year of submission: 2021