Research and capacity development area monitors progress made towards the slum target of the Millennium Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda, and reports the results through its flagship reports and Urban Indicators Programme, which, where appropriate, include gender perspectives.

Efforts are also directed towards supporting the production of local urban knowledge and the establishment of urban observatories that collect and analyze data, disaggregated by sex where applicable. Information and knowledge on best practice are also collected and disseminated. The programme provides expertise in developing institutional and individual capacity on evidence-based, gender-responsive policies and programmes that benefit the urban stakeholders.

Objective and Strategy

The main objective is to improve knowledge on sustainable urbanization issues and capacity for the formulation and implementation of evidence-based policies and programmes at the local, national and global levels.

The strategy of Research and capacity development area is to collect, synthesize and translate data into knowledge that subsequently supports the formulation of better informed policies through capacity development and on-the-job technical advisory services. More specifically, the area undertakes the following:

  • Collaborate with a range of strategic partners to produce results that are cost-effective, gender responsive and that maximize the impact of interventions;
  • Increase awareness by producing a critical mass of information and selected publications, including the flagship reports, which are disseminated in various languages to advance the urban agenda and better inform the decision-making capacity of institutions and policymakers working in the broad field of urban development;
  • Carry out and disseminate, on request, research on such key and emerging such topics as the financial housing crisis, exclusion in European cities, social change in cities, and urban futures. Knowledge and innovations emerging from global research will be contextualized to local and regional realities and channeled through tailored capacity-development tools and programmes;
  • Work with such key partners as urban observatories, national statistics offices, academic institutions and local government training institutions, on monitoring local and national conditions, and integrating UrbanInfo software, geographical information system techniques and specific knowledge on urban policy issues;
  • Develop institutional and human resources capacity to support organizational restructuring, business process analysis and re-engineering, vertical coordination, learning, and education and training for local, city and national government institutions and partners;
  • Strengthen the connection between information, knowledge and policy-making at the city level and other levels of government to enhance coordination efficiency and the effective delivery of equitable policies and programmes.