UN-Habitat is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities and communities. As such, it helps countries access reliable data and information on urban conditions and trends as well as efficiently monitor and report on global agendas such as the 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda.

UN-Habitat develops tools and approaches such as the urban observatory model, the City Prosperity Initiative, and the national sample of cities approach. It also builds the capacities of national and local governments, establishes local, regional, and global urban monitoring mechanisms, and supports urban data collection, analysis, and dissemination.

Monitoring and reporting of SDGs and NUA

As the UN focal point for sustainable urbanization and human settlements, UN-Habitat is the custodian agency for 9 of the 15 indicators under SDG 11 and supports the monitoring and reporting of 4 indicators in other goals. UN-Habitat leads the methodological development of guides and tools for the urban-related SDG indicators and targets. It also works with other UN agencies and urban stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of countries and cities to efficiently monitor and report on these indicators.


Voluntary Local Reviews

The global movement of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) is growing exponentially. Cities, local and regional governments worldwide are using VLRs to track and report on SDG progress. UN-Habitat views VLRs as powerful accelerators of the process of localizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

To do so, UN-Habitat provides partners worldwide with direct technical support to develop VLRs. It also leads the development of cutting-edge research and guidance on VLRs and provides opportunities for peer learning, capacity building, and international engagement.


Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Cities

The SDG Cities flagship programme builds on the data, narratives, and priorities identified via the Urban Monitoring Framework and Voluntary Local Reviews to improve SDG implementation in cities. It does so through evidence-based planning; capacity-building in planning, governance, revenue, and service delivery; and securing the financing for local SDG impact initiatives. 

The programme aims to positively impact a million lives in about 1,000 cities through a systematic approach that combines evidence-based policymaking, digitized tools, technical backstopping, and matchmaking finances with catalytic, impactful projects that advance the SDGs.


Sustainable Development Goals


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With humanity becoming increasingly urban, trends indicate poverty is also becoming increasingly urban. Sustainable urbanization improves the lives of people in human settlements around the world and increases prosperity.

Sustainable urbanization increases food security. The presence of cultivatable land for farming provides food for urban areas and supports agricultural productivity whilst improving the livelihoods of rural populations.

Through integrated urban planning, access to basic services, and access to decent and affordable housing, sustainable cities contribute to better health.

Inclusive and sustainable cities provide better access to education by the urban poor, women and girls. Inclusive and equitable education provides adequate skills for decent jobs and improved living conditions.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes nurtures sustainable economies, and helps develop inclusive and sustainable cities.

Effective urban planning and urban waste management systems ensure access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and improve the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide.

Access to clean and efficient energy systems is crucial for the development of safe, resilient and sustainable cities, allowing them to grow and perform efficiently while reducing pollution and mitigating climate change.

Inclusive and sustainable cities are a positive and potent force for addressing sustainable economic growth and prosperity, as they drive innovation, consumption and investment.

Investment in infrastructure, industrialization and innovation are key to making cities safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable.

Sustainable cities address prevailing inequalities through better urban planning, design and governance, providing better opportunities for employment, affordable housing and accessible transport.

Half the world's population now live in cities, and this is projected to increase to two-thirds by 2050. Cities can solve many of the challenges our world faces. Urban areas drive innovation, consumption and investment worldwide, making them a positive and potent force for addressing sustainable economic growth, urban development and prosperity.

Sustainable urbanization uses natural resources innovatively and efficiently. These sustainable patterns of production and consumption increase cities productivity and reduce negative environmental impacts.

Sustainable cities provide real opportunities to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, through environmentally sustainable and resilient urban design, development and governance.

Sustainable urban planning and proper management of resources can reduce the pressure coastal cities put on the environment. Proper management of waste generated by cities prevents ocean pollution and protects biodiversity.

Sustainable urbanization and better urban planning, including the development of green infrastructures and the safe management and treatment of waste, can conserve and restore terrestrial ecosystems.

Peaceful, inclusive and sustainable cities rely on the kind of institutions we build in cities. This impacts how we govern our cities as well as how we implement the process of urbanization itself.

Increasing international cooperation is seen as vital to achieving each of the 16 previous goals. Achieving the SDGs, including Goal 11, will only be possible if there are strong partnerships within and across with all the goals.


Global Report
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2022
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
The Global Urban Monitoring Framework
Technical Report
Integrating the SDGs in Urban Project Design: Recommendations from the Global Future Cities Programme
Technical Report
Partnering for Transformative SDG-Oriented Urban Development: Guidance for Multi-Partner Initiatives from the Global Future Cities Programme
Technical Report
Progress on Wastewater Treatment – 2021 Update
Toolkits, Manuals and Guides
Guidelines for Voluntary Local Reviews Volume 2: Towards a New Generation of VLRs: Exploring the local-national link