UN-Habitat improves the living conditions for millions of slum dwellers worldwide. We are experts in addressing the diverse challenges in slums and informal settlements and bring all stakeholders together to make slums a better place to live.

The Challenge

UN-Habitat focuses on the biggest deprivations for slum communities: the lack of adequate and safe housing conditions, clean water supply, sanitation and secure land tenure. We concentrate on waste management, gender equality and human rights, climate resilience and participation of the local communities in the slum upgrading process.


slum dwellers worldwide benefit from UN-Habitat's Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme
slum dwellers have been helped with improved tenure security through UN-Habitat's Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme
190 cities
in 40 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific regions are now investing in strategic, participatory slum upgrading activities and sustainable urbanization

News and Stories

Highlighted publications

Tools and Guidelines
A Practical Guide to Designing, Planning, and Executing Citywide Slum Upgrading Programmes
Mr Karisa Kambi, Member of the community of Mzambarauni, a slum village on the coast of Kenya

“Our parishioners used to meet under trees. Today, the members of the community committee meet in the community centre, which even has a computer room."

Mr Karisa Kambi, Member of the community of Mzambarauni, a slum village on the coast of Kenya

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Leaving no one and no place behind

Hover over or click the icons to learn about UN-Habitat's work on social inclusion here.

Access to safe drinking water falls under international human rights law, sanitation is a basic need and matter of dignity! UN-Habitat takes action to provide safe, sufficient and affordable drinking water and sanitation facilities for slum dwellers and vulnerable communities.

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Women in developing countries build the backbone of a community, but are often discriminated against and regarded as one of the most vulnerable groups. UN-Habitat empowers women, promotes gender equality and strengthens human rights as they set the standards for people to live in freedom, equality and dignity.

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UN-Habitat focuses on the most vulnerable groups in the slums: women, children, youth, elderly and disabled people in terms of their basic needs. We help to build capacities, create job opportunities, help to provide education and improve the local economy to better people’s livelihoods.

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UN-Habitat includes disabled slum dwellers in almost all the project approaches: disabled people are part of the decision making process within the communities, they are represented in the community committees, can apply and receive funding and run Community Managed Funds (UN-Habitat-sponsored action groups that take on specific tasks in the settlement, which generate income for the community).

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Donors and partners

UN-Habitat's Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme was founded in 2008 as a tripartite initiative of the Secretariat of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the European Commission and UN-Habitat. It is fundamental to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 11 for Cities and Communities, and particularly Target 11.1:  “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”.

In a participatory approach, UN-Habitat engages a wide range of stakeholders in the process of slum upgrading: local communities, national and local governments, financial partners and key stakeholders from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community based organizations, foundations and institutions, as well as private sector and academia.