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Urban and territorial planning is the basic building block for creating better urban places. It plays a core strategic role in helping decision makers identify development priorities, formulating and implementing solutions, and targeting available resources for balanced and sustainable growth pathways as well as providing opportunities for different other stakeholders. Over the past decade, there has been an increased interest given the recent paradigm shift to a more people-centered approach and the momentum generated by major global events focused on urban development.

As the world’s population becomes predominantly urban, efforts are enhanced to guide urbanization in a sustainable manner and new approaches to planning have been brought forth and tested. The International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP or Guidelines), approved by UN-Habitat Governing Council in 2015, are part of this enabling framework for addressing the challenges presented by modern urbanization through their integrated and territorial approach to urban development. Being a first reference for framework for planning at the global level, the Guidelines can assist all countries and cities to effectively guide urban demographic changes and improve the quality of life in existing and new urban settlements.

The “IG-UTP Report 2018-2020” covers the second biennium of implementation of the Guidelines and builds upon the results of the Global Survey on Urban and Territorial Planning formulated by UN-Habitat in September 2019, and upon case studies, regular newsletters, online sources, and partner websites advocating for the guidelines. It is a compilation of exercises and finding in using the Guidelines, to track the adoption and use among Member States and partners.

The Guidelines are becoming an increasingly relevant instrument for the attainment of universal objectives, acknowledged in the New Urban Agenda as a key means for its effective implementation, and consequently, a contributor to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11 and interlinked targets in the areas of health and well-being, climate action, poverty reduction and economic growth.