UN-Habitat supports national and local governments, academia, civil society and the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and SDG11, which aims for sustainable cities and communities. We support processes of institutional capacity-building regarding sustainable urbanization and knowledge-transfer between regional counterparts, in particular through key initiatives like National Urban Policies, the City Prosperity Initiatives, Urban Integrated Solutions and others.

Total value of projects
US$ 45,842,955
No. of projects (2014 - 2019)
Total: 71

UN-Habitat is supporting counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean to address issues of urban inequality and socio-economic exclusion, lack of productivity and need for capacity-building.

This issues are addressed in a context in which:

  • having an 80% urbanization rate which calls for strategies of neighborhood improvement through Redevelopment, Renovation, Revitalisation, Regeneration and Rehabilitation;
  • sectoral policies dominate the real-public-management-realm and integrated policies are the exception. As such, and despite a proliferation of good-practices, scaling-up to national policies still remains incomplete.

Increasingly, new approaches are underway to face new demands in the region on matters such as migration, mobility and smart cities to address climate change challenges, and community resilience in disaster risk reduction, among others.

UN-Habitat supported the development of 4 new-generation National Urban Policies in the region, in Dominican Republic, Argentina, Guatemala and Colombia.
Over 350 cities have applied the City Prosperity Index (CPI) in the region between 2015 and 2018.
Urban numbers
In 2017, the Gini Index in Latin America is 0,5, and despite a visible reduction, it remains the most unequal region in the world.
It is estimated that 200 million people use public transportation systems in the region daily.
In 2014, 24,4 % of urban population lived in informal settlements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The Conference of Cities organized in 2018 by ECLAC and UN Habitat was an important milestone in the inclusion of local governments, providing them with an adequate space to discuss and build the strategy for the implementation of the Global Agendas. On behalf of Metropolis, Red AL-LAS and Mercociudades we value the complementary perspective of thinking locally and acting globally.”

Nelson Fernandez, Secretariat of Metropolis LAC, International Relations and Cooperation Director of Montevideo City Hall, Uruguay

Leaving no one and no place behind

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

Latin America is the pioneer region in the debates on the Right to the City, which came out in Habitat III as a central element for the New Urban Agenda. We understand that living in a city or any human settlement where people can access the basic services is fundamental to the fulfilling of a set of human rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the region, we are for instance working on a project with European Funds, articulated with UNHCR and IOM called “Communities of Solidarity”, which aims at enhancing the local authorities in the municipalities that are receiving influxes of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.  The focus will be consolidating welcoming communities in the mid and long term so that they are enabled to cope with the challenges posed by this phenomenon in a peaceful manner.

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In UN Habitat, together with UN Women, we advocate and reinforce the efforts being led by women collectives and professionals in the urban realm to rise the discussion on the different usages given to public transportation systems according to the gender, to the need of reclaiming female referents in the memory-building cultural heritage of the cities, in the need to equip public spaces with adapted mobiliary for mothers and children, but also to promote systems of childcare which helps women develop professional careers. An important topic is the discussions on how to promote women’s participation in institutional politics for them to have more incidence on policy formulation, since for instance, in Latin America and the Caribbean, less than 15% of mayors are women (https://oig.cepal.org/es/indicadores/mujeres-alcaldesas-electas).

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At the regional level, the Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the NUA promotes a participative and multi-actor implementation process and aims to scale innovative experiences that are already happening on the ground. Among these partners is the NGO Techo, focal point for Youth involvement in urban policy, understanding it as a critical stakeholder ideally placed to identify opportunities for disruptive innovations, to strengthen citizen participation, and to promote social, economic and climate sustainability.

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UN Habitat is partners with the NGO World Enabled, on a joint advocacy on issues of urban planning and urban governance for the transversalization of the care for accessibility and inclusiveness, not only in physical design, but also in public services as fostered by Smart Cities. This link is fostered by the partnership with Alianza Smart Latam, who is leading a reflection on how to understand Smart Cities beyond the high-tech component, but rather as an opportunity for innovation in social technologies and user-based planning.

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Donors and partners

Latin-American and Caribbean countries are mostly Middle-Income Countries, which poses challenges but also opportunities for international cooperation. UN Habitat works through Technical Cooperation projects on demand, and our counterparts are usually at the same time donors and beneficiaries. At the regional level, we are closely articulated with our institutional partners ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) and MINURVI (Assembly of Ministers and High Authorities on Housing and Urban Development of Latin America and the Caribbean), with whom we have developed the first Regional Action Plan for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda (along with its sub-regional equivalent for the Caribbean), lead an annual Cities Conference with local authorities of the region and are developing the Urban and Cities Platform to support the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Elkin Velásquez
Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

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