The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) have announced the launch of the Cities Investment Facility—which will advance and support sustainable financing at the local level, including for the world’s 46 least developed countries—as part of a partnership between the two organizations.

As part of a memorandum of understanding signed April 27th by the two organizations, UN-Habitat and UNCDF will jointly implement the Cities Investment Facility (CIF), which is designed to support investment in small and intermediary cities, as well as develop and deploy innovative financial models. The CIF will play a critical role in advancing sustainable financing at the local/subnational level, where the vast majority of services that support sustainable development are delivered.

UNCDF and UN-Habitat will aim to raise USD 40 million over the next four years to support the programming, operations and technical support needed to finance the partnership. The goal of both organizations under the partnership is to reach 250 cities through their sustainable finance support by the year 2025.

UN-Habitat and UNCDF announced the partnership during an event held on the sidelines of the 2022 Forum on Financing for Development—the UN’s high-level convening on financing the implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which preceded the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda – the UN’s blueprint for sustainable urban development.

UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif stated, “Today we are delighted to join forces with UNCDF in a Fused Offering for Cities. Through this offering, cities in developing and emerging economies will be supported to build effective own source revenue and public financial management systems, supported to prepare SDG impact projects and supported to reach local and international investment partners that will enable their delivery.”

Added UNCDF's Executive Secretary Preeti Sinha: “The partnership between UN-Habitat and UNCDF will look to leverage each organization’s distinct strengths in order to support sustainable finance at the local level.”

Through this offering, cities in emerging and developing economies will be supported to build effective own-source revenues and public financial management systems supported to prepare high impact project that can be financed and reach local and international investors to deliver the SDG's impact.

The partnership between UN-Habitat and UNCDF will leverage each organization’s distinct strengths in order to support sustainable finance at the local level. UN-Habitat’s experience of promoting and consolidating collaboration with local governments to implement the SDGs will be coupled with UNCDF’s expertise in local transformative finance as the UN hub for subnational finance.

UNCDF and UN-Habitat will focus on several areas of locally-led sustainable finance, including strengthening local public financial management and revenue capacity and leveraging blended capital to high impact projects in cities through a new Cities Investment Facility. Technical support will also be advanced to ensure financing for socially inclusive cities, women’s economic empowerment and local economic recovery from the COVID-19.

UN Organizations work jointly to finance cities as an accelerator of the Sustainable Development Goals
[UNCDF/David Mikhail]