During 2012 – 2015 under the Urban-LEDS I project, ICLEI and UN-Habitat supported eight model cities in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa to develop comprehensive Urban Low Emission Development Strategies and action plans using ICLEI’s Green Climate Cities (GCC) process methodology. In 2017, a second phase of the project was launched (Urban-LEDS II) with the addition of four new countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Lao PDR and Rwanda. In addition to these countries, 16 European cities act as source cities and support peer-to-peer exchange and cooperation.

The Urban-LEDS II project helps local governments to implement integrated low emission and resilient development by offering guidance, tools, and technical assistance; mobilizing cities to commit to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM); exploring access to financing; and supporting multilevel governance. The project also supports the improvement of effective monitoring and reporting systems through an integrated MRV (Measuring, Reporting, and Verifying) process, vital to tracking progress and accelerating climate action within cities.

The project contributes to delivering on the following outcome areas of the UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023:

  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality
  • Increased and equal access to basic services, sustainable mobility and public space
  • Improved resource efficiency and protection of ecological assets
  • Effective adaptation of communities and infrastructure to climate change

News and Stories

Beneficiary_Alice UMUHORAKEYE

“Urban’s LEDs will install a supply of solar panels at one of the health centers, that fixes the problem of high cost of electricity. Small interventions such as the installation of energy efficient fixtures will have a huge impact as it will reduce the cost of electricity payments, whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions”.

Alice Umuhorakeye, Environmental Protection Officer, Kigali, Rwanda

Projected GHG emissions reduction resulting from the Urban-LEDS project phase 1 is estimated to amount to at least
tCO2e, between 2017 and 2030, based on the GHG mitigation commitments made by the 8 Urban-LEDS Model Cities.
By the end of the project,
new cities will have developed comprehensive strategies to reduce emissions, become more resilient to climate change, in line with their development goals.
As of Aug 2020,
officials had attended training activities on climate change and urban development.

Video Gallery

Urban LEDs II Webinar – smart Cities for low emission development
African Urban LEDS cities focus on energy solutions
Introducing Urban-LEDS (English / animation)

Image Gallery

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.

Good governance especially at city-level and regarding the cooperation between state- and sub-state levels (and resulting enhanced policy) is an intended development co-benefit that the project intends to achieve. The principles of participation and transparency are also upheld within the project’s climate planning and action components. This is relevant to key issues such as adequate housing, access to water and sanitation, health and education services, work, as well as participation in decisions that affect city inhabitants. The proposed action will try to identify related gaps and avoid detrimental decisions to vulnerable groups (slums, women, etc). Awareness-raising on climate change and related challenges will support stakeholder engagement and involvement in the local plans.

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The proposed Action intends to tackle gender issues by: (i) supporting government planning, implementation and budgeting on climate action specific to gender, where appropriate (e.g. involving women’s groups in scenario development to inform the development of the Urban LEDS), (ii) capacity building with the public sector, including women’s organizations, and (iii) disaggregating data by gender (e.g. capacity development of how many men / women). Gender issues will be scrutinised in all policy aspects intervening/resulting in/from the proposed action and adequate indicators will be developed.

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Youth, children and older persons, especially those in situations of particular risk of marginalization, such as girl child and female-headed households, are often excluded from access to housing, urban basic services, public spaces and infrastructure, and the overall benefits of urbanization. Young women and men have been a key focus of UN-Habitat’s work. The agency has successfully advocated for the role of youth as leaders in sustainable urban development, recognizing the guiding principle of the SDGs of “leaving no one behind,” and the New Urban Agenda vision of cities for all. 

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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