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.

The PSUP addresses the living conditions of millions of slum dwellers worldwide. It focuses on the challenges in slums and informal settlements and works in close cooperation with the communities based on partnership.

The UN-Habitat’s programme is at forefront, working on COVID-19 pandemic prevention in slums and informal settlements.

What is it about?

PSUP 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. In more than 40 countries and 190 cities, national and local authorities followed the programmes call for action. They are now investing in strategic, participatory slum upgrading activities and sustainable urbanization together with the local communities in their countries and cities. PSUP also operates through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and universities worldwide.

PSUP-fields of work

Housing - PSUP works on the 2030 agenda to ensure access for all people to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, which is essential for a sustainable urbanisation

Participation - PSUP brings all stakeholders together. In a strong network, communities, financial partners and governments seek solutions to improve people’s lives in the slums

Livelihood - Slum dwellers contribute to the economy of a city. The strengthening of the informal economy is a key source of employment and part of the PSUP mission

Water and Sanitation - PSUP takes action to provide safe, sufficient and affordable drinking water and sanitation facilities for slum dwellers and vulnerable communities

Tenure Security - PSUP supports slum communities to assert their right to safe housing and the right to stay

Waste Management - PSUP stand for a citywide approach and inclusion. All areas of a metropolis need to be connected to a proper waste management system

Gender equality - PSUP empowers women, promotes gender equality and strengthens human rights as they set the standards for people to live in freedom, equality and dignity 

Climate change - PSUP supports slum dwellers to build resilience to withstand natural disasters and risks 


Case Study - KENYA
In Mtwapa, a town on the coast of Kenya, 7,000 households benefited from a PSUP slum upgrading pilot project implemented in 2014 by UN-Habitat in collaboration with its partners, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the European Commission and the Government of Kenya. Clean drinking water was provided. Sewers were built and waste disposal was organised. A road network is now in the planning stage.
"One in eight people live in slums worldwide. This number is rising fast. If no action is taken, 3 billion people will live in slums by 2030."

What PSUP stands for

  • The programme pursues one principle in particular: participation and initiative. Slum dwellers should have a say in how they want to live in the future and play a decisive role in the development of their communities
  • It encourages national and local governments to mobilise resources and contribute financially to address structural problems faced by slum dwellers
  • It brings multiple stakeholders together and build platforms for learning, cooperation and coordination
  • It guides financially-viable (pls add pdf of Financial Strategy, when ready), large-scale programmes and projects to improve slums
  • It implements a city-wide approach to integrate slum upgrading with the city`s wider development strategies and plans
  • It creates a progressive change of mindset, both at community and government levels
  • It focuses on the most vulnerable groups in slums: women, children, youth, disabled people and the elderly in terms of their basic needs
  • It helps to build capacities, creates job opportunities and improves the local economy to better people’s livelihoods through it’s Community Managed Funds (pls add document, when available)

PSUP successes – 12 YEARS OF IMPACT

SDG, Goal 11: 5million slumdwellers & 190 cities supported by PSUP

SDG, Goal 1: 51governments committed to participatory slum upgrading

SDG, Goal 17:  US$ 1billion leveraged from development partners

SDG, Goal 10: Over 800,000 people with secure tenure


Case Study – GHANA In Accra, the unique Old Town area of Ga Mashie has been undergoing upgrading by PSUP since 2008. In the two historic settlements of James Town and Ussher Town there are now paved streets and sewer systems almost everywhere. There are public and private toilets, as well as a municipal waste disposal system connected to the public refuse collection system.
"This Programme is fundamental to achieving Goal 11, the urban dimension of the 2030 Agenda. It is related to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Target 11.1: “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”."

SDG, Goal 6: Over 98,000 people supported to access water & sanitation

SDG, Goal 4: 1,200government and non-government partners with strengthened capacity in slum upgrading

SDG, Goal 13: Over 126,500 people supported to access to waste management services

"PSUP needs at least 2,000 cities in 70 countries more to invest into the Slum Upgrading Process to achieve the 2030 Agenda"

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Our Experts

Kerstin Sommer
Programme Manager, Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme
Global Land, Housing and Shelter Section, Urban Practices Branch, Global Solutions Division