Global Urban Observatory (GUO)

Urban areas especially cities are now home to slightly more than half of the world’s seven billion people. Current urbanization trends indicate that an additional three billion people will be living in urban areas by 2050, increasing the urban share of the world’s population to two-thirds. However, the current era of rapid urbanization has been marred with inadequacy of capacity and sometimes resources to match urban development needs. In many regions, urbanization is characterized by lack of adequate infrastructure, poor housing, inadequate plans, lack of effective legislations and financing mechanisms, etc., attributes that hinder shared urban prosperity. As such, the Global Urban Observatory (GUO) was established by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) to fill the gaps in global monitoring of the urbanization process and all its dimensions. 

The Global Urban Observatory (GUO) unit is a specialized statistical unit in charge of global monitoring of the Habitat agenda and other agendas with an urban linkage. This includes building capacities of national governments, establishing local, regional and global mechanisms for urban monitoring, and supporting data collection for urban indicators (covering economic, environment, social, health, transport and urban data that are presented using UrbanInfo Software), data analysis and regular dissemination of urban data. GUO further compiles, analyzes, publishes urban indicator data, and maintains the Global Urban Indicator database. GUO provides guidance (reference materials, UrbanInfo software and other technical support) to cities setting urban observatories. GUO is already responding with efficiency to the challenges that the monitoring and reporting of the New Urban Agenda and SDGs requires.

GUO carries out normative work such as developing the City Prosperity Initiative (CPI) and computing the associated City Prosperity Index (CPI) for selected cities. Coordinating and guiding the refinement of metadata of Sustainable Development Goal 11 Indicators, as well as conducting capacity development of national statistical offices and cities to compute them is also carried out by GUO.

Monitoring the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals
The Development Impact Assessment function
Global Urban Observatory Network

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