Human activities in cities, towns and regions contribute a significant and growing proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions. They also drive the demand for energy and other services in urban areas with rapid population growth. UN-Habitat and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability are taking on these challenges by accelerating urban low emission development and climate resilience in more than 60 cities worldwide, by exploring a multilevel governance approach to urban climate action.

Through the Urban-LEDS project, local governments develop comprehensive Urban Low Emissions Development Strategies, create integrated climate action plans aligned with the Global Covenant of Mayors framework, and implement policies, programs and projects. Urban-LEDS strengthens cooperation and information sharing across all levels of government, positioning them to jointly plan, advance, track and deliver on global climate and sustainability goals.


Benefits to local governments

Analysis: Calculating greenhouse gas emissions and identifying climate risks & vulnerabilities

  • Quality data assists decision-making towards low-carbon, climate resilient outcomes. It highlights priorities and potential, and builds the case for support from potential funders

Action: Drafting and updating low emission development strategies and integrated climate action plans

  • Comprehensive plans drive local progress, help achieve Global Covenant of Mayors requirements, and attract external recognition and funding.
  • Mainstreamed plans build momentum for the transformation of unsustainable local development practices
  • Inclusive plans help strengthen a coalition of local actors taking part in climate action

Implement: Supporting the development of bankable projects and forging connections with potential funders, especially through the Transformative Actions Program (http://tap-potential.org)

  • Local projects demonstrate success, deliver enhanced resilience and reduced emissions

Capacity building: Training and peer-to-peer learning to support urban Low emission development

  • Increased awareness, enhanced understanding, and strengthened skills and relationships among municipal officials and local political leaders

Urban-LEDS supports national governments efforts, by:

Promoting and enhancing multilevel governance to support the implementation and raise the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Supporting the hosting of national Talanoa Dialogues to enhance collaboration and coordination among different climate actors.

Urban-LEDS delivers global benefits, by:

Sharing good practices, resources and tools with local governments around the world

Supporting the implementation of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM)

Informing global climate change decision making processes with good quality data and lessons learnt from Talanoa Dialogues


Download the Urban-LEDS project brochure here