Cities Alliance global work is designed to advance new tools, practices and understanding of emerging urban issues and support joint advocacy with our members. Global programmes serve as a global coordination platform for development partners, synthesising and disseminating key lessons from Cities Alliance’s operational activities, and ensuring that these are mainstreamed. The priorities are informed by the four key thematic areas: equitable economic growth, gender, resilience, and migration.



Result Area 6 - Global Influence

The Global Programme window provides an international platform that convenes countries and diverse organisations seeking to engage, learn and to share their specialised knowledge, expertise and resources in support of a common vision and advocacy. Cities Alliance funnels evidence-based learning from field experience and delivers knowledge products and tools; advocacy and policy on emerging topics; and, convenes dialogues to share learning and catalyse urban development at the global level.


Cities Alliance Results: Drawing global attention to cities and urban povertyOne of the first acts of the newly established Cities Alliance was to create the Cities Without Slums Action Plan in 1999, the first global initiative to set out specific actions and concrete targets to address urban poverty: The plan was endorsed by 150 heads of state, and became the basis for the “Cities Without Slums” goal reflected as Target 11 of the Millennium Development Goals.

In 2014, the Cities Alliance established its first-ever Joint Work Programme focused on advocacy to create and deliver a common set of priority messages to inform and influence the next set of global development goals.  The JWP participated in global negotiations as a coherent, dedicated group with a strong voice in support of the important role cities play in sustainable development. It supported the successful global advocacy movement to include a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for cities (Goal #11) and to recognise the importance of the local level in implementation.


Cities Alliance Results: Improving housing in Latin America through the Urban Housing Practitioners’ Hub (UHPH).  Launched in June 2018, the UHPH is an open platform for organisations committed to improving housing conditions for the urban poor in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. It combines a digital space with in-person interactions where people can connect and access information about housing in the region, linking policy and planning efforts with practitioners on the ground.

The Cities Alliance has played a crucial role in establishing the UHPH and getting it off the ground. The hub makes a valuable contribution towards sharing LAC’s rich urban housing knowledge and supporting the implementation of the global agendas. It also helps maximise access to high-level technical expertise and communication channels to improve living conditions in the region. The UHPH is already having a wider regional impact and is serving as the housing pillar for an urban platform that is being established by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL). 


Cities Alliance Results: Raising the profile of secondary cities.  Cities Alliance has long been an advocate for raising the profile of secondary cities in urban development. The partnership was one of the first in the development community to focus on this issue, arguing that secondary cities are not playing their role in contributing to the economy. Cities Alliance commissioned two key works by Prof. Brian H. Roberts to provide an evidence-based to address the significant policy gap. The first, Managing Systems of Secondary Cities, provided much-needed data on the changing trends of secondary cities and the role they can play in regional and national development: Including their function as the economic backbone of larger cities and the impact of their rapid growth on urban poverty and their strategic planning deficit . The second, Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities, further explored the issues that strain equitable economic growth in cities, especially the role of soft and hard infrastructure to improve intercity connectivity. These works have informed the Cities Alliance’s work programme, which prioritises the needs of secondary cities, to drive economic growth and become more interlinked, so that they can take the pressure off chaotic, dysfunctional megacities.


Cities Alliance Results: Bringing scientists and practitioners together to discuss cities and climate change.  Cities Alliance has long sought to bring together actors with different perspectives in order to further knowledge and understanding of issues related to cities. In March 2018, Cities Alliance co organised the Cities IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference – a ground-breaking event that brought together scientists, city representatives, and urban practitioners for the first time to discuss cities and climate change and to inspire new research. The Cities Alliance message on informality and informal settlements as a necessary part of research and action moving forward was resoundingly heard. The view of informality as an important issue when addressing climate change in cities was visible throughout the conference and in all the plenary sessions. The main outcome of the Cities IPCC was the Research and Action Agenda on Cities and Climate Change.


Today Cities Alliance acts as both an effective platform for its membership and an institution with a unique value proposition based on its modus operandi, namely mobilising its membership and multi-donor /partner funds to focus on selected key urban development themes and providing both thought leadership through its ‘global window’ and related practical advice and action through technical assistance programmes delivered via the ‘city/country window’. The evidence clearly indicates that the Cities Alliance of today is able to manage and deliver large and complex and leading-edge development programmes

Independent Review 2019


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