Medium Term Strategy (2014-2017): A Focus on Equity

The MTS contains specific proposals to strengthen the Cities Alliance and increase its effectiveness in three key thematic areas: equitable economic growth in cities, gender equality, and partnership.

The Cities Alliance Consultative Group has approved a new Medium Term Strategy (MTS) for 2014-2017 to guide the partnership’s activities over the next three years.

Structured around the central theme of Equity, the MTS contains specific proposals to strengthen the Alliance and increase its effectiveness in three key thematic areas: equitable economic growth in cities, gender equality, and partnership. Each of these three pillars represents a significant opportunity – and challenge – for the partnership.

Equitable economic growth

In the first thematic pillar, the Cities Alliance will focus on identifying and promoting policies and practices that are essential for equitable economic growth in the city. Such growth will need to support livelihoods and provide jobs, while also addressing one of the world’s most pressing development challenges – meeting the expectations of the growing proportion of children and youth in the world’s population.

This pillar will be a particular challenge for the Cities Alliance, which has often focused more narrowly on linkages to investment only. While recognising the vital importance of investments, we are very much aware that sustainable and equitable economic growth at the city level is a far more complex and elusive challenge, and one in which our best learning is likely to come from other cities.

Gender equality

For the second thematic pillar, the Cities Alliance will promote gender equality as a cross-cutting theme in all of our work over the next three years. Throughout the world, women have fewer opportunities and rights, depriving both them and society of a significant source of human potential, and undermining both stability and sustainability of development. Women also act as vectors of positive change in cities, promoting household economic resilience and more equitable decision making. Through our work programme, we will help women to build economic power, increase their political voice and advance their rights in cities.

This pillar is truly a transformational challenge for the Cities Alliance; it will require adjustments to the work programme, the composition and practices of our membership and, indeed, the work of the Secretariat itself.


The third pillar of this Strategy is possibly the most interesting, important and exciting opportunity of the new MTS. It goes to the heart of the logic of the Cities Alliance itself: To strengthen the Cities Alliance as a partnership, building upon and making better use of the capacity of our existing members. This pillar is also informed by the need for a more equitable approach to supporting and responding to the needs of all members.

While there has been some progress since the adoption of the new business model in 2010, it is very clear that much more can be done. Initially, the most significant changes will need to come from the Secretariat, but then also within and among our members. Our goal is to become a leader in Global Partnerships.

These three pillars reappear throughout the MTS, and will start impacting on the work programme with immediate effect.