This new set of one-page briefs is part of an analysis commissioned to IIED by Cities Alliance that aims to help a range of urban development actors understand how six global agreements can support the advancement of sustainable urban development.

From 2015-16, six global agreements were reached relating to urban contexts, urban governments and urban sustainable development issues: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on climate action, the World Humanitarian Summit, and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). 


These agreements are very ambitious and wide-ranging in the hundreds of commitments they make. There is plenty of evidence to show the importance of urban centres, urban populations and urban governance for meeting most of them. 

The agreements have, within their texts, the commitments needed for a new framework for urban development and a shared vision for inclusive cities. 

If all commitments were implemented, they would solve almost all urban problems, avoid dangerous climate change and, as the SDGs commit, leave no-one behind. At the same time, their sectoral approaches and the limited connections among objectives weaken the effectiveness of these agendas.  

Each agreement has some acknowledgement of the role of urbanisation in development. While there is recognition of the importance of local and regional government in implementing the agreements, there is usually no clear reference to how this operates explicitly in urban contexts. 

This set of briefs reviews how each of the six agreements views urban development and urban governance (including the roles of regional and local governments), especially their roles in meeting each agreement’s commitments. 

Each brief looks at the history and background an agreement, how it refers to cities and local and regional governments, and how it seeks to mobilise urban actors. The briefs also consider how well the agreements provide a guide to sustainable urban development for urban, regional and national governments and motivate all urban stakeholders to act. 

The set of briefs is part of a larger analysis prepared by for Cities Alliance by David Satterthwaite, David Dodman, Diane Archer and Donald Brown of the International Institute for Environment and Development.


The Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Cities in the Global Agendas

The Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme (JWP) for Cities in the Global Agendas explores the urban dimension of the different global agreements, especially the 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda. It focuses on an integrated implementation and follow-up and review for these agendas, both in and with cities and through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Download the Briefs:

New Urban Agenda

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

World Humanitarian Summit

Paris Agreement

Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030

Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development

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