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International Partnerships

Sustainable cities

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda recognises the challenges of the unprecedented urbanisation phenomenon by dedicating a separate goal to sustainable cities and communities (SDG11). This goal not only provides a snapshot in urban settings of other goals and targets across the 2030 Agenda, it also underlines that there are challenges that are unique to urban areas.

Given the crucial role that sustainable urban development plays in supporting the quality of peoples' lives, both within the EU and globally, and the growing relevance of the urban dimension of EU policies, it is important for the EU and its Member countries to have a shared vision for the European Union and the world. Likewise, EU's external action should better integrate the dramatic urban demographic growth that will entail major global shifts in the coming years.

City life, Ghana

Our approach

Rapid urbanisation means that global challenges such as poverty, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and rapid population growth, including through migration and forced displacement, are to be dealt with in urban locations. At the same time, this rapid urbanisation makes it easier for cultures to mix and for knowledge to be exchanged, both of which are factors that promote innovation. Well-managed urban and territorial development can thus offer innovative solutions for these global challenges, turning them into opportunities for sustainable development.

We are working in four in four interrelated strands of action as priority areas, namely:

  • Promoting the social dimension of sustainable urban development through inclusive and save cities in order to better fight against urban poverty and exclusion.
  • Promoting green and resilient cities. Environmental sustainability is fundamental to ensuring the prosperity and well-being of all people within planetary boundaries.
  • Promoting prosperous and innovative cities with a particular focus on growth and job creation.
  • Promoting good urban governance by strengthening the capacity of the authorities at all levels of government in integrated planning and public finance management, by establishing adequate legal and policy frameworks, by fostering access to public and private investments by municipalities, and by fostering women empowerment in urban governance matters.

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