About Cities Alliance

The global partnership fighting urban poverty and promoting the role of cities.
Popo Beach, Monrovia, Liberia. Through its Community Upgrading Fund, Cities Alliance funds infrastructure projects, such as the above water-kiosk. The infrastructure projects are select and managed by the community they serve with the support of Cities Alliance. 


Cities Alliance is the global partnership supporting cities to deliver sustainable development.

As global populations and urban economies expand, managing cities and providing opportunities for all citizens is essential to national prosperity, international progress, and stability.

Most solutions are well known: Clear and consistent national policies, strong and stable institutions, accountable and well-resourced local governments, universal access to essential services, an inclusive approach to development, and well-informed and engaged citizens. However, most rapidly-urbanising cities lack the resources and authority to deliver their mandates.

To help cities of all sizes achieve these goals, the Cities Alliance promotes long-term programmatic approaches that support national and local governments to develop appropriate policy frameworks, strengthen local skills and capacity, undertake strategic city planning, and facilitate investment.


The Cities Alliance is managed through a Secretariat based in Brussels and is hosted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Through UNOPS, the Cities Alliance operates a Multi-Donor Fund supported by an efficient, flexible grant-making mechanism with global reach.

Our members

Cities Alliance has a unique and diverse global membership of over 30 full and Associate members. They comprise six constituencies:

- National Governments

- Multilateral Institutions

- Associations of Local Governments

- Non-Governmental Organisations

- Private Sector and Foundations

- Universities and Knowledge Networks

For our current membership, please see Our Members.


Key Achievements:

1. An integrated approach to urban development that benefits the poor. Between 2007 and 2017, our five Country Programmes focused on Land, Services and Citizenship spanned 53 cities or municipalities and benefitted 1.5 million slum dwellers (directly and indirectly).

2. Leveraged funding for investments. An initial investment of US $15 million in our Country Programmes has leveraged over $700 million in investments from major development organisations for cities and services.

3. National urban policies have been prepared by the Governments of Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam.

4. Support for city planning. Our Country Programmes have supported planning at the city level, including municipal development plans in 34 cities and the establishment of 43 Municipal Forums.

5. Insitutionalising participatory planning in Uganda. Municipal Development Forums – a key participatory mechanism that brings all stakeholders into the urban development process – are now statutory bodies, ensuring their sustainability over time.

6. Support for capacity development. We have supported capacity development of urban and local institutions and governments, including training for over 4,800 local government staff in Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam.

7. Mobilising and empowering slum dwellers. Our Country Programmes have mobilised over 386 community savings groups across Ghana, Uganda and Vietnam.

8. Support for community projects. In Uganda, Community Upgrading Funds supported 123 projects in five municipalities, benefiting some 523,185 residents of urban poor communities.

9. Influenced global policy directions. The Cities Alliance joined both members and partners to advocate for the inclusion of a standalone goal for cities as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG11) and targets on slum upgrading in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG Target 11).

10. National CDS and slum upgrading programmes. Cities Alliance supported policy development that contributed to the formulation of national slum upgrading programmes in South Africa, Vietnam, Chile, Sri Lanka, Brazil and India.

11. Promoted new thinking on secondary cities. Cities Alliance initiated a major study on the important role of secondary cities in development, filling a significant policy gap and influencing policies and approaches to secondary cities.

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