SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

A man and a woman hold up an award on stage.

UN-Habitat is calling for nominations for the Scroll of Honour award. The award recognizes individuals and institutions which have made outstanding contributions to urban development.

Discover the 8 new UNESCO Global #Geoparks​ as they join our efforts to build a better, more inclusive and more sustainable world.

There are now 169 sites participating in the Global Geoparks Network in 44 countries. UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. Learn more about Geoparks and their commitments to our planet.

Paul Heslop is on his knees working on deactivating a mine.

“[There are] two iconic images of the 20th century: Diana walking through the minefield in body armour and then with a little girl who lost a leg to a mine. I was proud to...highlight the incredible work that's been done by deminers around the world by hosting that visit.”

In this episode of Awake at night, we meet Paul Heslop, Head of the UN Mine Action Team in Afghanistan. Paul has been clearing mines in conflict zones for nearly 30 years. He shares the remarkable progress deminers have made in removing explosive devices across the globe with Mozambique (his first post back in ‘94) declaring itself mine-free 2 years ago. Paul also recounts his time as a field officer for the Halo Trust when Princess Diana came to visit a minefield in Angola where he was working back in 1997. He recalls that epochal moment and how his quick thinking led to the non-profit gaining huge worldwide exposure through the iconic photographs of the trip.

A man crouches to reach the eye level of his daughter and exchanges a warm smile with her.

Light and Safety: What Electricity Can Mean for Displaced Families in Yemen

An architectural rendering of a city.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with several United Nations entities, have developed a law and climate change toolkit to promote climate-smart urbanization.

urban landscape

Cities are hubs for cultural, scientific and economic development, but they can also be stark reminders of the environmental and socio-economic challenges we face. Today, cities are responsible for some 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and consume 75 per cent of the world’s energy and resources. As the human population continues to grow and the planet faces unprecedented threats from climate change, there is a critical need for sustainable urban planning. The tenth World Urban Forum (WUF)—the foremost international gathering on sustainable urbanization established by the United Nations—focused on the intersection of culture and innovation to address emerging urban challenges.

Every day, when faced with the unexpected, people in all corners of the world adapt, persevere and show incredible strength. Imagine if the infrastructure that supports them was just as resilient?

urban landscape illustration

It’s 2050 and 68 percent of the earth’s population—6.5 billion people—are urban. Well-managed cities are offering millions more people boundless cultural, social and economic opportunities. These are healthy, vibrant and equitable societies which have left no-one behind. And this was how one of them did it.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities


Sustainable Cities and Communities

With the number of people living within cities projected to rise to 5 billion people by 2030, it’s important that efficient urban planning and management practices are in place to deal with the challenges brought by urbanization.

exhibit of model city

Half the world's population lives in cities, and by 2050, it will be two-thirds. World Cities Day (31 October) promotes sustainable, inclusive urbanization and encourages international cooperation to address the challenges of urbanization. This year's theme is "Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations." We can use urbanization to achieve sustainable development in the way cities are planned, designed, financed, developed, governed and managed. Ekaterinburg, in the Russian Federation, is the host of this year's celebration.

UN Secretary-General stands between two UN flags and shakes hands with Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, who is sitting in a wheelchair.

Because impairment is widely seen as a natural part of the ageing process, many older people with disabilities are shut out from receiving the support they need.

Every spring, billions of birds migrate to faraway lands in search of suitable breeding grounds. To protect the migration, scientists have developed a way for everyone across the globe to participate in conservation.

A man stands in a canoe-like boat, paddles it forward, whilst a woman holds a steering oar in place. A bundle of long totora shoots lay across the front of the boat.

The Enchanted Places of Lake Titicaca

Skyline of Mexico City

The first Monday of October of every year is designated by the United Nations as World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. This year’s World Habitat Day is promoting the contribution of innovative frontier technologies to sustainable waste management to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. This year’s Global Observance of World Habitat Day will be held in Mexico City on Monday, 7 October. Celebrations will also be held across the world, including in the capital of Cameroon - Yaounde, Nakuru in Kenya, and Vancouver in Canada.