Icon, multifamily dwelling and tree, set against a green circle

Urban Issues

Urbanization is a defining trend of the 21st century, with close to three quarters of the global population projected to live in urban settings by 2050. The answer to why city migration is on the rise lies in the many benefits to urban life: enhanced job opportunities, higher incomes, greater access to services, and broader cultural spaces.

With their immense human capital, our cities are huge engines of growth, contributing to nearly 70% of the world’s GDP. But along with this boom comes huge energy consumption, with cities emitting more than 70% of the world’s GHG emissions as well.

Recognizing the risks and opportunities presented by climate change, cities have been leading the way in setting ambitious targets and driving innovative solutions.

Given their environmental footprint, cities can be a transformative force in engineering cleaner and more resilient development pathways. If managed sustainably, urbanization can reduce inequality and the rise in informal settlements and slums, while establishing foundations for a more inclusive and sustainable future.

In fact, addressing climate change begins in cities if we are to stay below 1.5°C of global warming. As countries shift from designing ambition targets to realizing them, enabling leadership and key actors in cities will be critical to meeting these pledges.

Nationally Determined Contributions are key to drive this agenda. Under the Climate Promise, UNDP is collaborating with governments and other stakeholders in 55 countries to enhance climate action at the urban and sub-national levels.

Latest Updates

See all
29 countries in the Africa region submitted more ambitious climate pledges in 2021 with support from Climate Promise.
Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world, five Malaysian cities take an integrated approach to low carbon development.
Young people comprise 68% of Pakistan's population, and their perspective on climate change needs to be heard.

Latest Publications

See all

UNDP’s Climate Promise remains the largest global offer of NDC support, covering over 120 countries and territories.