Photo: Pete Muller/Kigali

UrbanShift Programme

From flash floods, smog and searing heat waves to water scarcity, urban sprawl and deepening social divides, cities face a range of overlapping and compounding challenges, intensifying the demands on their natural resources. These demands are only going to multiply: by 2050, 68% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, with 90% of this growth taking place in Asia and Africa.


Complex challenges call for bold, cross-cutting solutions. UrbanShift is a GEF-funded program led by UNEP that supports more than 20 cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America to adopt integrated approaches to urban development, helping shape cities that are efficient, resilient and inclusive.

From coastal management measures in Surat, India to low-emission zones in Teresina, Brazil and upgraded informal settlements in Kigali, Rwanda, UrbanShift's will engage with more than 23 cities across 9 countries (China, India, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Morocco, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina), bringing together local and global stakeholders to build a living, livable future for all. 

Our Strategy 

Cities need to transform urgently, not only to meet shared climate and sustainable development goals, but also to provide a livable, just future for those who call them home. UrbanShift’s strategy to achieving this transformation is two-fold:

Local Projects:

Through on-the-ground projects in India, China, Indonesia, Morocco, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil, we’re collaborating with city officials and urban practitioners to implement innovative urban solutions that facilitate the shift toward sustainable, low-carbon development.

Global Platform:

We’re building a knowledge and learning platform that connects more than 20 cities with global expertise and cutting-edge research on sustainable urban planning. This platform will also provide opportunities to share experiences, forge partnerships and secure financing for local projects through virtual and in-person workshops and forums.

These two approaches combine to produce a trailblazing cohort of cities ready to take their climate ambition to the next level and lead the transition to a greener, more equitable future for all. Because when cities act, people and planet can thrive together.

Our Funders & Partners: 

UrbanShift is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), C40 Cities (C40), ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).  

To learn more about UrbanShift, please visit: