Climate action from the ground up: Supporting local and regional governments and cities

This report features 19 snapshots of countries that use a whole-of-government approach with UNDP support, toward a unified climate strategy.

Climate action from the ground up: Supporting local and regional governments and cities

Published by UNDP Climate Promise on 12 October 2022

The world is on pace to reach 1.5-1.6 celsius of warming by 2040, and with little time remaining, countries must scale up ambition to pivot to a low-carbon future, building resilience and adaptive capacity for all citizens. In addition to national governments, every region, city and village have a key role to play in multi-level climate action.

Around the world, UNDP supports climate action across levels of government and from the national to community level, helping countries to take bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase resilience and adaptation to climate impacts, and advance sustainable development as a whole.

In 2019, UNDP launched the Climate Promise to help ensure any country wishing to increase the ambition of their NDC was able to do so. UNDP supported 120 countries, representing 80 percent of developing countries globally, including 40 Least Developed Countries, 28 Small Island Developing States, and 47 in fragile contexts, to enhance their climate pledges and raise ambition to reduce their GHG emissions and meet the challenges of climate change. Since its inception, the Climate Promise has emphasized the role of subnational actors in meeting the climate challenge.

At COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, UNDP launched the second phase of the initiative, ‘From Pledge to Impact’ to scale up support to turn NDC targets into concrete action. This latest iteration of Climate Promise support will allow countries to accelerate inclusive action to meet their targets, while continuing to push for greater ambition. Local action will be key.

This report offers snapshots of 19 countries around the globe where central, regional, and local governments have come together under the Climate Promise to work towards a unified national climate strategy.

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF of the report.

Lessons from Chile: How cities can improve quality of life (UNDP Urban October Blog Series)

Chile is experiencing a growing urbanization. Some 90 percent of Chileans live in cities, and they have seen significant improvement in the quality of life, through greater access to jobs, basic infrastructure, equipment, and community services.

The policies and programmes of recent decades have put special emphasis on reducing the housing deficit. Despite these achievements, significant inequalities persist, including territorial segregation, concentration of poverty, fragmentation, insecurity, overcrowding, low internet connectivity, and the lack of equitable access to urban public goods.

Lessons from Chile: How cities can improve quality of life

With rational urban planning and management, cities can become dynamic centres of innovation.

Published by UNDP on 18 October 2022


Santiago de Chile

Chileans who live in cities have seen significant improvements in their quality of life. Photo: Shutterstock

The resilience of cities and the enhanced capacity of their inhabitants is decisive in facing social, economic and health crises, as well as in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing issues, increasing inequalities. Cities were hard-hit, particularly the most vulnerable citizens. This crisis, however, despite all its negative consequences, presents an opportunity to rethink the way in which we live, connect, build, and maintain our cities.

With rational and urban planning and management, cities can become dynamic centres of innovation that drive positive changes in people's daily lives. Cities can also be a protective factor against unforeseen events.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 aims to make cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This means access, for the entire population, to housing and basic services, as well as adequate, affordable and safe means of transportation, especially for people in vulnerable situations. SDG 11 also promotes sustainable urban planning with green areas, safe and inclusive public spaces, and an improved conditions in vulnerable neighbourhoods.

Chile’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and UNDP are working together to consolidate timely responses on urban development, in a context of high complexity marked by the post-pandemic recovery, and the great transformations that Chile is experiencing.

This alliance aims to re-position the role of the state as the lead in urban development, as well as the promoter, protector and guarantor of the right to adequate housing. In addition, the partnership aims to advance in terms of planning and governance, and in the articulation of policies, comprehensive regulatory frameworks and governance models that favour coordination, decentralization, and urban-rural synergy.

The partnership will address the housing crisis and its most visible expression: the growth in the number of informal settlements. An estimated 643,534 families in Chile lack adequate housing because of the rise in real estate prices, the cost of materials and increases in demand.

The partnership aims to promote urban planning with a special focus on the Housing Emergency Plan, which will increase decent housing and deliver 260,000 homes during President Gabriel Boric’s administration.

Resilient urban spaces tackle the environmental crisis and climate change, through sustainable plans that protect the environment, foster renewable energy, and water efficiency, and reduce carbon emissions.

It is crucial to put people at the centre of urban development and to promote inclusive communities by strengthening citizen participation. Citizens must be agents of change and assume a shared responsibility and involvement in decisions related to their living environment.

More than ever, it is necessary to establish a commitment to promote inclusive and sustainable urban development. In the cities lie the future of our populations, and it is in cities where we can better achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth and not accept greater inequality. Our fate is in our hands. We hope that the UNDP partnership with the Government of Chile will result in a prosperous future.

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National Systems for Adaptation Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: A Country Dialogue
In this 90-minute session, the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) secretariat will facilitate a multi-stakeholder dialogue focusing on national systems for adaptation.

National Systems for Adaptation Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL): A Country Dialogue

25 October 2022 from 8-9:30am EDT

The global adaptation community is focused on establishing methods for tracking progress on adaptation through mechanisms such as the Glasgow-Sharma-el-Sheikh work program on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). However, few countries have fully operationalized national-level monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) adaptation frameworks. Recent research from WRI analyzing the adaptation components of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) finds that less than a quarter of countries refer to adaptation MEL approaches in their updated NDCs.

Given this gap, dedicated resources and tools for developing adaptation MEL systems are in high demand. Developing countries have commonly asserted their need for support, technical assistance and financial resources for developing robust MEL frameworks needed to validate, learn from and enhance existing adaptation actions and plans.

In this 90-minute session, the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC) secretariat will facilitate a multi-stakeholder dialogue focusing on national systems for adaptation MEL and highlight:

  • Perspective of countries in terms of progress, challenges and opportunities in tracking and evaluating adaptation

  • Insights from intermediary organizations with experience in supporting countries to build MEL systems 

  • Outstanding gaps and challenges in developing and implementing such systems

  • Discussion on potential avenues of action to drive progress on adaptation MEL globally.


  • Rebecca CarterHead of AAC Secretariat; Acting Director, Climate Resilience Practice, World Resources Institute


  • Rohini Kohli, Lead Technical Specialist for National Adaptation Plans, United Nations Development Program

  • Emilie BeauchampLead, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Adaptation to Climate Change, NAP Global Network

  • Ryan O'ConnorResearch Analyst, World Resources Institute

  • AAC Member Country Representative (TBC)

The Adaptation Action Coalition is a state-led coalition of 40 countries accelerating global action on adaptation to achieve a climate-resilient world. Learn more:

Register here:

Primary Contact: Kiyomi de Zoysa, Engagement and Communications Specialist, Climate Resilience Practice

Designing cities that work for women - Global Report Launch by UNDP, Arup, and University of Liverpool
The report provides actionable recommendations and guidance for policy-makers, urban and development practitioners on how to design and plan for cities that are safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching for women and girls.

Cities Alive: Designing cities that work for women

Organized by UNDP, Arup, and the University of Liverpool

Date and Time: Monday, 24 October 2022 from 9-10:30 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Register here:


Cities provide pivotal hubs of innovation, productivity, and opportunities, and importantly homes and communities, and are a melting pot of individuals and cultures. However, when planned without social equity and diversity, they widen social gaps. 

In cities across the world, women of all ages and gender identities face a range of barriers and vulnerabilities. These include gender-based discrimination, inequality, violence, poverty, unpaid care work, limited control over assets, and unequal participation in private and public decision-making. Billions of women who reside in urban areas are underserved by the environments they live and work in. In both subtle and overtly discriminatory ways, cities are often built in such a way that women are unsafe, their basic needs are not met, and that their social and economic opportunities are restricted.

Join the global launch of the new publication “Cities Alive: Designing Cities that Work for Women.” Developed by Arup, UNDP, and the University of Liverpool, the report presents fresh takes on how to achieve gender equity in the built environment benefits all communities globally. It provides actionable recommendations and guidance for policy-makers, and urban development practitioners on how to design and plan for cities that are safer, healthier, fairer and more enriching for women and girls.

The report also offers real-world case studies and an easy-to-follow methodology to directly engage women in urban decision-making processes and incorporate their needs, concerns, and ideas in the planning, design and construction of gender-inclusive cities.

This high-level event and the global launch of the new publication will feature prominent speakers from UNDP, ARUP, the University of Liverpool, civil society, and the private sector.

Speakers include:

  • Francine Pickup, Deputy Director, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support
  • Sara Candiracci, Associate Director and Lead for Inclusive and Resilient Cities, Arup
  • Kim Power, Principal Planner, Arup
  • Abdallah al Dardari, UNDP Resident Representative in Afghanistan
  • Sowmya Parthasarathy, Director and Lead for Urban Design and Master Planning, Arup
  • Léan Doody, Director and Lead for Cities, Planning, and Design in Europe Programme, Arup
  • Martyn Evans, Creative Director, U and I Group PLC 
  • Catherine Queen, Lecturer in Planning, University of Liverpool
  • Smruti Jukur Johari, Urban Planner, School For Potential Advancement And Restoration Of Confidence (SPARC) India and Slum Dwellers International (SDI)

Learn more here:

2022 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)


Published by UNDP and Oxford Poverty and Human

Development Initiative (OPHI) on 17 October 2022 

The 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index Report "Unpacking deprivation bundles to reduce multidimensional poverty" finds that reducing poverty at scale is possible and unveils new 'poverty profiles' that can offer a breakthrough in development efforts to tackle the interlinked aspects of poverty.

The report identifies a series of 'deprivation bundles' -- recurring patterns of poverty -- that commonly impact those who live in multidimensional poverty across the world. The data are used to identify the poverty profiles that are more common in certain places. This is a crucial step in designing strategies that address multiple aspects of poverty at the same time.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis are accounted for, the data shows that 1.2 billion people in 111 developing countries live in acute multidimensional poverty. This is nearly double the number who are seen as poor when poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 per day.

Access the full report here:

UCLG's GOLD VI Report: Pathways to Urban and Territorial Equality

GOLD VI Report: Pathways to Urban and Territorial Equality 

The GOLD VI Report: Pathways to Urban and Territorial Equality was launched by UCLG Co-President and Mayor of San José, Johnny Araya, during the plenary session on “Local and Regional Governments Breaking Through as One” on 12 October 2022. 

The GOLD VI Report is an essential contribution to the Pact for the Future of Humanity, the expected outcome document of the Daejeon’s World Summit. It was built following the three pillars of the Pact – people, planet, and government — and offers local and regional governments “pathways” to mobilize a common vision for addressing inequalities through local transformation strategies. 

The Report proposes that local authorities, together with civil society, can champion equality and address local manifestations of growing inequalities through addressing six interconnected pathways: Commoning, Caring, Connecting, Renaturing, Prospering, and Democratizing.

Each of its chapters offers a diversity of themes related to informality, housing, land, basic services, urban health, migration, sustainable transport, decent livelihoods, resilience, and energy transition, among others, all grounded in a framework of political participation and accountability.

The elaboration of the Report has involved a three-year collective co-creation process of over a hundred local and regional governments, civil society organizations, and experts from around the world. As such, the GOLD facilitate a rich process, supporting and strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogues and ensuring the participation and involvement of UCLG members. The lead team has been the UCLG Research area, the Bartlett Development Planning Unit of the University College London, and the International Institute for Environment and Development.

Article by Urban Journalism Institute:

Access the full report, individual chapters, and the executive summary here:

Education Grant for Underprivileged Girls: A Beacon of Hope

The Livelihood Improvement of Urban Poor Communities (LIUPC) Project of United Nations Development Programme and Local Government Division aims to contribute to balanced and sustainable growth by reducing urban poverty in Bangladesh and achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Education Grant for Underprivileged Girls: A Beacon of Hope

Published by UNDP on 11 October 2022

Although the government had made tuition free for girls, the families struggled with additional expenditure like cost of uniforms, stationery, extra coaching to maintain their education. So, by the time the children finished primary school, most were pulled out.

©UNDP Bangladesh

“I never thought I would be able to continue school,” Bithi Akhter, a 15-year-old resident of Korail slum, told with teary eyes.

“My parents would tell me; you are a girl. Why should we waste money on your education?” she continued adding that her family, due to her gender, preferred to keep her home until she came of age to start working in Readymade Garments Factory.

Not only Bithi, but many of the girls in Korail faced the same future. With families of four to five meeting days end on an average monthly earning of Tk 25,000 ($247), education for children, especially a girl child, seemed unworthy. Due to lack of incentive, instead of education, they were faced with strenuous work or early marriage. 

Although the government had made tuition free for girls, the families struggled with additional expenditure like cost of uniforms, stationery, extra coaching to maintain their education. So, by the time the children finished primary school, most were pulled out.    

“I was in class six at that time. It was 2018. My parents suddenly told me that there was no need for me to go to school from next year. I remember what they told me: stay at home until you are of age to go and work at the [Readymade] Garments Factory. That would be better for us,” she continued.

A year later, fortune struck for Bithi. A development project working for bettering the lives of the urban poor, was providing education grants. Bithi and many of her friends, who were at risk of dropping out, were selected as beneficiaries.

Morsheda Akhter, a community organizer of LIUPCP, said, “We search out underprivileged families of the slum and give their children educational grants and other support to help them continue their study.”

“Previously the school dropout rate was very high in Korail slum.  But in the changed scenario, most of the parent have been sending their children to schools,” she added that the grant has served as an incentive for the parents to allow the children to continue studies.

Since receiving the grant, Bithi has come a long way from sitting at home, waiting to come of age to go and work. A student of class 10 at Mohakhali Model School, Bithi had a twinkle in her eye as she talked about how she envisions her future.

“I love accounting. I am going to work in a bank and support my family. I know I have the potential; I am good at it. Now I can prove it to others,” she said.