The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


UCL and UN-Habitat sign a Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Sustainable Urban Development

18 January 2024

The DPU, UCL Research, Innovation, & Global Engagement and The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) have entered into a collaborative partnership to enhance knowledge, capacity, and awareness in the realm of sustainable urban development.

Image of Mr. Neil Khor, Professor Geraint Rees, Maimunah Mohd Sharif and Professor Michael Walls signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UN-Habitat and UCL

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UN-Habitat and UCL underscores a commitment to fostering an exchange of expertise in sustainable urban development, the New Urban Agenda, and SDG 11.

The MoU was signed by Mr. Neil Khor, Special Advisor to the UN-Habitat Executive Director, alongside Professor Geraint Rees, Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation, & Global Engagement), and Professor Michael Walls, DPU Director of UCL, on January 16, 2024.

On his part, DPU Director Professor Walls commented:

We are enormously excited at this opportunity to build a dynamic partnership that helps address some of the key opportunities and challenges of urban sustainability in which the complex and interlinked issues of inclusivity and climate change demand evidence-led and socially sensitive planners and practitioners.

Within the framework of this collaboration, UN-Habitat and UCL will actively promote capacity development through training, learning engagements, and event opportunities, facilitating knowledge exchange. The partnership will also guide discussions on topics related to sustainable urban development.

By facilitating knowledge exchange in the areas of sustainable urban development, this collaboration will bridge the gap between theory and practice owing to UCL’s cutting-edge research and UN-Habitat’s real-world experience, enhancing the potential to guide the development of impactful solutions for sustainable urban development. The knowledge exchange is particularly crucial given UN-Habitat’s aim to launch a knowledge hub on financing sustainable urbanisation.

The collaboration will also provide technical guidance for the development of the Cities Investment Facility (CIF). CIF is a multi-stakeholder initiative providing project preparation assistance with the aim of unlocking private capital in urban infrastructure projects. UCL’s expertise can be leveraged to refine CIF’s project preparation activities, ensuring they align with the latest sustainable development principles and best practices, and providing technical guidance to city officials through capacity-building programmes.

This partnership represents a powerful catalyst for progress, fueled by the exchange of knowledge and expertise and a shared commitment to shaping a sustainable urban future for our cities.

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