SDG Eleven

Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.

However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.

The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.


SDG 11 for children – Sustainable Cities and Communities

The SDG Targets

11.1 By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums

11.2 By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

11.3 By 2030 enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacities for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries

11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage

11.5 By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of affected people and decrease by y% the economic losses relative to GDP caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with the focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations

11.6 By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management

11.7 By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities

11.a Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

11.b By 2020, increase by x% the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, develop and implement in line with the forthcoming Hyogo Framework holistic disaster risk management at all levels

11.c Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, for sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials


Almost a third of the urban population in developing regions still live in slums

In 2014, 30 per cent of the urban population in developing regions lived in conditions categorized as slums. In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion was 55 per cent - the highest of any region. Though the percentage of the city dwellers living in such conditions declined over the last decade, more than 880 million people around the world were still living in slums in 2014. Concerted action will be needed to address this challenge and enhance resilience because cities remain magnets for people seeking greater opportunities and a better life.


Urban sprawl is found in many cities around the world

In many burgeoning cities around the world, growing populations are moving outwards, far beyond administrative boundaries. Urban sprawl is found in many regions: Eastern Asia and Oceania had the highest ratio of land consumption to population growth in the world from 2000 to 2015, developed regions were second. Only Latin America and the Caribbean and Southern and Central Asia saw a ratio of less than one, meaning that cities in these regions became more densely populated. Unfortunately, a low value for this ratio is not necessarily an indication that urban dwellers are faring well, as this can indicate a prevalence of overcrowded slums. Unplanned urban sprawl is associated with increased per capita emissions of carbon dioxide and hazardous pollution and often drives housing prices up, all of which hamper sustainable development.


Cities in every part of the world have dangerously high levels of air pollution

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. Globally, ambient (outdoor) air pollution in both cities and rural areas is estimated to have caused 3.7 million premature deaths in 2012. In 2014, about half the urban population worldwide was exposed to air pollution levels at least 2.5 times above the safety standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO). No region had annual average mean concentrations of particulate matter below the maximum level set by WHO of 10 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3).


Nearly three-quarters of countries have implemented or are working to implement national-level urban policies

National policies and regional development plans that take into account the specific needs and characteristics of urban areas are essential to sustainable development. As of 2015, 142 countries were developing national-level urban policies; of these, 82 countries were already in the process of implementation and 23 had reached the monitoring and evaluation stage. The vast majority of these urban policies can further be aligned with SDGs and can be disaggregated by key themes of the sustainability agenda. They are a way to connect national policy to local action.



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