The UN Global Compact Cities Programme

The Global Compact Cities Programme is the urban component of the United Nations Global Compact; the world’s largest corporate responsibility initiative.

The Global Compact recognises that cities, in particular, have the potential to make enormous strides in creating sustainable societies – where economic, ecological, political and cultural issues are integrated and advanced.

To that end, the Global Compact Cities Programme is dedicated to the promotion and adoption of the United Nations Ten Principles by cities, and provides a framework for translating the principles into day-to-day urban governance and management.

In the spirit of the UN Global Compact, the Cities Programme focuses on collaboration between all levels of government, business and civil society to enhance sustainability, resilience, diversity and adaptation within cities and in the face of complex urban challenges.

The Cities Programme supports a holistic approach to sustainability that considers, plans for and measures impact across four social domains: the economic; ecological; political; and cultural.

Administered by an International Secretariat based at the Global Cities Institute at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, the UN Global Compact Cities Programme provides support, guidance and recognition to participating cities.

The Cities Programme offers three levels of engagement: Signatory, Reporting and Innovating. Each successive level involves a progression in terms of the commitment by the city and the commensurate advice, tools and recognition provided by the Cities Programme.

All cities initially participate at signatory level but may choose to engage at other levels immediately, subsequently or at a later date.

1. Signatory City:

In a letter to the UN Secretary-General from the highest level city leader, a Signatory City commits to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, endeavours to enact and promote those principles in city management, and encourages businesses in the city to join the UN Global Compact. Read more ….

2. Reporting City:

In addition to the Signatory commitment, Reporting Cities agree to report annually on efforts to advance the Ten Principles in city management, as well as through advocacy with the local business community. The Cities Programme can provide guidance on relevant reporting indicators and metrics. Highlights of these reports are published on the Cities Programme website.

3. Innovating City:

An Innovating City, beyond the commitments of Levels 1 and 2 above, undertakes a multi-year project to address a complex or seemingly intractable issue within the city linked to the Ten Principles. The development and management of the project is done using the Cities Programme methodology. This includes tools that facilitate collaborative partnerships and the establishment of rigorous monitoring and evaluation processes. Dedicated support is provided by the Cities Programme Secretariat. A fee is associated with this level of engagement which is invested into further development of research methodologies and related activities undertaken by the International Secretariat and made available to Innovating Cities