Leading Cities and Regions

Leading level cities and regions have a special position in the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme international network.

Conscious of their role as regional leaders and global citizens, these UN Global Compact – Cities Programme members work to advance sustainable, inclusive, equitable cities through:

  • a holistic integrated approach to sustainable urban development; and
  • the implementation of a multi partner sustainable urban development project/s.

These leading level city members actively and meaningfully engage their citizens and partners from other sectors in the analysis, decision making, planning and delivery of sustainable urban development plans and projects.

At the Leadership level of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, member cities and regions receive dedicated, specific support from the international secretariat over a two year period. The member city participates in a two-year capacity building process and develops and delivers a sustainable urban development project that utilises the ‘Melbourne Model’ to address a complex or seemingly intractable issue or set of issues. This is managed and supported by a cross-sectoral group comprising government, business, civil society and academia.

Leading level city members also have an integrated dedicated plan which sets goals and actions to advance the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact- Cities Programme and the Sustainable Development Goals . They report on their progress (CoP) every two years.

Benefits of the Leading City Multi Partner Approach to Sustainable Urban Development

The Cities Programme’s multi-partner pipeline approach to sustainable urban development projects is valuable for cities and regions because it enables:

  • a process and support for engagement across sectors to create collaborative opportunities with ‘non-traditional’ partners to address critical issues in innovative ways
  • an environment for high value/high impact projects
  • the brokering of partnerships and a framework for governance for the development of ‘non-traditional’ Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)
  • knowledge sharing between city officials, UN officials and private sector mentors
  • the development of technical expertise through training, mentoring and applied development of a high value/high impact project to address a critical urban issues
  • mechanisms to support justification and attraction of investment into public private and civil society partnerships


Multi Partner High Impact Sustainable Urban Development Project model

Service and Support

The international secretariat provides a number of tools and services to support the leading city and its partners throughout this pipeline process. These include:

  1. Capacity building training and applied learning along the process
  2. Guidance and review with the City diagnostic process
  3. Facilitation support and mentoring for identifying and creating shared value opportunities with partners
  4. Multi-criteria decision making tools for prioritising opportunities and supporting preferred project business case development
  5. Guidance for the creation of robust transparent governance systems and partnership arrangements
  6. Review and advice on the development of Multi Partner Project Proposals
  7. Review and guidance on Project investment and implementation systems
  8. Official recognition and opportunities to communicate progress locally and internationally
  9. A dedicated liaison point/relationship manager within the International/Regional Secretariat team.

Leading Level City Commitments

Core commitments from the Leading level city include:

  • the nomination and appointment of a dedicated Leading City Sustainable Urban Development Coordinator (equivalent to 0.5 full time staff member) (this person is also the key contact and liaison for the international secretariat)
  • undertaking a review of urban challenges (generally done through the City Scan diagnostic)
  • participation in capacity development activities
  • establishment of a multi-sector SUD management group
  • establishment of a Sustainable Urban Development project
  • development of a Global Compact Leading City Sustainable Development Action Plan
  • submission of Communicating on Progress report every two years

Costs and Fees

The service fee for Leading level cities is USD 20,000 annually for 2 years plus the annual membership fee of USD 2,500.

Express Your Interest

Express your city or region’s interest in becoming a Leading level city here.

2017 – 2018 Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development (IFSUD) Opportunity

A limited number of Leading City members will have the opportunity to participate in the Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development (IFSUD). This is led by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in partnership with a number of key United Nations agencies and international agencies. This includes the United Nations Global Compact, through its Cities Programme in partnership with a number of Global Compact Local Networks (country) and sister initiatives (PRME and PSI).

The UN Global Compact – Cities Programme’s implementation of IFSUD – ‘City Partnerships’  – will be delivered with up to 20 cities in seven countries. For more information click here.