Review the challenges facing you – the City Scan diagnostic tool

Responding to the need for cities to have tools that assist them to understand and respond to their challenges and to communicate their actions, the international secretariat has developed a diagnostic and reporting tool termed the ‘City Scan’. Some 20 participant cities piloted the City Scan in 2015. It is now a core component of Leading-level city engagement. The City Scan is also offered as a stand alone activity all Global Compact city participants can access.

The City Scan also supports cities to identify the foundation for the city’s bi-annual requirement to ‘Communicate on Engagement,’ which forms part of the city or region’s commitment to the United Nations Global Compact.

How does the City Scan work?

The City Scan survey is a dedicated online platform. It provides cities with the opportunity to identify their challenges, record their progress, priorities and plans, and highlight successful initiatives.

The City Scan helps to build a holistic perspective on how the city government operates and supports the development of strategic action from the lens of the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact. The results of the City Scan provide a valuable platform to plan, set goals, monitor progress and recognise achievement.

It gathers data and perspective on three critical areas: City Development, City Sustainability and City Governance.

City Development

human_rights labour  Labour and human rights; intra-generational equity; children’s rights; equal opportunity; universal access to resources and justice; sustainable economic development. There are a number of questions within each of the following subcategories.

Identifies challenges and actions around:

City development


City Sustainability

environmentEnvironment; inter-generational equity; food security; resilience; climate change. There are a number of questions within each of the following subcategories.

Identifies challenges and actions around:

City Sustainability


City Governance

anticorruption 1-Cities-Programme-Symbol-2014Anti-corruption; leadership; transparency; accountability; participation. There are a number of questions within each of the following subcategories.

Relates to challenges and actions around:

City Governance


City Planning and Strategy

Specific plans and other documents that demonstrate planning and initiatives relating to the aforementioned areas are also recorded and uploaded.

Private Sector Engagement

The City Scan also allows cities and regions to identify actions relating to their engagement with their business community and with the United Nations Global Compact.

Project Leader and Cross-Department Contribution

  • The City Scan diagnosis process takes from 3 to 6 weeks and the data is gathered from multiple departments in the city or regional government.
  • The City Scan data collation and input is coordinated by a liaison person from within the city government. This person is the City Scan Project Leader and is nominated the role by the Mayor.
  • We recommend the establishment of a working group, representing a variety of departments within city government to collectively contribute to the City Scan and manage the review of data and final reporting.
  • The City Scan data is enhanced by engaging community groups and partners in the private sector and civil society in the project (this is optional).

City Scan Examples

The cities of Barcelona and Milwaukee have shared their summary reports as examples of outcomes from the City Scan diagnostic.


City of Barcelona, Spain:

Cover from Barcelona_Global_Compact_City_Scan_2015_ReportBarcelona_Global_Compact_City_Scan_2015_Overview


City of Milwaukee, USA:

Pages from Milwaukee_Global_Compact_City_Scan_2015_ReportMilwaukee_Global_Compact_City_Scan_Overview


How can our city undertake a City Scan?

There is a service charge to undertake the City Scan. This covers the operational cost of the diagnostic, the development of the data into a report and summary, and the provision of advice to the city government.

To discuss the opportunity for your city to undertake the City Scan diagnostic, please contact Dr Brendan F.D. Barrett (brendan.barrett@citiesprogramme.org)