For Cities

The UN Global Compact – Cities Programme is comprised of city, state and municipal governments who make a commitment to advance sustainable development and the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment, anti-corruption and good governance.

Cities and regions are encouraged and supported to work in partnership with the private sector, civil society and community to tackle complex global issues on a local level.  This page outlines the process of engagement and key activities to advance the Global Compact in your sphere of interest.


Getting Started – Commit to the United Nations Global Compact

The initial and foundation stage of becoming engaged with the United Nations Global Compact and its Cities Programme is to become a signatory to the Global Compact. This commitment is made by the Mayor or most senior representative of municipal government on behalf of the city or district. The steps to make the commitment are as follows: Step… View Article

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The initial and foundation stage of becoming engaged with the United Nations Global Compact and its Cities Programme is to become a signatory to the Global Compact. This commitment is made by the Mayor or most senior representative of municipal government on behalf of the city or district. The steps to make the commitment are as follows:

Step 1 – Review the Online Application Guidelines on the United Nations Global Compact website. Download  a template letter. They are available in a number of languages:  English – Français – Español – Deutsch – Portugês

Step 2 – Write a Letter of Commitment to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, signed by the Mayor or most senior Executive of the organisation. This is written on your organisation’s letterhead committing the organisation/city to uphold and advance the Ten Principles of the Global Compact and to communicate on engagement every two years.

Step 3 – Submit an online application: Scan the letter from the Mayor to the Secretary General and upload as part of the online application at the Global Compact.

Step 4 – You will receive confirmation from the Global Compact. Your city is listed on the Global Compact website.

Step 5 – You will receive a welcome letter from the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme inclusive of invitation to engage in a range of initiatives.

Step 6 – Your city or region is given a webpage on www.citiesprogramme.org . The page will initially feature an image of your Mayor or Governor and the city’s commitment letter. Any news, contributions and projects you submit will publish in connection to this page.

COMMITMENT projects – align your key urban initiatives to the Compact

Our new web platform has been designed to enable city participants to align their leading urban initiatives with their UN Global Compact commitment. COMMIT is a simple but dynamic user-led system that enables monitoring, evaluation and reporting on urban projects in alignment with the Ten United Nations Principles and the new Sustainable Development Goals. Cities can nominate more than one initiative. This page provides information about the criteria for COMMIT projects.

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Our new web platform has been designed to enable city participants to align their leading urban initiatives with their UN Global Compact commitment. The simple but dynamic user-led system that enables monitoring, evaluation and reporting on urban projects in alignment with the Ten United Nations Principles and the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Commitment projects are designed to increase the interchange of knowledge and good practice between city participants and partners in the private sector and civil society. It also has the added value of being a platform for Communicating on Engagement.

Reporting on your commitment project allows recognition of the work of staff, partners and the community in connection to the city’s participation in the UN Global Compact throughout the life of the urban initiative.

Given publishing can be an ongoing – through project updates and providing news posts – commitment projects are an easy mechanism to heighten the community’s awareness of the city’s commitment to the Compact and to celebrate achievement.

What type of urban initiatives can be listed as COMMITMENT projects?

COMMITMENT initiatives need to:

  • Address one or more of the Global Compact UN Principles in the areas of: human rights; labour rights and livelihoods; the environment; and anti-corruption and good governance.
  • Address one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Be collaborative – involve community and other sectors.
  • Be action and outcomes focused.
  • Be in progress – initiatives can be listed from the onset, during delivery or in the later stages; they can also be ongoing.

What information is required?

Your leading urban initiative is submitted as a project through an online form on this website. You will need to log in to www.citiesprogramme.org through your city’s account. If you do not yet have an account, or do not know your log in details, please click here.

You can add images and videos within the project description. The COMMITMENT project can be saved and returned to at a later date whilst you are developing it. The project can also be reviewed and amended and added to after publishing.

The project publishing form follows a standard format. This acts as a guide to the project structure and management.

You will need to identify:

1. The Context

The historical and environmental background to the project. Who initiated it? What are the issues and challenges (i.e. social, environmental, economic, political) that led to the initiative being developed?

2. The Objectives

What are you trying to achieve? These are one line statements.

3. The Connection to the Ten Principles and the SDGs

The connection to the Principles and SDGs will be represented on your project’s page with icons. Given the complexity of the urban environment it is likely that your initiative will address more than one principle and one goal. You can also link them to our key focus areas.

4. Your Partners

Who are you working with to achieve the initiative’s aims? This is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the role of partners in the private sector, civil society and community.

5. Timeline

Identify the project start and expected completion dates. These dates can be varied at a later point, if required.

6. Your Actions

What is your strategy? What are you planning to do?

7. Measurement

How will you know that you have achieved what you set out to do? What measures are connected to the initiative? These can be qualitative or quantitative.

Updates and news

You can provide regular updates during the progress of the initiative. These can be in the form of news items, short reports and can include videos and images. These updates will be listed as a separate post. When published they will be connected to the COMMITMENT project and linked to your city’s page.

And upon completion

You can add the following:

8. Results

What did you achieve?

9. Knowledge

What did you learn? What would you advise other cities or other actors?

10. Future Plans and Actions

Will other actions follow the initiative?

Communication on Engagement

Every city participant is required to Communicate on Engagement every two years. You can download and save the pages from your COMMITMENT project and updates as a PDF file and compile them to submit as your Communication on Engagement report to the Global Compact Headquarters.

Can we have more than one COMMIT project?

Submitting more than one leading urban initiative is strongly encouraged.

Four or more COMMIT projects enable city participants the opportunity to be recognised as a Leading-level city. (Note: this is after one year, dependent on the projects being reasonably representative of the whole of government and well aligned to the Principles and SDGs. Additional criteria such as conducting and resourcing Leading-level activities may need to be met.)

Is publishing automatic?

Publishing is not automatic. The project is submitted in draft format to the Cities Programme International Secretariat office where it will be reviewed before publishing. A light edit may be required. You will be consulted if there are any points of concern, any areas that require further clarification or if additional information is needed.

Can our COMMIT initiative be published or recognised elsewhere?

Yes, in some cases cities will be invited to publish in our ‘Cities for the Future’ publication as a case study or to contribute to webinars and events.

Is there a financial charge for this service?

COMMIT is a free service to all Global Compact participants.

Additional services are also available:

  • Participants have the option for their COMMITMENT initiative/s and updates to be compiled and published as a graphically designed, branded document.
  • They can also request advisory or research services to support their COMMIT project throughout the duration of the project.

These are available on a fee-for-service basis.

Contact us

For more information please email, communications@citiesprogramme.org

Become a Leading City

Cities and Regions at the Leading-level of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme: are conscious of their roles as regional leaders and global citizens work to improve the knowledge and practices of other cities and regions. actively and meaningfully engage their citizens and other stakeholders in their planning and projects. have a dedicated plan… View Article

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Cities and Regions at the Leading-level of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme:

  • are conscious of their roles as regional leaders and global citizens
  • work to improve the knowledge and practices of other cities and regions.
  • actively and meaningfully engage their citizens and other stakeholders in their planning and projects.
  • have a dedicated plan with a holistic, integrated approach which:

What are the actions of a Leading-level City?

There is flexibility in the plan of activities for a Leading-level city but foundation actions include: nominating a Leading City Liaison person/Coordinator; undertaking a review of challenges and actions (generally the City Scan diagnostic); developing a Global Compact Leading City Plan of Action; and communicating about activities and outcomes.

1. Nominating Facilitators

The Leading city nominates a Liaison person/Coordinator who:

  • is the primary point of contact for the International Secretariat;
  • facilitates the involvement of other interested parties in Leading city activities; and
  • is responsible for meeting the reporting requirements of the UN Global Compact.

The International Secretariat establishes a specific City Liaison Officer for the Leading-level city or region. This person:

  • is the primary point of contact at the International Secretariat for that city;
  • is responsible for coordinating research and urban expert support in the city or region’s Leading-level activities;
  • is responsible for communicating outcomes; and
  • is responsible for further developing new opportunities for collaboration.

2. City Diagnostic

Most Leading-level cities undertake a City Scan diagnostic involving an in-depth, supported process of diagnosing the participant city’s progress across the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact – with the Mark II version, the Sustainable Development Goals. This is based on a detailed questionnaire and reporting tool which provides cities with the opportunity to identify their region’s challenges, record their progress, priorities and plans and highlight successful initiatives. It draws information from across departments of the administration and it takes approximately three weeks to collate data.

3. United Nations Global Compact Principles – Leading City Plan of Action

Based on the outcomes of the City Diagnostic or similar internal review, the city or region develops a detailed plan of action for the initial three years of Leading-level city status. This plan will outline priorities, projects, partners and key actors, objectives and processes to monitor and measure outcomes.

4. Establishment of a Cross-Sectoral Reference Group

At the Leading-level of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, the city is encouraged to establish a cross-sectoral group to support Leading-level activities. This is not mandatory but it is highly valuable in deepening the impact of projects and utilising the cross-sectoral model of the Cities Programme. If the city has an established cross-sectoral group related to existing initiatives, the responsibilities of that group could be extended to the UN Global Compact Leading-level city engagement, and members would be recognised for their role.

5. Communication on Activities

Leading-level cities communicate the process, outcomes and learning of leading projects and actions. This is done through our self-publishing web platform, accessed by logging on here.

Additional Leadership Activities

There are a number of additional activities in which these cities can demonstrate leadership, achieve positive impacts in their region and influence other cities. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Hosting events, seminars and conferences
  • Conducting webinars
  • Developing and distributing resources
  • Developing and delivering cross-regional and cross-sectoral projects
  • Leading the formation of a regional network of cities (and partners) working to address specific regional issues

Resourcing Leading-level Action

Additional resources are available to support Leading-level cities to undertake development activities that advance their region and influence others. The support can come from the resources of:

  • the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme International Secretariat (through a funded contractual arrangement);
  • a local partner (through a defined agreement with the International Secretariat); or
  • the city or region (where a defined proportion of budget and resources is dedicated to Global Compact leadership activities).

The scope of actions and related resourcing is defined on an annual basis.

Length of Recognition

Global Compact cities and regions are recognised as a Leading-level city for a period of three years. This can be extended for a further three-year period following a review of actions and outcomes. This extension is made through an offer, in writing, from the International Secretariat.

Express Your Interest

Leading-level city engagement is by invitation. Please express your interest in becoming a Leading-level city here.


Feature Image: Leading City Maringá, in Paraná, Brazil have a Municipal Council of Women which includes community representatives and government. Part of their work includes an Assistance to Women Reference Center. Source: Municipality of Maringá.

Become an Innovating City

At the Innovation level, a city or region addresses a complex or seemingly intractable issue, or a set of issues, within the city or region through a multi-year project. Whilst focused on resolving a specific issue or transforming a complex situation, these projects are holistic; they have a transformative quality and intent. They are managed… View Article

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At the Innovation level, a city or region addresses a complex or seemingly intractable issue, or a set of issues, within the city or region through a multi-year project. Whilst focused on resolving a specific issue or transforming a complex situation, these projects are holistic; they have a transformative quality and intent. They are managed cross-sectorally, engaging government, business and civil society in the development and implementation of the project. The project has clear monitoring and evaluation processes. At this level, dedicated support and recognition is provided by the Cities Programme International Secretariat. The project is documented; learnings from this project is shared across the Cities Programme network and more broadly. A fee is associated with this level of engagement, but this can also be waived. This fee can also be used to provide research support to the specific Innovating City project.

How do we become a UN Global Compact Innovating City or Region?

1. Become a Global Compact Signatory

All Innovating Cites must first become signatories to the United Nations Global Compact. This process is initiated by the Mayor or the most senior representative of the municipal government for the City or urban centre, committing the city to the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact.

Follow this link for instructions on becoming a Signatory City

Do you already have a significant cross-sectorally managed project in operation?

You are welcome to discuss a potential or existing project with us via email, telephone (+61 399 253 407) or Skype.

2. Register your interest in becoming an Innovating City

Complete this brief online form to register your interest in becoming an Innovating City.

This does not commit you but gives us the opportunity to support you in the development of your Innovating Project.

3. Design a cross sectoral project

Bring together local actors; representatives of government, industry and civil society

Develop a cross-sectoral project that addresses a complex urban issue/s specific to your city and will contribute to the sustainability of your community, city or region.

Form a Local Secretariat
Form a group comprising of representatives from government, industry and civil society to guide and deliver the Innovating project. It is advised that all members have a genuine stake in the project and its outcomes and undertake an active role in the project’s implementation. This group also becomes a Cities Programme Local Secretariat.

Nominate an In-Country Convenor
You will be required to appoint an In-Country Convenor, this is the nominated person to liaise with Cities Programme.

View the Cities Programme Innovating – Local Secretariat [Template] (PDF 200 KB 2 pages)

Note: The details of your Local Secretariat membership can be submitted online as part of your Innovating Project submission.

Keep in touch

Please feel free to seek advice/communicate regularly with our office during this process – email us at communications@citiesprogramme.org or phone +61 399 253 407.

4. Submit your Innovating Project

Submit your Innovating project using our web publishing system. A user name and password will be forwarded to you.