City Partnerships Challenge

…builds capacity

…to create collaboration between government, private sector and civil society

…to implement integrated and transformative urban development projects.

The two year capacity development and facilitation process for city governments is lead by the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme, with support from a number of international and local partners.

We also work with existing networks, programs and investment vehicles (aimed at delivering sustainable and resilient urbanisation) by brokering partnerships and establishing “shared value” governance. The aim is to accelerate and sustain implementation of these transformative projects.

We invite you to participate.

Cities, you can register your interest now

The ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ was launched globally on 13 February, 2018 at the World Urban Forum 9 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. City governments from around the world have been invited to register their interest in participating.

To be involved:

Step 1 – Download the City Partnerships Challenge Prospectus’.

Step 2 – Read, share with colleagues, secure executive approval to apply.

Step 3 – Register your Expression of Interest here .

Expressions of Interest will be accepted up to 28 May 2018.

Note: The Expression of Interest is not a legally binding document. If accepted, the city has the option to postpone or not proceed into contractual commitment.


Through participating in ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ your city will:

  • be part of an international program
  • build capacity through applied learning based on developing real projects with local, national and international partners
  • be assisted to set up governance structures for Public-Private Partnerships that include civil society (PPPPs – Public Private People Partnerships)
  • have guidance to develop projects:
    • with non-traditional partners
    • that are innovative and robust
    • can attract funding and finance
    • address critical local challenges
    • advance the sustainable development goals
  • receive support with issue diagnosis, development of business cases and partnered proposals and project metrics and measurement and reporting systems.

We bring in private sector and civil society partners to support your country’s group of cities. You will work in a cohort of 10 to 20 cities. Through ‘City Partnerships’ you will also develop relationships and share knowledge with other cities – and organisations from other sectors.

After participating in the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’, our aim is that:

  • your city will have the capability and local partners to continue developing and delivering integrated, transformative urban development projects – in partnership with others.

Criteria for Selection

The selection of participant cities will be based on:

  • population of local or regional government participant (greater than 20,000 population desirable)
  • proportional representation desired: 50% regional/rural municipalities; 50% metropolitan municipalities
  • population growth rate indicative of urbanisation pressures/changes
  • regional aggregation or clusters of applicants
  • quality of personnel initially identified to participate;
  • potential Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda theme/focus for projects

Preference will be given to cities that can indicate initial interest by Regional and National Governments.

What is Required of Cities?

    • In-kind contribution: a dedicated Development Leader to be the focal point for the city. This involves a minimum of 2 days effort a week. An executive level champion in the organisation is also required to provide senior support and guidance throughout the two-year period.
    • Financial contribution: USD$20,000 per year for two years. This financial contribution can be reduced depending on supporting contributions from regional, national and international partners to support the city participants. This financial contribution is required for capacity building, coordination of partners and support services.

What is the ‘City Partnerships’ Process?

The two year process uses eight steps to support cities to identify and foster the development of partnered projects.

There are two stages in the City Partnerships process, see diagram below.

Stage 1

The Stage 1 steps focus mainly on the capacity building of a local government urban development leader to support them to establish a task force, comprised of champions from private sector, different levels of government and civil society.

After an assessment of critical SDG related issues within each participating city, the taskforce are supported in the development of business cases by teams of business and multi-disciplinary teams of students and a researcher relevant to solution.

Stage 2

Stage 2 steps focus on further refining the development of the solution into a ‘partnered proposal’ for implementation, funding and financing.

The business case is refined through an innovation sprint with broader potential partners, students and researchers to address critical barriers, enabling needs and support for implementation. The implementation and evaluation steps ensure continuity of process.

Step 1: Capacity building for development leader
Development leaders participate in two weeks of intensive face-to-face applied training on process, skills,
tools and templates. Additional capacity building is given during each step.

Step 2: Taskforce formation
Identify and select taskforce members, creating a dynamic multi-sector team to guide and support project

Step 3: Shared value workshop
Explore the initial concept to increase value to multiple stakeholders and identify specific cross-cutting benefits, governance options and opportunities for self-sustaining revenue.

Step 4: Business case development
Business case design and development with taskforce and inputs from multiple partners including researchers, student teams, government agencies and international agencies/NGOs.

Step 5: Refine value proposition and attract further partners
Testing business case with broad audience of potential further partners from government, business and civil society to refine value proposition and advance the scale of support.

Step 6: Partnered proposal development
Partners develop (and fund) detailed proposal for implementation with inputs from experts and researchers. Proposal to include implementation plan, cost and benefit (value and impact), governance and financial models.

Step 7: Finalise funding and finance
Execute agreements for all partners and secure funding and financing arrangements.

Step 8: Implementation, monitoring and evaluation
Deliver project with monitoring review and evaluation for performance reporting.

Step 9: Development leader identifies new projects to develop
With applied skills, the development leader identifies new projects and starts from Step 2.

Global Connection

The ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ is a United Nations Global Compact contribution to the Multi-Partner Implementation Facility for Sustainable Urban Development (IFSUD) to catalyse effective, coordinated and results-based implementation of integrated sustainable urban development solutions. IFSUD was ratified by member states at UN-Habitat’s 26th Governing Council in May 2017 and is to be underpinned by a UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

Who is it supported by?

The global Expression of Interest to cities to participate in the ‘City Partnerships Challenge’ has been generously supported by the following global partners as a contribution to IFSUD:

UN Global Compact – New York office, its Local Networks and global initiatives

Realdania – leading global urban planning and design consultancy headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark

RMIT University – leading urban design university headquartered in Melbourne, Australia

UN Global Compact – Cities Programme – the urban arm of the United Nations Global Compact, supporting over 100 cities and regions globally


Need to know more?

For further information contact:
Project Lead, Michael Nolan –

Project Support, Joana Correia  –