The UN Global Compact - Cities Programme

The UN Global Compact – Cities Programme is the urban arm of the UN Global Compact. Recognising the unique and complex challenges urban environments face, the Cities Programme works with the UN Global Compact’s network of city signatories to achieve fair, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities and societies, through championing the 10 Principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]. The Cities Programme provides diagnostic tools, resources, capacity building and project support to cities, to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships which connect local and regional governments with the private sector, civil society and academic experts to support the local-level implementation of the SDGs.

The Cities Programme is administered by an International Secretariat, which has been hosted by RMIT University since 2007. 

The UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with 12,000+ participating businesses and non-business organisations across over 50+ local networks. Organisations who are part of the UN Global Compact do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environments and anti-corruption, and take actions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Global Compact 10 Principles

The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

Human Rights

1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

2. Make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


3. Businesses  should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

4. The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

5. The effective abolition of child labour; and

6. The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

8.  Undertake initiatives to promote greater environ-mental responsibility; and

9. Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


10.  Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]

The Cities Programme works with cities and regions around the world to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals through collaborative multi-stakeholder action.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the United Nations on 25 September 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

The Melbourne Model

Leading and Innovating Cities with the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme take collaborative action through a collaborative framework termed, The Melbourne Model.

The Melbourne Model was developed by the Committee for Melbourne and City of Melbourne from 2001. It trialled with a group of partners in the Utility Debt Spiral project in Melbourne. 

In 2005, the model was then offered to a number of participants of the UN Global Compact. It was piloted in 11 cities with a diverse range of projects. Some projects produced long standing results, shown particularly in Porto Alegre and San Francisco, whose models and projects continue some 15 years later.

The Melbourne Model of cross-sectoral collaboration continues to be the central platform of the Cities Programme and is promoted to all participant cities as an effective mechanism to tackle complex urban challenges.

See more on the Melbourne Model and the development of the Cities Programme in the paper published in the Journal of Corporate Citizenship by Cities Programme former Director, David Teller, The Melbourne Model: Solving Hard Urban Issues Together.

About RMIT University

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) is the host of the UN Global Compact – Cities Programme International Secretariat. 

RMIT is a global university of technology, design and enterprise. One of Australia’s original tertiary institutions, RMIT University enjoys an international reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education, applied research, and engagement with the needs of industry and the community.

RMIT is a world leader in Art and Design; Architecture; Education; Engineering; Development; Computer Science and Information Systems; Business and Management; and Communication and Media Studies.

RMIT is committed to the practice of incorporating sustainability principles and practices into learning and teaching, research and operational activities.

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