Cities are central to economic growth and have a pivotal role to play in achieving global climate, nature, and sustainable development goals. Yet this potential remains largely untapped as cities continue to face unprecedented environmental and social challenges. The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected cities deeply, and continues to be a barrier to sustainable and equitable development. The pandemic has widened already vulnerable gaps, and impacted capacity of cities to adopt sustainable pathways for future growth. It has also put forth health as a fundamental aspect of urban sustainability and made cities critical to achieve global green recovery.
Over the past six years spanning two funding cycles, the GEF has invested in Sustainable Cities to promote integrated urban planning and implementation as a means to help cities address interrelated environmental degradation challenges. In collaboration with cities, national governments, international agencies, networks, and various stakeholders, the GEF program is promoting innovative and impactful solutions for sustainable urban transformation. Drawing from experiences of cities under the program, this report looks at key urban sustainability elements and solutions, and discusses enablers to advance green recovery. The report highlights how city leadership, integrated approaches, and collaboration between various actors are driving cities to continue their pursuit towards sustainability goals and tackle crises like COVID-19.