City Transitions

Transforming cities for a liveable future for all

Cities are the key to implementing global climate and development goals. They are not only drivers of climate change, but also offer great potential for the integrated management of climate change and its consequences.

However, this requires social, environmental, and economic change as well as a strong commitment from the entire global community.

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Sustainable urban development is therefore an essential field of action of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is one of three areas of intervention in its core area strategy “Responsibility for Our Planet – Climate and Energy”. In addition to sustainable urban development, the area of intervention includes mobility and circular economy. The goal of German development cooperation is to make cities sustainable, climate-neutral, resilient and liveable for all. 

The principle of “Just Transition” is a guiding principle for the work of the BMZ in the context of sustainable urban development: Just Transition is relevant in all urban thematic areas such as construction, urban infrastructure, energy, water, mobility, circular economy and nature-based solutions and can be linked to local employment promotion and digitalisation. Through such an integrated approach to sustainable and integrated urban development in the partner countries, synergies can be identified and implemented.

The aspired transformation in the urban sectors is navigated through intentional governance, planning and financing mechanisms that integrate the necessary contributions to climate adaption in line with social and economic needs of communities. Alongside new climate-friendly employment opportunities, efficient social security systems play an important role in cities.

The broad spectrum of sustainable urban development is also reflected in the work of the BMZ. City Transitions provides a comprehensive overview of the BMZ’s activities, resources and events on sustainable urban development, mobility and circular economy.

Learn more about the BMZ core area strategy
“Responsibility for Our Planet – Climate and Energy”

Learn more about the work of the BMZ on
sustainable urban development

How does the BMZ support international urban development?

Our Vision

Transforming cities for a liveable future for all

Our Mission

We support governments and stakeholders to shape their sustainable cities of tomorrow through policy development, technical expertise, and financial support.

Our Leverages

1. Strengthening urban governance and cities’ access to finance.
2. Creating sustainable infrastructure and services.
3. Facilitating participatory and integrated urban planning.
4. Designing safe and resilient cities.
5. Building just and environmentally sound cities.
6. Providing access to affordable housing and mobility.
7. Fostering circular economy and green jobs.
8. Advocating smart and people centred urban solutions.

A collection of BMZ publications and media on urban issues

The BMZ and the implemented projects produce a variety of case studies, factsheets, publications and other knowledge products on a wide range of topics and areas of work in the context of sustainable urban development.

SMARTMove: Innovative Urban Mobility Challenge Compendium

SMARTMove: Innovative Urban Mobility Challenge Compendium

1st Edition of Green Urban Mobility Partnership Newsletter

1st Edition of Green Urban Mobility Partnership Newsletter

Where does the BMZ operate?

The BMZ is currently supporting 245 urban-related projects worldwide. For this purpose financial resources of over three billion euros are being used in 64 countries.

Upcoming events and documentations


Get an overview of relevant upcoming and past events on sustainable urban development, circular economy and sustainable mobility.

World Urban Forum

The world’s largest conference on sustainable urban development offers stakeholders the opportunity for exchange at an international level. Within the German Federal Government, the BMZ is in charge of the thematic area of international urban development and is therefore responsible for the German Pavilion’s appearance and activities including its own event programme.

Urban October at GIZ

Every year in October, UN-Habitat calls on partner organisations to organise events on the topic of sustainable urban development in order to address its relevance in the public sphere. The BMZ is following the call in the framework of the Urban October organised by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH).