With our vision of cities with a high quality of life for everyone in mind, we continue to work together with partner countries on the sustainable development of our key urban sectors: construction, mobility, water, as well as waste and circular economy.

In doing so, we follow the principle of “leave no one behind” and “leave no place behind”: no person, no neighbourhood in a city and no place worldwide should be left behind. Everyone should participate in a Just Transition. We are building on previous successes – check out our initiatives and those of our partners here.  

Localising Global Agendas

City WORKS is a web-based toolkit designed to support the implementation of global agendas at the local level. The process-oriented approach including 3 phases and 8 associated steps helps cities to prepare, plan and implement actions. The tools linked to the steps are designed to be easily integrated into typical planning cycles.
True to the motto of leaving no one and no place behind, City WORKS actively involves all relevant stakeholders within a city and provides a global community for exchange. In this way, City WORKS is a compass for advisors and cities to address urban challenges and align local action with global agendas.


City Climate Finance Gap Fund

BMZ builds enabling environments for financing sustainable urban development. This includes political reform processes for fiscal decentralisation, strengthening local financial management and supporting project preparation, for examples through the Cities Climate Finance Gap Fund: In an environment where resources and expertise are limited, the Gap Fund supports cities and municipalities in developing and prioritising climate-friendly plans and investments with the aim of mobilising more funding and support for implementation.

The Gap Fund is aiming for a minimum of 100 million Euros in total funding. This is expected to mobilise more than 4 billion Euros in investments for urban climate action. BMZ contributes to the Gap Fund, that is implemented by the World Bank Group and the European Investment Bank together with GIZ.

C40 Cities Finance Facility

The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) works with partners to help cities in the Global South develop financing solutions for finance-ready infrastructure projects that contribute to a green and equitable transformation. Throughout the project preparation process, the CFF aims to strengthen project preparation capacity in city administrations so that partner cities can independently scale up and replicate successfully financed projects.

By 2025, this will leverage over USD 1 billion in funding and save over 2.5 million tonnes of CO2. Facilitating upscaling and the replication of projects supports cities to fulfil their critical role in implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving the SDGs at the local level. The lessons learnt and experiences CFF shares are shared with city governments, practitioners and policy makers to promote global systemic change in urban infrastructure.


In the Cities CHALLENGE ideas competition, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) tests on behalf of BMZ innovative solutions for sustainable urban planning and building. Two Cities CHALLENGES were launched: In 2019 under the slogan ‘2030 Agenda meets Urban Climate Action’ as well as 2022 with the goal of ‘Building vibrant and resilient Neighbourhoods’. In each edition, four so-called Urban Living Labs were chosen from more than 30 contestants.

Urban Living Labs are small-scale interventions with an originally estimated budget of about 100,000 Euros at neighbourhood level in the context of multi-actor partnerships to achieve global agendas and development goals. They contribute to the creation of climate-adapted, connected, and liveable neighbourhoods in their cities. The Cities CHALLENGE 2.0 is implemented with cooperative support of the Cities Alliance and UN-Habitat.

Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative

With the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), BMZ is supporting climate-friendly, inclusive, safe and affordable mobility in cities. TUMI’s visions are thriving cities with enhanced economic, social and environmental performances in line with the New Urban Agenda, the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement. Since its launch in 2016, BMZ, together with 10 partner organisations, has provided 3.4 billion euros to finance sustainable mobility systems through TUMI. More than 28.6 million people are expected to use the improved transport systems every day. This will save around 1.88 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

PREVENT Waste Alliance

Together for a circular economy

As a ‘think and do tank’ for circular economy, the PREVENT Waste Alliance brings together organisations from the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions worldwide. The alliance aims to advance the circular economy in low- and middle-income countries by minimising waste, eliminating pollutants and maximising the reuse of resources in the economy. Members exchange knowledge in thematic working groups on plastics, electrical and electronic equipment and organic waste. To date, eight pilot projects and three innovation programmes have been implemented in over 20 countries. The PREVENT Waste Alliance was launched in 2019 by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Cities Alliance

Cities Without Slums (CA) is a global partnership and multi-actor network to reduce urban poverty and promote the role of cities in sustainable development. It was founded in 1999 with German support by the World Bank, UN-Habitat and 10 nation states in the presence of Nelson Mandela in Berlin. Currently, the BMZ, along with SIDA (Sweden) and SECO (Switzerland), is actively involved in the global programme on climate change, resilience and informality. Furthermore, GIZ is actively involved on behalf of BMZ in setting up the Global Programme on Informality, which has strong cross-references to sustainable housing/building and urban planning.


As the official focal point of the UN system for urban development, UN-Habitat is mandated to guide the development discourse through normative initiatives, implement innovative projects in member countries and coordinate the work of UN agencies in the field of sustainable urban development and urbanisation.

Within the German government, the BMZ is the lead ministry for cooperation with UN-Habitat in coordination with the federal ministries BMWK, BMWSB and AA.


Local Governments for Sustainability is a global association of more than 2500 cities, municipalities and counties in over 125 countries committed to sustainable development. The ICLEI Strategy 2018-2024 primarily addresses the fields of action low emissions, circular economy, nature-based solutions, resilience and inclusion, which put the people in the cities at the centre. ICLEI is a BMZ grantee with continuous technical and strategic cooperation.

UN environment programme

BMZ promotes innovations in the field of sustainable construction the IKU project ‘Transforming the Built Environment through sustainable materials’, implemented by UNEP and the Sustainable Building and Construction Programme (SBC), aims to support the partner countries Bangladesh, India, Ghana and Senegal in promoting the circular economy in the construction sector.

The United Nations Innovation Technology Accelerator for Cities

The United Nations Innovation Technology Accelerator for Cities (UNITAC) in Hamburg is a collaboration between HafenCity University Hamburg and UN-Habitat, supported by the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (UN-OICT).

The aim of the new laboratory at HafenCity University is to develop and test innovative and technological solutions to address urban challenges. The lab was established in Nairobi on 6 October 2020 by the Federal Republic of Germany and UN-Habitat.

Since November 2022, the BMZ has been financing the UNITAC project “Just Transition in Vulnerable Places” through IKU funds.

Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance

BMZ supports cooperation within urban climate finance community, through the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA): CCFLA is the only global alliance that promotes collaboration, exchange and ongoing dialogue on subnational climate finance. By 2030, it aims to help significantly scale up investments in low-carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure in cities. To address existing gaps in climate finance, CCFLA provides a platform for these actors to facilitate coordination and collaboration. The Alliance therefore unites over members consisting of states, city networks, financial institutions, and other actors such as OECD, UN Habitat, GCF, GIZ and GIF. As one of the core donors of the Secretariat, Germany (BMU and BMZ) is represented on the Alliance’s Steering Committee. Further, CCFLA was selected to host the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment (LUCI) initiative, an umbrella initiative that has set ambitious investment targets for urban infrastructure projects.

Urban Innovation made in Africa

Sustainable Planning and Construction

“Urban Innovation made in Africa” is a project implemented by GIZ on behalf of BMZ, focusing on integrated approaches to sustainable, climate-friendly, and pro-poor urban planning and construction. In Germany, the project supports the departmental dialogue between the development (BMZ), climate (BMWK) and urban (BMWSB) ministries. In the BMZ partner country Rwanda it establishes an Urban Lab, testing innovative ideas for sustainable planning and construction. Both measures are linked through the implementation of a Peer-to Peer Learning fostering cross-country, -sectoral and -departmental exchange between urban stakeholders on a global scale.

Resilient Cities Action Package 2021

For the Resilient Cities Action Package 2021 (ReCAP21), GIZ’s sector programme cities joined a partnership with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) and the Cities Alliance (CA). The aim of the programme was to support selected cities in Rwanda, Bangladesh and Mauritania in recovering from the pandemic while strengthening the cities’ resilience in the long term. To achieve this goal, the three partners combined their approaches and methods in a Resilient Recovery Guide to develop common frameworks and approaches for resilient recovery that will help prepare cities to better cope with future crises.