The Cities Alliance is a global partnership that supports cities in developing countries to enhance sustainable development and reduce poverty. It provides grants for projects that improve urban development policies in developing countries, promote citizen engagement in urban governance and strengthen the capacity of cities to provide citywide services, especially to the urban poor. The partnership was co-founded in 1999 by the World Bank and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).
Members of the Cities Alliance include European and other donors, international organizations representing local authorities, multilateral and bilateral development organizations, developing country governments and non-governmental organizations. Since its founding, the partnership has been supported by the World Bank, including through a secretariat based in Washington, D.C. The secretariat will relocate to the UNOPS office in Brussels later this year.
Following a partnership-driven selection process, the Cities Alliance members selected UNOPS as secretariat, trustee and implementing partner, a hosting role that will begin once the partnership relocates to Brussels. In this role, UNOPS will provide human resources and financial management services.
The Cities Alliance has played a catalytic role in promoting the importance of long-term, strategic planning for cities, as well as citywide and national approaches to slum upgrading. In its activities, the Cities Alliance promotes partnerships between its members, and between the urban poor, local governments and the private sector.