As the UN focal point for sustainable urbanization and human settlements, UN-Habitat has been designated as a custodian agency for 9 of the 15 indicators under SDG 11, and supports the monitoring and reporting of 4 indicators in other goals.
As such, the Agency is leading the methodological developments of guides and tools for the urban-related SDG indicators and targets, as well as working with other UN agencies and various stakeholders to strengthen the capacity of countries and cities to efficiently monitor and report on these indicators.
Specifically, since 2016, UN-Habitat and other custodian agencies in collaboration with various stakeholders developed new and relevant guides, materials and refined urban concepts and definitions, but also supported Member States to set up the required monitoring systems for Goal 11 and other urban SDGs, creating the conditions for producing and using urban data for policy-making and informing transformative actions. These guides and materials include a global framework for monitoring human settlements indicators, a technical note on the national sample of cities methodology, a guide on setting up urban observatories, a technical note on the City Prosperity Index, as well as nine training modules on SDG 11 Indicators . These tools are now being used as training materials for the country-level and regional workshops on Human Settlement Indicators.
Equally important is the significant progress being made in the harmonization of urban data production for better comparability. Wide consultations between UN-Habitat and other partners were conducted to adopt a standalone functional definition of cities and urban areas to enable countries to better compare and aggregate data in a consistent manner. UN-Habitat has also developed the National Sample of Cities approach to ensure a systemic reporting, higher comparability within and among countries, and to enable the aggregation of regional values. In parallel, the agency is now finalizing the NUA indicators framework which will be used to track progress for implementation of the NUA among member states.
Significant progress has been made in the development of national capacities to collect, analyze, and use urban data for monitoring progress in the implementation of the urban SDGs. Since 2016, 26 capacity development workshops have been organized with nearly 1000+ participants drawn from over 50 countries where national statistical offices, local and national governments, civil society, academia, public and private institutions, and representatives from special groups such as youth, women and persons with disabilities were trained.
Specifically, UN-Habitat and partners have jointly conducted a number of regional and international workshops, including: an international workshop on human settlements indicators linked to SDGs in Naivasha, Kenya, in February 2017 (93 participants from 31 countries), a regional workshop on human settlements indicators for Africa organized with ECA in December 2017 (38 participants from 11 countries), a regional workshop on human settlements indicators for Asia Pacific countries organized with ESCAP in March 2018 (46 participants from 14 countries), a regional workshop for Arab States organized with ESCWA in July 2018 (32 participants from 11 countries), an international workshop on human settlements statistics in Kuala Lumpur, in February 2018 as part of the World Urban Forum (85 participants from 27 countries), and 5 regional workshops on global city definitions in October and November 2018, January, March and June 2019 (about 160 participants from about 70 countries ) .
At the local level, UN-Habitat has been supporting a few city authorities and local development partners to put in place strategies to localize the monitoring of SDGs and NUA, including aligning plans, setting up inclusive monitoring partnerships and deploying SDG urban tools to better articulate data and policies. For example, as part of a development account project on urban SDGs, UN-Habitat, ECA and ECLAC have reinforced national and city level capacities of urban monitoring in Botswana and Tunisia in Africa; Ecuador and Colombia in Latin America and the Caribbean, enabling the 4 countries to serve as centers of learning for many other countries across Africa and beyond, in addition to enhancing their own internal systems of reporting on the progress on spatially-dependent urban SDGs indicators and the NUA.