Data Analytics

The New Urban Agenda Monitoring Framework

The New Urban Agenda Monitoring Framework is essential for tracking progress, assessing impact and assessing whether the New Urban Agenda’s implementation is on track and well executed. It also allows the residents of a city or country to hold local and central governments accountable for implementation of the New Urban Agenda (NUA § 161).

NUA Monitoring Framework
The Monitoring Framework is based on Guidelines for Reporting on the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda and will ensure comparability among cities and countries in the way NUA is monitored.

The New Urban Agenda recognizes the effective linkages and synergies between monitoring of itself and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure coherence in their implementation (NUA § 164). Nearly 40% of the SDGs family indicators are part of the core indicators proposed for of the NUA Monitoring Framework. Hence, NUA monitoring will contribute directly to SDG monitoring and vice versa.

Local and central governments will be in position to provide comparable indicator data for monitoring NUA for the Secretary General’s quadrennial report on progress on implementation of NUA (NUA §127, 128,129) to the General Assembly.

This Monitoring Framework lays the groundwork for comparable indicator data to be used in the 2022 Quadrennial Reports and forthcoming reports, as well as for Member States and cities’ own policy formulation as well as maintaining coherence with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

SDG 11 Indicators


Countries Involved




Urban Areas Covered
SDG 11 Progress Report
UNDESA SDG Indicators
Urban Indicators Database

Indicators For Monitoring the New Urban Agenda

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Practical initiatives, tools and methodologies include

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, 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 also finalized the Global urban monitoring framework and the standalone NUA indicators framework which will all 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, 49 capacity development workshops have been organized with nearly 1500+ participants drawn from over 80 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 ), and 17 country-based workshops to roll-out the application of the global cities definition.

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. Similar support to 6 countries to facilitate the production of land-related SDGs indicators has been concluded in Morocco, Iraq, Zambia, DRC, Uganda and Senegal.

To help find creative solutions to the urban information crisis, UN-Habitat developed the urban observatory model for urban data collection and analysis, in partnership with cities around the world. Urban observatories are well-positioned to address the frequently expressed need for reliable, high resolution urban datasets specific to the cities and immediate city-regions in which they operate. They assist in strengthening data capacities at national, sub-national, and local levels, providing platforms to facilitate effective knowledge exchange and promote evidence-based governance built on a shared knowledge base.

Over the years, UN-Habitat has been providing systematic guidance on setting up these observatories to many countries leading to the development of a global network of local, national and regional urban stations, the Global Urban Observatory Network (GUO-Net), a worldwide information and capacity-building network to help implement the New Urban Agenda at the national and local levels. DAU has conducted several regional workshops (Africa, Asia, Arab States, Latin America, etc.) to enhance the capacities of Local Urban observatories and share with them new tools and approaches that are suitable for global monitoring of NUA and SDGs targets.

This critical mass of urban observatories constitutes a very important asset for the monitoring and reporting of the international agendas such as the NUA and the SDGs as they lead the local level engagements on collecting, analyzing and interpretations of data for urban indicators through consultative and inclusive processes.

A Guide to Setting up an Urban Observatory
Learn more about what Global Urban Observations are doing

Many urban SDG indicators require data collection at the local/city level. This means that countries are compelled to define and identify the number of cities they have, collect data on all these cities and aggregate upwards the national level average performance of these city-specific indicators. For many countries, it is not possible to collect information and report on all their cities, and this is particularly true for those that have limited resources (financial, institutional, human and systems). For such countries, UN-Habitat recommends the application of the National Sample of Cities (NSC) approach which will allow them to systematically select a sample of representative cities from their territory to prepare more systematic national level reporting.
The NSC is a carefully constructed consistent sample of cities that considers sub-regional and city specific characteristics and variances to monitor the dominant pattern in the country’s cities in an aggregated manner in a given country, thereby helping measure national progress in a more systematic and scientific manner.

National Sample of Cities

A clear understanding of urban patterns and trends require use of Earth Observation and Geospatial Information (EO & GI) technologies, which are central to not only the production of data but also critical for translating multiple data into easy to understand products for decision makers and the public. Today, EO & GI technologies are no longer an optional consideration but a must in every data management strategy at all levels. Within the monitoring and reporting frameworks for global agendas such as the SDGs and the NUA, these technologies are deeply entrenched into the data needs, with at least seven (7) of SDG 11 indicators requiring some form of spatial data collection and analysis at local/urban level. These include indicators 11.2.1 on public transport; 11.3.1 on urbanization trends and urban land consumption patterns; 11.5.1 and 11.5.2 on disaster risk reduction; 11.6.1 and 11.6.2 on urban solid waste and air quality patterns; 11.7.1 on urban access to public space; and 11.b climate change and resilience. Computations required for these indicators can be attained through spatial analysis techniques using remote sensing and geographic information systems. In addition, these technologies are invaluable for understanding the spatial manifestation/ distribution of phenomena across all the 232 SDG indicators and helping in sustainable urbanization and development decision making processes. 

UN-Habitat’s initially developed the City Prosperity Index (CPI) is a practical and flexible framework developed for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of policies and practices on sustainable development to increase prosperity and sustainability of cities. The CPI was evaluated by many global partners and has now evolved into the Global Urban Monitoring framework (UMF). The UMF integrates indicators for urban SDGs to address, in a single framework, the environmental, social and economic components of city prosperity and sustainability. The UMF relies on 5 domains and 4 city objectives that are contextually specific and globally comparable The UMF allows for producing a global index, which is computed using city level data measures on how cities create and distribute socio-economic benefits and prosperity. The level of prosperity of a city is measured through the extent to which the city has achieved all these 5 domains and 4 city objectives of prosperity.

Since 2012, UN-Habitat has been working with various local, national governments and international organizations in the application of the CPI, but from 2022 the UMF will be rolled out as a single, harmonized monitoring framework for the global agendas. By 2022, UMF has been applied to evaluate urban performance in nearly 40 cities in 12 countries spread across all world regions, with most of these cities using the information generated for data-driven and informed decision-making processes. Countries using this tool are able identify, quantify, evaluate, monitor and report on progress made by cities in a more structured manner.

Global urban monitoring Framework: Methodology and Metadata