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Urban development

Urban development: an important field of German development policy activity

Pedestrians in a slum area in India

Forward-looking urban development is key to reaching the global climate protection targets and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. That is why it is an important field of German development policy activity. Urban development projects with a total volume of some 15 billion euros (Technical and Financial cooperation) are currently being carried out in over 50 countries.

Development policy helps to set out more precisely the dimensions of the internationally agreed goals that are significant for cities and to devise ways in which the goals can be attained. From Germany’s perspective, three core tasks are particularly important:

  • Recognising and empowering cities as development actors
  • Creating decent urban environments for people to live in
  • Realising integrated urban development

The aim of German development policy in the field of urban development is to make a lasting improvement to the lives of the urban poor and to enable citizens to participate in political and economic life. Negative ecological impacts of urban growth should be limited, the natural foundations of cities and their surrounding areas preserved and the potential offered by settlements – especially of cities – in terms of land development needs to be harnessed.

Cities provide space in which to live, work and do business. Political decisions and social changes become visible and concrete for people in urban centres. Here the interests of a range of actors collide in a relatively confined space and have to be reconciled. City councils are called on to promote peaceful coexistence, to guarantee basic social services and to take transparent political and financial decisions.

German development cooperation supports its partners in developing countries in tackling the considerable challenges that result from rapid urban growth. The aim is to create cities that are worth living in, which can provide people with diverse opportunities for shaping development. Current urbanisation and the associated socioeconomic changes cannot be mortgaged against future generations, but should provide them with opportunities. All citizens must have equal access to infrastructure, services and housing. At the same time, resource consumption needs to be reduced and irreversible environmental and climate damage avoided.

German development cooperation thus addresses the following fields of activity:

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