Despite global progress in fighting poverty there are problems of inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, conflict, migration and refugee flows. The need has never been greater to develop to balance prosperity with social well-being and environmental protection. Several international conferences in 2015 set out new global agendas to deal with these challenges. There is global recognition that local governments have a significant role in implementing the agreed agendas with other state and non-state organisations.

With the programme we contributed to improved the quality of life of the residents in the cities of Manila, Beira, Kumasi, Sèmè-Podji, Pereira and Pathein, working with the urban governments in the field of inclusiveness, resilience and sustainability, contributing to the following Sustainable Development Goals : “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11) and “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (SDG 16).

In each of the cities, the programme developed the governance capacity focussing on integrated, multi-level, multi-stakeholder and inclusive governance approaches. At the same time, the programme has contributed to learning and innovation to support sustainable transitions at local level.

In the Philippines, in the context of the formulation and implementation phase of the Manila Bay Sustainable development Master Plan, VNG International provided Technical Assistance to Manila Bay cities and municipalities on interlocal government cooperation for the construction of waste and water management infrastructure, resulting in a business case and feasability study for a composting side to manage green household waste.

In Ghana, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), the programme worked towards multi-stakeholder cooperations for the realisation of slum development, decongestion and circular economy.

In Myanmar, Pathein, the programme contributed to multi-stakeholder cooperation, governmental and non-governmental initiatives at neighbourhood level to prevent flooding and organise waste management and recycling.

In Colombia, Pereira, the programme contribited to the formalisation process of informal solid waste pickers, recycling and multi-stakeholder cooperation on Circular Economy and waste management.

In Mozambique, Beira, the programme contributed to improved land administration and improved own-source tax revenues for climate resilient urban development investments.

In Benin, Sèmè-Podji, the programme strengthened multi-stakeholder cooperation for a sustainable and inclusive environmental management system in the Agblangandan arrondissement, to help address the challenge of urbanisation and waste management and the prevention of flooding.

Inspired by the City Deals concept as part of the Urban Agenda in The Netherlands, multi-stakeholder and multi-sector agreements have proofed to unite cities, central governments, businesses and civil society organisations elsewhere also in innovative arrangements to tackle urban challenges, such as the mitigating and adapting to climate change.