Sustainable urbanisation

China – the Yuzhong peninsula in Chongqing

China – the Yuzhong peninsula in Chongqing, © picture alliance / Photoshot


With its guidelines on international cooperation in the interests of sustainable urbanisation, the Federal Government intends to make a tangible contribution to tackling the major challenges of urbanisation, such as in the context of global warming.

Urbanisation as a megatrend

The 21st century is often dubbed the century of the city. More than half of the world’s population currently live in cities or in urban areas, and this trend looks set to continue. According to estimates, 75% of the world’s population or around seven billion people will live in cities by 2050. Worldwide population growth will primarily occur in cities, although this increase will take place almost exclusively in emerging economies and developing countries. All over the world, it is therefore in cities that questions of economic and social development, governability, security, political participation and sustainability will be decided.

Supplying this rapidly growing number of people with housing space, water, food and energy, as well as access to sources of income, education, healthcare and transport, is posing great challenges for the international community. At the same time, we must protect global public goods and preserve public security and stability. While cities are a significant contributor to global climate change, they offer enormous potential for effective climate protection measures.


The way in which we approach the opportunities and challenges of urbanisation has a direct impact on the realisation of the global sustainable development goals, as well as direct and indirect consequences for Germany.

The Federal Government intends to make a tangible contribution to mastering the major challenges of urbanisation and to actively contribute to sustainable global development, the promotion of peace and security and the application of human rights by, for example:

•Establishing and expanding bilateral urbanisation partnerships;
•Promoting the realisation of climate and sustainability goals; and
•Implementing the New Urban Agenda adopted by the United Nations in 2016, as well as a wide range of other activities.

At the Federal Foreign Office, Diplomacy for Sustainability is about finding new partners as we pursue both the 2030 Agenda and global sustainable development. The only way for us to solve global problems is by working together.

(Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in his message for Heidelberg University’s Sustainable Development in Action conference)

If sustainable solutions for designing urban spaces are found, then Germany stands to benefit. German expertise is a prominent feature in all areas relating to urbanisation, and is increasingly in demand among our partners. German businesses, politicians and academics can play their part in shaping the tremendous process of urbanisation in the world.

What is Germany doing?

In order to help German partners outside the Federal Government keep abreast of the federal ministries’ international activities in the area of urbanisation, we offer information on selected international activities undertaken by the German Government in the area of international urbanisation.

Selected activities pursued by the Federal Government

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

Urban development

Cities and climate

Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW)

Connective Cities

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

GreenTech made in Germany

International Climate Initiative/urban development

Federal Ministry of the Interior

Smart Cities dialogue platform (in German)

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

City of the Future strategic research agenda (in German)

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Food security in the age of urbanisation: Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

Federal Government report on the development of rural regions

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Export initiatives

Further links

GIZ Urbanet


Flagship Report by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) “Humanity on the move: Unlocking the transformative power of cities”

Smart City Charta

Overall report by the interministerial working group on “Sustainable urban development from a national and international perspective” (IMA Stadt) (in German)

Partner in a World of Cities - Policy Guidelines of the German Federal Government on International Cooperation for Sustainable Urbanisation


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