The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. The main roles and responsibilities of UNHABITAT derive from the Habitat Agenda, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1996. Thereafter, the UN General Assembly mandated UN-Habitat with overall responsibility for the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The Habitat Agenda comprises two main goals: adequate shelter for all, and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanizing world.

Selected TCB programmes and initiatives in this guide

Lake Victoria Local Economic Development Initiative (LV-LED)
Successful projects

Over the years, UN-HABITAT has taken concrete steps to launch various programmes and initiatives to promote and implement this approach. For example, in cooperation with UNDP and the Government of Nepal, UN-HABITAT has implemented the Rural-Urban Partnership Programme (RUPP), which aimed to strengthen rural-urban development linkages in Nepal. RUPP addressed not only the physical and spatial aspects of development, but also its key socio-economic dimensions. Similarly, with financial support from UNDP, UN-HABITAT has implemented the Poverty Alleviation through Rural-Urban Linkages (PARUL) project in Indonesia. This project adopted several strategies to strengthen rural-urban linkages, including the promotion of public-private partnerships and improved market access for small scale producers through collaboration with large scale enterprises.

Building on this past work, the Urban Economy Branch of UN-HABITAT has recently set up a Rural-Urban Linkages Support Programme (RULSUP) to promote the incorporation of the rural-urban linkages approach into regional and national development strategies. RULSUP will initially focus on strengthening rural- urban development linkages in eastern Africa. Similar initiatives for other developing country regions will be considered in the future.


The Lake Victoria Local Economic Development Initiative (LV-LED), recently completed project: UN-HABITAT, FAO, IFAD, WFP, ILO, UNIDO and the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC).