City managers play a critical role in ensuring that urban areas are able to function sustainably. Since resources are finite, addressing environmental issues insufficiently has severe consequences: health hazards, loss of biodiversity, and ultimately, a lower quality of life. The poorest cities and the weakest strata of the urban population are likely to suffer the most from those impacts.
A few cities are able to maximise benefits to their residents while reducing the impact on the environment. The majority, however, face a growing challenge to effectively govern, plan, develop infrastructure and support the rapidly growing population and urbanization of their communities.
UNEP recognizes that integrated planning is an ideal entry point to ensure environmentally sensitive urban development. In collaboration with Cities Alliance and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), UNEP is developing a common approach to better integrate environmental concerns in strategic planning at city level. The approach draws from experiences of cities in different continents as well as inputs from international organizations and reputable research institutions. It is designed to help cities, particularly those in developing countries, to set up a more sustainable city infrastructure through better long term planning.