Promoting sustainable urban development in intermediate cities

Project description

Title: Sustainable Intermediate Cities II
Commissoned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ecuador
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Urban Development and Housing of Ecuador (MIDUVI)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2021 to 2024

View of the town of Loja at night.


Ecuador is one of the countries with the fastest urban growth in South America. This applies to the capital Quito but it is especially true of the intermediate cities. The rapid urban growth often brings with it social inequality, consumption of resources and greenhouse gas emissions.

Ecuador has created a policy framework to steer growth in an orderly way. The initiatives include the first public urban policy, Ecuador’s 2036 agenda for sustainable urban development (Agenda Habitat Sostenible del Ecuador 2036, AHSE 2036), the first agenda for applied urban research and the national climate funding strategy.

At present, many towns are not in a position to receive loans for climate projects. If they are going to achieve this, they must adapt their projects more closely to the donor’s criteria and align their local policies to the national AHSE 2036 strategy.

Various actors analyse the challenges and progress associated with urban development.


National and local government institutions implement the national AHSE 2036 urban development policy and appropriate contributions to quantifiably mitigate climate change in urban areas.


The project helps national and local government to obtain more green funding. In addition to this, the project is also active in six pilot towns where it encourages an exchange of knowledge between towns on tried-and-tested processes. Furthermore, the project is setting up a system to measure the progress of AHSE 2036 and national climate protection objectives.

The project operates in three fields of activity to achieve this.

  1. It promotes cooperation between towns in the context of national urban development policy. The project also mobilises climate finance to revive the economy (green recovery).
  2. Six selected urban laboratories are advised by the project on how to plan local investment projects and finance and implement specific measures.
  3. The exchange between cities and local and national actors generates knowledge on sustainable urban development and climate protection. This initiative puts urban laboratories in a better position to implement national urban development policy in a climate friendly way.
A group of residents in the town of Ambato enjoy the pilot cycle way

Last update: July 2022

Additional information