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 (Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda del Ecuador, MIDUVI)
Overall term: 2021 to 2024

View of the town of Loja at night.


Ecuador is one of the most rapidly urbanising countries in South America. This is true not only of the capital Quito, but also of intermediate cities in particular. In many places, this rapid urban growth has led to social inequality, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Ecuador has created a policy framework to steer growth in an orderly way. The initiatives include the first urban policy, Ecuador’s Sustainable Habitat Agenda 2036 (Agenda Hábitat Sostenible del Ecuador, AHSE 2036), the first Agenda for Applied Urban Research (AIUA) and the National Strategy for Climate Finance (EFIC).

Significant progress has been made under the project in the urban laboratories of Ambato, Cuenca, Lago Agrio, Latacunga, Loja and Portoviejo in areas such as mobility, urban green planning, risk management, urban food security and economic reactivation. To further implement AHSE 2036, cities need to align their actions more closely with national targets, develop future-proof projects and hence improve their access to climate finance.

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


National and local government institutions implement measurable contributions to the Sustainable Habitat Agenda 2036 of Ecuador as well as city-relevant contributions to climate change.


The programme supports the national and local governments in accessing more climate finance. Furthermore, it is working in six pilot cities to promote the exchange of best practices among cities. In addition, the project is setting up a system to measure progress made towards achieving AHSE 2036 and the national climate targets.

The project operates in three fields of activity:

  1. It promotes cooperation between cities on national urban development policy. It also mobilises climate financing for economic recovery (green recovery).
  2. The project advises six selected urban laboratories on developing local investment projects and on financing and implementing specific measures (Ambato, Cuenca, Lago Agrio, Loja, Latacunga, Portoviejo).
  3. Knowledge on sustainable urban development and climate protection is generated through exchange between cities as well as local and national actors. As a result, the urban laboratories are in a better position to implement the national urban development policy in a climate-responsible way.
Urban structures built to improve public space and social interaction

Last update: November 2022

Additional information