National Agenda for Sustainable Urban Development

Project description

Title: Support for the National Agenda for Sustainable Urban Development in Brazil
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Regional Development (MDR)
Overall term: 2017 to 2022


Brazil has undergone a rapid process of urbanisation in recent years. Data from the latest census of 2010 indicates that the degree of urbanisation is almost 85 percent. Cities account for the majority of economic value added.

The growth of cities and metropolitan regions – both in terms of population numbers and size – is posing a serious challenge to their administrative and planning structures. The result is inadequate and extremely unevenly distributed provision of basic technical and social infrastructure. The lack of municipal services, such as public transport or a functioning waste disposal system, has produced severe social inequalities and environmental problems. Informal settlements (favelas) have formed, often in high-risk areas such as hillsides or flood-prone locations.

Despite individual planning strategies, legislation and instruments that can be considered progressive by international comparison, urban planning and urban development in Brazil do not yet meet the criteria of sustainability. The reasons for this include weak planning and implementation capacity within the local authorities responsible for urban planning and development, and a lack of coordination mechanisms.

The central challenge at national level is to optimise the rules and regulations and implementation instruments to achieve more socially balanced urban development that conserves land and resources and is also climate-friendly. At present these rules, regulations and instruments are incomplete, to some extent incoherent and little suited to practical application. Responsibilities within the ministries are distributed across different departments. Mechanisms for cooperation within and across national ministries, and between the federal government, the states and the cities and local authorities are poorly developed.



Actors at federal, state and local level use coordinated sustainable urban development approaches that take climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies into account.


The project provides support for the implementation of coordinated strategies for integrated planning and management of sustainable urban development. It also advises on taking the challenges posed by climate change and the connections between cities and their surrounding area into account. Rules and regulations, instruments and orientation texts are being improved and expanded, and – where necessary – new ones introduced and piloted.

Integrated sustainable urban development approaches are included in public policies, funding programmes and funding lines. The implementation of training and dissemination strategies facilitates the use of these approaches in local and regional authorities.

The project promotes international learning and exchange processes through the Brazilian-German urbanisation partnership. This includes processes to implement the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.

Other Languages


Further information