Support to the National Agenda for Sustainable Urban Development in Brazil

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) and Ministry of the Environment (MMA)
Overall term: 2017 to 2022


In recent years, Brazil has undergone rapid urbanisation. As shown in the latest 2010 census, the degree of urbanisation has reached 85 per cent, making cities accountable for the largest part of economic activity. More than 50 per cent of the population live in the 83 metropolitan areas and urban agglomerations in Brazil. In contrast, around 85 per cent of the 5,570 municipalities have less than 100,000 inhabitants. Currently, the highest urban growth rates are concentrated in medium and small cities.

The growth of cities, in number and size, has challenged the administrative and planning structures of municipalities and metropolitan areas. This leads to poorly distributed and inadequate technical infrastructure within the transport, sanitation, and solid waste sectors, as well as a lack of public and community facilities, which contributes to social disparity and environmental issues. Informal settlements (favelas) are often located in hazardous areas, such as flood-prone areas and hillsides. There are about 45 million people living in these locations within cities. Over the last years, extreme events became more frequent due to climate change and high degradation of natural resources. Due to this, impacts such as floods, landslides, and lack of water during drought have escalated in practically every urban area in the country.

The main challenge at the national level is to improve urban planning and management tools, including urban regulation. This challenge should address the sustainable use of natural resources and spaces adapted to climate change processes and ensure ecosystem services for municipalities, as existing regulations are incomplete, partially inconsistent, and poorly operational. Furthermore, the attributions are currently dispersed in several ministerial departments. Intraministerial and interministerial cooperation mechanisms, as well as the cooperation between the federal government, states, municipalities and local authorities, need to be further developed.



The implementation of coordinated strategies for sustainable urban development, including strategies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, in the federal, state, and municipal levels have been strengthened.


The project aims to provide support for the implementation of strategies for sustainable urban development in the federal, state, and municipal levels. The mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the inter-relations with the surroundings of cities and the importance of ecosystems as ‘service providers’ for cities will be considered.

The existing regulations and tools will be improved, expanded and tested by means of pilot projects. Sustainable urban development approaches will be integrated into public policies and sectoral programs for cities. Training and dissemination activities will enable their application by municipalities and other institutional actors. The German-Brazilian Urbanisation Partnership will allow support for international learning and exchange processes, fostering the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the achievement of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

Therefore, in the medium term, Brazilian cities will be able to meet sustainability and climate change criteria, strengthening their leading role in mitigation and adaptation.

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