The Forum

What is the UCLG Forum on International Cities?

The UCLG Forum on Intermediary Cities is a consultation and policy development process that culminates in an event every two years.


Chair : Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen

Technical Secretariat : Firdaous Oussidhoum : [email protected]

Intermediary Cities in the World, 2016

Intermediary cities are cities with a population between 50.000 and one million people that generally play a primary role in connecting important rural and urban areas to basic facilities and services. Intermediary cities are home to 20% of the world´s population and one third of the total urban population.

Because of their scale, intermediary cities can guarantee and provide basic housing needs to their citizenship more efficiently and cheaply than metropolitan areas. 

Their crucial role in the achievement of an "inclusive, safe and resilient urbanism" (SDG 11), and in the development of more balanced and sustainable urban systems, means that intermediary cities need to become more prominent in the New Urban Agenda and its implementation. 

Agenda for Intermediary Cities 

  • Acknowledge the contribution of intermediary cities to the realization of the Agenda 2030 and the New Urban Agenda
  • Redefine national urban policies to support intermediary citiesin fostering balanced and inclusive urban and territorial development
  • Unlock intermediary cities´potential to take on fully their responsibility for urban management and development, thought a fair distribution of powers, finances and capacities
  • Capitalize on the proximity and human scale of intermediary cities by strengthening urban planning capacities and land management to prevent urban sprawl and reduce the urban footprint
  • Raise the national profile of intermediary cities by branding and promoting themselves as centres of innovation, intermediation, service provition, cultural heritage and prosperity
  • Fostering national development by encouraging closer cooperation between intermediary cities and their rural hinterlands, as well as inter-municipal partnerships
  • Develop ambitious local economic policies to créate new opportunities and overcome global and national economic challenges
  • Tackle global inequalities by developing social policies that ensure affordable Access to basic services, health and education
  • Reduce the urban environmental footprint to fight environmental degradation, climate change, and the threat of natural disasters
  • Ensure access and participation in culture and cultural life for all
  • Adopt the Right to the City

Activities 2018

The Forum is structured around a central node of cities, which are the pilot cities in each continent or region. These pilot cities become local network relays, which has a multiplier effect on the strength of the network.

Although the Forum already has a list of cities in its network, which benefits from upstream work, these Regional Forums also help to strengthen this existing network by keeping it active.

In addition, the pilot cities are asked to rely on the support of the regional sections of UCLG for holding the Regional Forums. This helps to publicize, mobilize and support a network that is different than the one that may exist at the Forum level, the aim of which is to reach as many cities, local and national governments as possible for vertical dialogue.

Furthermore, in each of these regions specific processes for Intermediary Cities are launched following the Regional Forums; for example, UCLG-MEWA is developing a specific task force for Intermediary Cities and specific institutional policies.


As part of the preparation for the Intermediary Cities World Forum, the 2018 programme includes the implementation of the strategy for preparing the Forum. Regional Forums have been organized in Europe, Africa, the MEWA region, Latin America and Asia


With regard to advocacy, the message focuses on the implementation of the SDGs and the Global Agendas in Intermediary Cities, and their monitoring on a global scale.

Are there any national policies on financing, application and implementation? What type of vertical dialogue is necessary for building policies, and which international institutions can create genuine global momentum on this issue?

What can be done to advocate for actual implementation of the SDGs and the Global Agendas in Intermediary cities too, both at citizen and local government level?

Monitoring and Evaluation

UCLG is provided with a monthly report on progress in implementing this preparation strategy. The Regional Forums result in scientific and policy reports, which will be used to develop the material for the World Forum. The next Forums will also provide an opportunity to implement this strategy.


Each Regional Forum is an opportunity to raise awareness on the SDGs at the regional level: mayors, city council officials, students and other participants are made aware of the message of global sustainability reflected in the Global Agendas. Furthermore, these Forums become opportunities to see how each region develops (or does not develop) implementation policies, at the different levels of government, and how the exchanges between them become a learning framework.

In another way, the I-Cities Forum created a specific monitoring tool, which was shared with city governments as part of training in the SDGs and the Global Agendas. This training was conducted as part of a process of participatory training and awareness-raising among municipal representatives, civil society, officials and other external services under the responsibility of the national government.

This training on monitoring and raising awareness about the global agendas was provided in the city of Chefchaouen, and it is planned for other cities following the Regional Forums.

UCLG Learning launched this tool, the aim of which is to map cities’ actions (with respect to the SDGs and sustainability criteria) and monitor them, as an instrument and an experience that would be beneficial for all types of cities.

For I-Cities, this tool is a step in the implementation of the I-Cities 2030 programme, which is aimed at giving Intermediary Cities the chance to create a vision of their city with the incorporation of the Global Agendas for the period to 2030.

Intermediary Cities in the World, 2021

Consultations held in May 2021 adopted key takeaways, allowing to find a common ground between all of them: recommendations focusing on Citizenship, and recommendations focusing on policies and actions to be taken. The consultations observed the five key capitals of resilience, namely Social, Environmental, Cultural, Rural and Economic.