Economic Resilience

For cities to withstand shocks and move towards sustainable economic growth

Building Economic Resilience can
help us
Cities generate more than 80% of the global GDP.
World Bank

What is urban economic resilience?

The capacity and related capabilities of urban communities to plan for, anticipate negative shocks, including long-term stresses, to their economies, reallocate and mobilize resources to withstand those shocks, recover from the shocks, and rebuild at least to pre-crisis levels, while placing their economies on the path to sustainable economic growth and simultaneously strengthening their capacity to deal with any future shocks.
UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) 2021

Why urban economic resilience?

Recent global shocks evidence the multidimensional impact of risks, underlining the need to prepare and strengthen urban systems for faster response and recovery.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Is having a significant impact on the global economy, causing a further setback to urban economies around the world.
More than 6 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries (UN May 2022). Before the war, cities hosted 60% of refugees and up to 80% of internally displaced people.
— World Bank, 2021
Rising food and oil prices could drive inflation even higher in Latin America & the Caribbean, exacerbating poverty and hunger—food represents a quarter of the average consumption basket of a household.
— World Economic Forum, 2022
In Africa, shortages of grain and fertiliser caused by the war, global warming and supply chain issues compound the precarious situation of millions of people in poverty (HRW 2022). And threatens the food security of tens of millions of people.
— United Nations 2022

COVID-19 pandemic

The effects of the pandemic lockdowns push back the economic progress of cities around the world.
Local governments might lose 15-25% in revenues in 2021. COVID-19 forced many cities to use their budget reserves, leaving some without adequate resources to deliver services, execute projects, or improve slums.
— World Bank, 2021
Female job loss rates due to COVID-19 are about 1.8 times higher than male job loss rates globally (UNHabitat 2021). 58% of employed women work in the informal sector, lacking social protection - the pandemic has forced them to choose between economic security and their health.
— UN Women, 2021
1.2 billion people in the global South currently live in informal settlements and slums and have long struggled to prevent disease transmissions. COVID-19 adds up to the challenging reality (ECOSOC2022). Globally, an estimated 70 per cent of households now live with precarious tenure.
— UN-Habitat 2021

Urban economic resilience around the world

Local governments worldwide are taking action to build urban economic resilience. Bringing solutions to scale requires coordinated support from all levels of government and adequate governance structures.
Barcelona is constantly improving the quality of public spaces, using them as drivers to integrate local economic actors and foster responsible and circular consumption.


Teresina will improve access to markets and employment opportunities with a comprehensive study that seeks a deep understanding of the informal economic sector.


Tunis is paving the way for entrepreneurs to participate in the governance of the territory aiming to increase trust in the institutions and economic stability after recent political changes and social unrest.



Resilience knowledge enhancer

Self-paced capacity building learning modules.

We have developed a course to help urban practitioners enhance urban economic resilience in cities. Build knowledge and skills on urban economic resilience performance and diagnostic, and explore ways to mainstream resilience building in cities through recovery and rebuilding actions and plans, with this 3 modules course.
Start learning

Module 1

Understanding Urban Economic Resilience Concepts and the impact of COVID-19 in cities

Module 2

Exploring the Urban Economic Resilience Diagnostic and Planning Tool (DPT)

Module 3

Mainstreaming Resilience through Economic Resilience Building Plans (ERBP)

for recovery

Building urban economic resilience during and after COVID-19

Urban economies have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis -a key area in assisting cities not only in their recovery from this crisis but also in promoting sustainable development. In the midst of the pandemic, the five UN Regional Economic Commissions, UN-Habitat and UNCDF united forces to support the local governments of 16 cities, enabling them to respond and recover stronger.
Discover more
Resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and financial instruments to mitigate risks are crucial tools as cities seek to adapt and protect the lives and livelihoods of their residents.
Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General
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