Since 1995, the Urban Indicators Programme has worked on the production of the Global Urban Indicators Database. It has collected data and indicators on the state of cities around the World through a network of national focal points and experts. This work required substantial efforts and investment from 110 participating countries, 237 cities, several donor countries and institutions. Fifty contracts and grant agreements were delivered to countries and national consultants, and sixty countries provided the data on a voluntary basis. The Global Urban Indicators Database constitutes a substantial input to the existing knowledge on the development of cities which should be analysed globally, regionally, or on a sectoral basis and for different policy purposes.
A project of the Global Urban Observatory Network – "Capacity Building for the Global Application of Urban Indicators" – is for a concerted global effort to improve the monitoring and assessment of urban conditions and trends and, thereby, the quality of information used in making and carrying out policies for sustainable urban development. The project period is three years, beginning 1 July 1999. The project will strengthen the global knowledge infrastructure needed to build the technical capacity to monitor urban trends and conditions, as called for by the Habitat Agenda. The anticipated outcome is a network of national, city and support institutions capable of tracking progress in improving the urban living environment and of assessing information for better urban policy.