Advocacy and Campaigns


Advocacy is an organizational performance enabler to help UN-Habitat shape the public opinion on sustainable urban development through campaigns that promote specific causes in support of the desired change as outlined in UN-habitat’s strategic plan. Advocacy activities should support UN-Habitat’s bold vision, its objective of advancing sustainable urbanization as a driver of development and peace, our solutions-oriented culture, based on a deep understanding of what actually works in cities and human settlements. They should also leverage partnerships through targeted advocacy and campaign activities addressing specific audiences.  

Key components of the work 

Campaign design and implementation:  

The Advocacy and Campaign Unit, which is part of the External Relations and Partnerships Branch in the External Relations Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation Division (ERSKI) provides support to develop and run advocacy campaigns towards a cause, raise awareness and engage partners and the public on clearly defined issues. It also ensures campaigns are harmonized and coordinated in terms of the timing of the campaigns as well as consistent messaging. 

Coordination of the World Urban Campaign:  

The Advocacy and Campaign Unit coordinates the World Urban Campaign, a global advocacy platform to raise awareness about positive urban change in order to achieve sustainable cities and communities. The WUC currently comprises more than 200 partner organizations. Partners of UN-Habitat projects and initiatives interested in promoting key urban issues can use the WUC as a channel for dissemination. It has its own media channels that help raise awareness on critical issues and promote positive urban changes. It also hosts an annual Urban Thinkers Campus series since 2015 to engage partners in topical dialogues and define actions and initiatives to be implemented by the partners. 

More information: 

Key processes and steps  

Key steps to design and run a campaign: 

  • The campaign topic must be approved by the agency at the Senior Management level. 

  • Conceptualization of the campaign topic in relation to the Strategic Plan and relevant global mandates. 

  • Definition of the campaign goals and objectives and audiences. 

  • Definition of the campaign strategic activities. 

  • Definition of the campaign metrics in order to monitor its success. 

  • Preparation of key messages and data content.  

  • Engagement of key campaign partners and influencers. 

  • Preparation of campaign road map with key milestones and events. 

  • Preparation of an action plan with detailed roles along a timeline. 

  • Preparation of social media calendar. 

  • Preparation of campaign branding and communication materials (in coordination with the Communications and Outreach Section) 

  • Preparation of campaign web content and design, stories, audio-visuals (in coordination with the Communications and Outreach Section) 

  • Periodic assessment using above defined metrics 

Key steps to engage your partners in the World Urban Campaign: 

  • Contact the WUC Secretariat (Advocacy and Campaigns Unit) to explore the best modalities of engagement.  

  • Approval of partnership usually take no more than 15 days. 

  • More information: 

Key steps to organize an Urban Thinkers Campus: 

  • Consult the last Urban Thinkers Campus Guidelines  

  • Define your topic, sessions, partners, speakers, etc. 

  • Apply on-line within the timeline of the call for proposal. 

  • Consult the Advocacy and Campaigns Unit for more details and to receive specific support for the preparation of your Urban Thinkers Campus. 

  • More information: 

Important issues to note 

The purpose of the ACU is to support and harmonize advocacy and campaign activities in order to raise awareness on sustainable urbanization and engage partners in implementing the New Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally agreed related goals. 

Key Documents

National Urban Campaign Toolkit (2015)

Focal Points