Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme

A UN-HABITAT programme in cooperation with the European Commission and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat. Read more

Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme

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Cities stand and will continue to stand at the crossroads of an interdependent world, producing goods, services and ideas. The challenges that face many cities in developing countries are outnumbered by opportunities. Successful cities are those that ensure these opportunities are available for all its citizens. These cities back commitments to slum upgrading with bold policy reforms, preventing future slum growth with equitable planning and economic policies. Long-term political commitment at all levels is backed by adequate budget resources, policy reforms and institutional strengthening, strong monitoring and scaling up of successful local projects.


Launched in 2008, the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) aims to improve the living conditions in towns and cities. This Programme is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and improving the lives of slum dwellers.


The PSUP is being implemented through a tripartite partnership among the European Commission, the ACP Group of States, and UN-Habitat. Currently there are 29 countries and 63 cities among the African,Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states participating in the programme. The programme’s purpose is to strengthen the capacity of local, central, and regional institutions and key stakeholders in settlement and slum improvement through the use of good governance and management approaches and pilot projects. It also contributes, where needed, to developing policies and carrying out institutional, legislative, financial, normative, and implementation frameworks.


The PSUP process is not an end to all urban poverty, but an important contribution and a process to be complemented by other poverty alleviation programmes. By raising awareness on urban development issues at the sub-regional, national and local levels, PSUP has put urban poverty reduction on the political agenda. Commitment to the process from regional, national and local actors is essential before the initiation of a programme in a country.

Urban profiling is used in the PSUP to analyze policy thinking and implementation. The assessment of needs supports the development of solutions through governance, institutions and service. The strong participatory aspects of the programme is a prerequisite to actual implementation, strengthening dialogue amongst actors.


PSUP discourages a one size fits all approach to finding solutions to the urban poverty challenge, and looks for tailor made solutions that will suit the needs of different countries. The programme therefore helps countries and cities identify their unique challenges and to develop corresponding tangible solutions.


The PSUP approach targets far more than demonstration projects or field work. The approach aims for a change in thinking, the acknowledgement of slums and urban poverty as well as the need to define a better institutional environment for pro-poor policies, strategies and interventions.


back to About PSUP