Envisioning socially and environmentally sustainable cities, UN-Habitat supports 18 countries in the Arab region, with active programmes in 14 countries and on-going activities in 4 countries.

In 2011, the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Arab States was established in Cairo under a cooperation agreement with the government of Egypt.

UN-Habitat in the Arab region focuses on urban planning, urban recovery, adequate housing, policy and governance, public spaces, environment and climate change, housing, land and property rights; urban basic services and localisation of Sustainable Development Goals.

Population (2022)
Total value of projects
US$ 172,000,000
No. of projects (2022 - )
Total: 83



There are 83 projects benefitting communities in the Arab region (2022).

◼️ 951,530 people benefitted from Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and basic services interventions

◼️ 515 housing units rehabilitated, benefiting 3,550 individuals 

◼️ 22 public spaces renovated 

◼️ 4,342 people benefited from urban mobility projects 

◼️ 27,578 people benefited from energy efficiency projects 

◼️ 620,000 participated in training sessions and awareness-raising activities on urbanisation

◼️ One Voluntary Local Review launched and 2 are in the process of being launched

Urban numbers

Urban numbers

Proportion of people in the Arab region living in cities is 60% and expected to reach 70% by 2050

Proportion of urban population living in informal areas is 31.22% (2018)

Number of refugees in the Middle East and North Africa region is 15.7 million

Water scarcity is a major issue in 19 of the 22 Arab countries, while desertification and land degradation affect 17 countries


Rapid Urbanisation

Even though the Arab region has major economic, cultural and social activities, rapid urbanisation can cause profound challenges to the region, including urban sprawl, poverty and lack of access to basic services amongst numerous issues.


The protracted conflicts in seven countries of the region led to widespread destruction to the built environment, such as damaged infrastructure, housing, public spaces and facilities, including schools and hospitals, in addition to causing massive waves of displacement.

Climate Change

The Arab region is one of the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. Extreme weather, including droughts, floods, sand and dust storms and intense heat waves, is currently more frequent in the Arab region. 

Regional Projects and Initiatives
Man standing in front of his newly received house

"Here on my land, hope has returned to me. I have planted trees and created a small garden, and I can witness their growth. I am incredibly satisfied with my new house."

Barakat Hamad, returnee, Iraq


Rania Hedeya
Regional Representative (a.i.)
UN-Habitat Regional Office for the Arab States