Managing contemporary and future urbanisation to create sustainable outcomes is a globally acknowledged policy goal. However, despite the increasing uptake and implementation of National Urban Policies (NUPs), little research has explored how these policies incorporate and promote sustainability as a concept in the context of urbanisation. This paper provides a critical analysis of the extent to which sustainability is promoted within urban policy in the context of Ghana. We review Ghana’s NUP and supporting Action Plan (AP) to determine whether their initiatives promote sustainability. An evaluation matrix is used to show how the initiatives in the documents align with the dimensions of urban sustainability outlined in the UN-Habitat’s City Prosperity Index (CPI); and in addition, consideration is given to how the contents align with the dimensions of the World Bank’s Urban Sustainability Framework (USF). The overarching argument that emerges from the analysis is that while Ghana’s NUP and AP provide adequate scope and an eclectic mix of initiatives that promote urban sustainability, the sustainability benefits are potentially undermined by factors which include: (i) threats to inclusivity and social sustainability due to the neo-liberal outlook of policy documents; (ii) explicit lack of a poverty reduction strategy; and (iii) lack of environmental performance targets. To this end, suggestions are provided that could potentially enhance the sustainability impacts of Ghana’s NUP and AP in the context of urbanisation.
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