Since its emergence in the 1980s, the ideology underpinning sustainable development has become a metaphor for describing human welfare and environmental management. However, previous studies have overly focused on environmental aspects with little known about poverty-urbanisation implications on sustainable development. Given the magnitude of urbanisation and the pervasiveness of poverty in developing countries, this paper advocates for a poverty-urbanisation analytical approach to sustainable development in developing countries. First, the article provides an overview of sustainable development discourse. Second, the paper looks at the concepts of poverty and urbanisation and their ramifications on sustainable development. Third, examples of sustainable development policy initiatives and their associated poverty-urbanisation threats are presented. Fourth, the paper discusses the policy implications of these two phenomena on sustainable development. The paper concludes with some key issues necessary to make sustainable development a reality in developing countries.