Cities Alliance Consultative Group Meeting and Public Policy Forum - Rome

Cities Alliance Consultative Group
Meeting and Public Policy Forum
30 November - 1 December 2000
Rome, Italy




Introductory remarks by the Co-Chairs and adoption of the agenda
Feedback from the Cities Alliance Public Policy Forum
Building political commitment and a shared vision
Developing country representation
Project preparation and overhead costs
Ongoing Work Programme
2001 Work Program proposals
Requirements for co-sponsorship of proposals
Collaboration with global and regional urban programmes
Discussion on CDS Action Plan
Evaluation and impact
Review of Secretariat Arrangements
Establishment of the Policy Advisory Board
Pledging for 2001
Associate Membership Arrangements
Proposed Calendar of CG meetings in 2001


1. Introductory remarks by the Co-Chairs and adoption of the agenda

The Co-Chairs, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat), and Nemat Shafik, Vice President, Private Sector Development and Infrastructure, The World Bank, made opening statements and the issues raised are incorporated in the relevant sections of the summary below.  


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2. Feedback from the Cities Alliance Public Policy Forum
The Forum was structured around the presentation of three alliances between local authorities and communities which are creating the basis for citywide upgrading in: Salvador, Brazil; Nouakchott, Mauritania; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The discussion focused on how these partnerships can be supported and replicated. Common themes included the role of the poor in slum upgrading as key actors, rather than as recipients; and the necessity of community involvement and partnerships in order to scale-up and deliver better quality services. Questions also focused on the contributions of the respective partners, institutional arrangements, the flow of funds, cost recovery, and re-invasion.

Five issues were raised in summarizing the results of the Forum:

  1. What is the role of the private financial sector in urban upgrading? How should we engage the financial sector, in order to leverage funds to achieve the scale we aim for?
  2. Where will investment come from to complement those funds raised by the urban poor themselves?
  3. What do "ideal" citywide upgrading programs look like? What specifically do we mean by 'better programs' or 'not business as usual'?
  4. What is the added-value of the Cities Alliance in scaling up slum upgrading and promoting city development strategies?
  5. What do we want out of the Public Policy Forum and how can we make it more issues and learning oriented?


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3. Building political commitment and a shared vision

The Secretariat report highlighted the steps taken since June 2000 to build political commitment and raise awareness, including: President Nelson Mandela's letter to heads of state, and the UN Millennium Summit commitment to achieve the targets of the Cities Without Slums action plan. A draft presentation, prepared for Consultative Group members to use within their agencies to help strengthen their engagement with the Alliance, was made and discussed. Feedback on the presentation centered around a core set of issues:

  • There is a need for this presentation as a key communication instrument.
  • Partners work "within" the Alliance, rather than "with" it. Make the case why partners should be in and strengthen the Alliance.
  • The Alliance should not be narrowly characterized as an 'investment fund'. Make sure the message is not about 'raising additional money', but rather about using 'existing' resources to achieve greater value and impact through enhanced collaboration and synergies built through the Alliance.
  • The 'value-added' of the Alliance needs to be more clearly stated. Explain why working within the Alliance makes sense for all partners, in terms of improved coherence of effort and collective knowledge building, highlighting the benefits the Alliance can bring to each member, and in maximizing impacts on improving the lives of the urban poor.
  • Elaborate more on mechanisms, including what is a CDS and how are we scaling-up.
  • Incorporate issues, including, urban/rural linkages, the 'rights based' approach to working with the urban poor, employment, health, and the environment to make a clearer linkage with the targets adopted during the Millennium Summit.

Decision: Secretariat to incorporate the key issues into a revised draft presentation before Christmas, and circulate for comment to the CG. The core presentation can be modified or 'stretched' by partners to address specific issues of concern for use within their own organization. 


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4. Developing country representation

The issue of developing country representation in the Consultative Group was raised by the Co-Chair, Ms. Tibaijuka, in her opening remarks. The discussion which followed is summarized below:

  • It was clarified that the Cities Alliance was established as a "coalition of cities and their development partners". In the consultations leading up to the creation of the Alliance it was agreed the best representatives of the beneficiaries of the alliance would be cities themselves, as represented through associations of local authorities on its Consultative Group. It has also been agreed that its Policy Advisory Board should include representatives from each developing country region.
  • As per the Charter, the Consultative Group is composed of financial contributors to the Cities Alliance Trust Fund and the political heads of the international associations of cities and local authorities. As such membership on the Consultative Group is open to any government or development agency which makes "a minimum contribution to the core fund of $250,000 per annum".
  • It was also noted that a number of governments, UN agencies and regional development banks are actively considering joining the Alliance, and that membership of developing country governments is most welcome (as is the case where several developing governments have joined InfoDev).
  • Although several ideas were discussed, including giving consideration to lowering the annual membership fee for developing countries, there was a strong sentiment not to modify the Charter.
  • It was suggested that since this concern had been raised by Habitat's Permanent Representatives in Nairobi, developing country representation might best be achieved through Habitat's governing body, the UN Commission on Human Settlements. This would not require modifying the Charter, since the Commission approves Habitat's budget and it is in effect a financial contributor to the Alliance.

Decision:The Executive Director of Habitat will invite the Chair of the Commission on Human Settlements (or their representative from Habitat's Committee of Permanent Representatives) to join the Consultative Group.  


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5. Project preparation and overhead costs
In her opening remarks, Ms. Tibaijuka had also raised Habitat's resource constraints and its need for overhead income for project preparation. During the discussion of this issue the Consultative Group expressed its strong sentiment that their respective contributions to the Alliance were aimed at catalyzing the collective effort of all of Alliance partners towards achieving the goals of the Alliance. While affirming that a strong Habitat is in the interest of the Alliance, donor governments noted their direct contributions to the Habitat Foundation, and indicated a general aversion to increasing overheads reimbursement.  


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6. Ongoing Work Program

The Secretariat summarized overall progress on the 2000 Work Program ($3.7 million), and highlighted the specific progress made in country, regional, global and Secretariat activities. The Secretariat also noted that:

  • All Core funded activities in 2000 were approved by the Consultative Group itself. The Secretariat did not use its authority to approve smaller proposals (up to $75,000).
  • All the Trust Fund Agreements have now been finalized.
  • 80% of the approved activities have been initiated. The balance of approved country and regional activities have not been initiated largely because of: 1) the rush of preparing proposals for Berlin meant that the preparatory process was incomplete in a few cases, and 2) waiting for funds to become available after signing of Trust Fund agreements.
  • Grant management agreements have been prepared in parallel with establishing monitoring mechanisms and responsibilities.

A copy of the Powerpoint presentation made by the Secretariat was distributed at the meeting, and is available upon request.  


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7. 2001 Work Program proposals
The Secretariat summarized the proposed 2001 Work Program ($4.2 million) which had been forwarded to all partners on 1 November 2000, including highlights of each of the 12 new grants recommended for approval. The Secretariat noted that:

  • There were 31 proposals submitted, out of which 12 have been recommended.
  • 10 of the 12 proposals are structured around cities learning from each other.
  • 11 of the 12 proposals were sponsored by two or members of the Alliance.
  • There is a sharper focus on poverty reduction and institutionalizing CDS and scaling-up.
  • The recommended US$4.2 million package of activities is less than the US$7.5 million budget authorized by the Consultative Group at the Montreal meeting, because: 1) actual amount of pledges for 2001 is still not known, and 2) to have funds available during the course of the year for pipeline or new proposals.
  • Pipeline proposals are those which had merit but which were not considered ready yet, typically due to partnership and cofinancing issues.

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation made by the Secretariat was distributed at the meeting, and is available upon request.

Discussioncentered around several issues including:

  • Definition of and presentation of who submits and co-sponsors proposals, as well as accountabilities for implementation.
  • Clarification of the preparatory process, the roles of the various partners and rationale for selection of proposed, pipeline, and rejected proposals.
  • Suggestion that there be focus on fewer projects, but ones with higher learning and mobilization dividends.
  • Suggestions regarding the format of the Work Program summary table.

In responding to these suggestions, the Secretariat also summarized the lessons learned during the preparation of the 2001 work program, and proposed certain actions for improvement. A copy of the Secretariat's presentation was distributed at the meeting, and is available upon request.

Decision:The 2001 Work Program was approved, on a no-objection basis, as recommended by the Secretariat.  


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8. Requirements for co-sponsorship of proposals.

Discussion centered around whether a multi-lateral organization must be a co-sponsor of a Cities Alliance proposal, and the minimum number of sponsors a proposal must have. Discussion points included:

  • The desirability of more than one co-sponsor;
  • The need for investment partners - but the clarification that these could be multi-lateral, bilateral, or private sector partners;
  • The need to clarify the value-added of the Cities Alliance: 1) donor coordination (in which case, the more partners sponsoring the better); 2) learning and disseminating; or 3) maximum impact on the lives of the urban poor?

Decisions:Multilateral co-sponsorship will not be required. A proposal will need be sponsored by a minimum of one member of the Consultative Group. Investment follow-up could come from any source. Paragraph 9 (a), 9 (b) and 14 of the Charter will therefore be amended to read:

"9. Activities sponsored under the Cities Alliance will fall within two main categories:

(a) Country-Specific Activities: The Cities Alliance is primarily focused on achieving results through country-specific activities. Proposals will typically originate from local authorities, but in all cases must be approved by the government of the recipient country, be sponsored by at least one member of the Cities Alliance, and have established channels to meet investment requirements.

(b) Regional & Global Activities: Country-specific activities will be complemented by activities designed to raise awareness, increase learning and disseminate good practices. These activities will include establishing knowledge sharing networks and data bases for city development strategies and for scaling-up urban upgrading programs, mainstreaming indicators and developing guidelines and other tools which advance collective know-how. Regional and interregional seminars will also be organized with partners to share innovations and lessons learned. Proposals for these activities can originate from any interested source, but must be sponsored by at least one member of the Cities Alliance. Complementarity and consistency with knowledge-building activities in related thematic areas of the Bank, Habitat and other partners are essential in designing activities."

"14. Country-specific proposals would typically originate from individual local authorities or consortia of local authorities, but must be sponsored by at least one member of the Cities Alliance."  


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9. Collaboration with global and regional urban programmes
At the request of the Consultative Group the Secretariat had circulated a paper on this topic on 5 October, which explained the interface between the Alliance and various global and regional urban partnership programmes. Discussion centered around several issues, including:

The range of "programmes" to consider, which should also include the World Bank Institute and programs affiliated with the ILO, as well as other UN agencies.

The Alliance's ongoing collaboration with the UMP and support for the proposal submitted by the MDP linking City Development Strategies and local economic development in a network of secondary cities in Burkina Faso.

Action: Michael Parkes, newly appointed to Habitat's E.U. office, will prepare a short note on the differences between the UMP and the Cities Alliance.

Action: The Secretariat asked that members review the MDP proposal and pass along any comments, plus indicate their potential interest in supporting this proposal.  


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10. Discussion on CDS Action Plan

Dinesh Mehta (UMP) and Tim Campbell (World Bank) distributed a CDS progress report and draft CDS Guideline, and made a presentation on the implementation of the CDS Action Plan, which included a review of on-going CDS and of the CDS process and outputs. It included recommendations to:

1. Review program objectives vis a vis regional balance and impact.
2. Endorse greater emphasis on:
directed impacts on the poor and improved economic performance
sustained stakeholder interest
linkages with slum upgrading
coordination with follow-up investments (local and external support)

Action: The Chair noted that there is now the beginnings of an emerging body of best practice on CDSs, and requested that the CDS Guideline and other CDS tools (once they are available) be distributed to the independent evaluators, proposal proponents and other interested parties.  


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11. Evaluation and impact
The Secretariat introduced a short note recommending an independent evaluation and mechanisms to assess impact, including a timeline for completing an evaluation by the end of December 2002. A copy was distributed at the meeting, and is available upon request.

Action: The evaluation should be completed in 2002, and the Chair asked members to review the recommended process, timeline and focus, and send any comments to the Secretariat.  


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12. Review of Secretariat Arrangements

The Secretariat Review Panel (UK chair, Italy, U.S., Habitat and WB) presented its recommendations made as a result of its review of the funding, size and location of the Secretariat. The Panel's recommendations are quoted below, followed by a summary of the resulting discussion, and the CG's decisions:

Secretariat Panel Recommendations

  1. Funding of the Secretariat should be drawn from the Core Funds of the Cities Alliance.
  2. The Secretariat should be kept small, broadly in line with the current size of core staff.
  3. Creation of a small CA Steering Committee.
  4. The Steering Committee should have executive powers as follows:
    approval of staffing
    scrutiny of the Secretariat budget
    guidance to the Secretariat on policy matters
  5. Steering Committee meets every six months.
  6. TORs for the Steering Committee.
  7. Meetings of the CG to be relaxed to one per year.
  8. The Secretariat of the CA remains in the World Bank office in Washington.

Summary of Discussion
There was general consensus on the need to broaden the base of funding of the Secretariat, although there was some discussion of the timing for this transition to Core funds. There was also consensus on keeping the Secretariat small in line with the Charter.There was consensus on establishing the Steering Committee, as well as on proposed membership (two multilaterals, two bilaterals and one representative from the local authority associations). Options for selecting bilateral members were discussed, along with the arrangements for chairing.There was discussion on the policy role of the SC, particularly with regard to the Policy Advisory Board and the CG. Clarification was made that the SC will not set policy but help provide guidance to the Secretariat on policy issues and value added.There was considerable discussion on the role of SC in proposal selection and approval. Some members thought that the SC should have authority to approve proposals, while others felt it should have more of an oversight role, assisting the CG in discharging its functions as per the Charter. In the summing up this discussion, the CG Co-Chair said the SC should deal with broader strategic issues, including advising the CG if our criteria are the right ones, but should not micro-manage the Secretariat, since the SC members would not have time or expertise to review individual proposals.The Secretariat Panel noted that consideration was given to moving the Secretariat to Habitat's Nairobi, or Geneva offices, but the panel felt that the advantages of having direct access to the Trust Fund manager and the World Bank's country operations departments outweighed any perception that the Alliance is dominated by the World Bank.


  1. The Secretariat will be funded from Core Funds beginning after the next fiscal year (ending 30 June 2002).
  2. The Secretariat will be kept small, broadly in line with the current size.
  3. A five-member Steering Committee was approved and appointed effective immediately. It consists of two multi-laterals (Habitat and World Bank), two bilaterals, and one representative from the local authority associations. The bilaterals, in caucus, selected as their representatives: the United Kingdom for a 2-year term and the Netherlands for a 1-year term to be followed by Germany for a 2-year term. The local authorities named WACLAC as its representative. The method of selecting representatives to the Steering Committee will be reviewed after an initial two-year period.
  4. Habitat and World Bank, as Co-Chairs of the CG, will serve as Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee.
  5. The Steering Committee will meet as needed, and either in person or by other communication channels.
  6. The Steering Committee will have executive functions as described in the following Steering Committee Terms of Reference:
    1. approval of the Terms of Reference of Secretariat staff members
    2. approval of nomination of staff positions
    3. scrutiny of the Secretariat budget, and reporting of this to the CG meetings, together with recommendations for when the funding of this budget should be derived from the Cities Alliance Core Budget
    4. guidance to the Secretariat on policy matters and overall direction (bearing in mind guidance from the CA Policy Advisory Board)
    5. recommendation for approval or rejection of project proposals to the CG on the basis of Secretariat and independant review prior to CG decisions (para 18, Annex I of the Charter).
  7. The first meeting of the SC will be hosted by Habitat at its new Brussels office, during the first quarter of 2001.
  8. With the advent of the Steering Committee, it was agreed to relax CG meetings to one per year.
  9. The Secretariat of the CA will remain at the World Bank office in Washington.


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13. Establishment of the Policy Advisory Board

The Policy Advisory Board committee (WACLAC chair, Canada, Germany, Japan, UK) made its recommendations regarding the composition, term of office and operating procedures of the PAB.

Policy Advisory Board Recommendations:

  1. Role would be as spelled out in the Charter.
  2. PAB members should serve on 2-year rotational basis.
  3. Qualifications of members as outlined in the Charter and the Montreal meeting.
  4. There would be 8 members.
  5. Six members would be nominated initially, representing the areas chosen for focus by the CA (Asia, Africa and LAC), leaving two spaces open to add necessary expertise as needs are identified.

Discussion: The committee said it should not release the names of its first 6 nominees pending their agreement to serve, but characterized the group as follows:
2 from Africa, 2 from Asia, 1 from LAC, and 1 from the North.
3 women, 3 men

Decision: The committee's recommendations were adopted.

Action: The committee will pass its recommendations for the first 6 nominations to the Secretariat to contact the nominees to confirm their interest in serving on the PAB.

Action: CG members were asked to suggest other PAB candidates to the committee, particularly those from Eastern Europe or Central Asia.  


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14. Pledging for 2001

Three new pledges for 2001 were announced by members:

Netherlands indicated that a proposal form the Cities Alliance for approximately US$2 million in 2001 in Core funding from the Bank/Netherlands Partnership Program was expected to be approved in December 2000.

Italy announced a pledge for Core funds of EURO 500,000 for 2001.

World Bank announced a US$700,000 Non-Core grant from the Development Grant Facility for support of activities of the Urban Management Programme and for urban indicators.

Canada, Germany, Sweden and United Kingdom reiterated pledges for 2001 previously made. France, Japan and Norway indicated they were still working on their pledges for 2001. The World Bank said it plans on maintaining its financial commitment to the Alliance, and increase its lending to urban.  


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15. Associate Membership Arrangements
The Co-Chair introduced the recommendation that Associate Memberships be extended for another year.

Decision: It was agreed that the current arrangements be extended for one additional year. Paragraph 23 of the Charter would therefore be amended to read:

"23. During the first two years of operation (through December 31, 2001), the CG will invite prospective financial partners to serve as "Associate Members" of the Cities Alliance Consultative Group. The associate membership will be non-voting but will share information and participate in key meetings."  


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16. Proposed Calendar of CG meetings in 2001

Further to the decision previously made during the Secretariat Review, the CG will meet once in 2001. The Secretariat had proposed dates during the third week of October 2001, but some members felt this was too busy time of year. General sentiment was expressed that late November-early December was a good time of year to meet. There was also general agreement that the meeting should be held in a developing country (India was suggested as a possibility).

Decision:The next meeting of the Consultative Group will be held 10-12 December 2001.
Action: The Secretariat will consult with the potential host government.

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