Cities Alliance launches 2009 Annual Report
The Cities Alliance is pleased to announce the publication of its 2009 Annual Report. This year’s report is a special anniversary edition, marking ten years since the creation of the Cities Alliance in 1999.
The occasion provides an opportunity for the Cities Alliance to reflect on the lessons learned over the past ten years and to consider how international development aid can respond to critical policy challenges facing developing cities in the decades ahead.
In that spirit, the key message of the 2009 Annual Report is this: National policy frameworks that accept the inevitability of urbanisation are more likely to create the conditions for economic growth on a national scale, ultimately reducing both urban and rural poverty.
Moreover, it is clear that important policy decisions for successful, sustainable development that reduces poverty can only be taken by national governments of developing countries, where most of the urban growth is taking place.
International development organisations such as the Cities Alliance can play a key role by reinforcing the most important of these policies. They include strengthening local governments and local accountability; actively promoting the role of women as essential to development; promoting learning between cities and countries, and between communities; providing multiyear, programmatic support, driven by local partners; and building on what is already working locally instead of imposing solutions from afar.
Cities Alliance Activities in 2009
Those principles were evident in the Cities Alliance work programme for fiscal year (FY) 2009. Highlights of our activities in slum upgrading and city development strategy include:
- The launch of the Land, Services and Citizenship (LSC) for the Urban Poor programme. This global programme aims to assist a selected group of developing countries develop long-term, city-wide strategies to upgrade slums and help cities and their citizens plan and implement strategies for future growth. The LSC initiative is the first significant attempt to implement the Alliance’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-11, which promotes city and country ownership of projects.
- Slum upgrading in post-conflict countries. In 2009, support from the Cities Alliance helped Monrovia, Liberia and Freetown, Sierra Leone begin the process of developing a comprehensive slum upgrading programme.
- State of the Cities Reports (SoCRs). In 2009, the Cities Alliance received an increase in requests to support SoCRs. In particular, the Alliance has been promoting SoCRs in sub-Saharan Africa. The Alliance provides ongoing support for SoCRs in Brazil, Syria, Mozambique as well as the Latin America and the Caribbean region.
- Joint Work Programme on Cities and Climate Change. The Cities Alliance facilitated the establishment of a joint work programme among its members—the World Bank, UN-HABITAT and UNEP—to fashion a coordinated and focused response to climate-related impacts on cities, especially those in developing countries.
- The CDS Sub Group. In 2009, the Cities Alliance formed a platform for members, called the CDS Sub Group, to increase collective know-how on city development strategies. The Sub Group will work together to develop a CDS conceptual framework that outlines the building blocks of a state-of-the-art CDS.
In addition to an overview of our project portfolio, the Annual Report features reports from Cities Alliance regional staff on activities in South Asia, Southern Africa, East Africa and Brazil. In 2009, the Cities Alliance appointed a regional staff member for West Africa based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The publication also includes an essay on the impact of the global financial crisis on city financing as well as Members’ pages, in which Cities Alliance members outline their development priorities and discuss their efforts within the Alliance.
Financial Highlights for FY 2009
From its inception, the Cities Alliance has received strong support from the main international development agencies that make city and urban development a priority. Since then, the Alliance’s financial picture has remained strong. Some of the financial highlights for FY 2009 are:
Over the course of the year, Cities Alliance members sponsored 17 new city development strategies (CDSs) and slum upgrading projects as part of an $11.6 million work programme
Approvals from the Alliance’s core funds were 17 percent higher than in FY 2008, and disbursements were up 5 percent.
Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean were the largest regional recipients of grants in FY 2009, receiving $2.1 million in allocations, or 18 percent of the total approved. Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia each received 16 percent of grant funding.
More than 50 percent of grant funding was allocated for global and multiregional activities.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed $15 million in grant funding for the Land, Services and Citizenship programme (see above).