In Brief: Equitable Economic Growth Campaign Cities, Workshops, INCLUDe, and Climate Change Conference

A brief overview of some of the activities undertaken by the Cities Alliance over the past few months.
Bangladesh Equitable Economic Growth Campaign Cities Hold Kick Off Workshops


Bangladesh Equitable Economic Growth Campaign Cities Hold Kick Off Workshops

The two newest Equitable Economic Growth Campaign cities, Narayanganj and Sylhet in Bangladesh, held workshops in May to kick off the initiative. The workshops in both cities focused on explaining the scope, deliverables and expected outcomes to city stakeholders, and prioritizing focus themes for local assessment reports that will be conducted as part of the initiative.

Around 120 people participated in the workshop in Narayanganj on 18 May, and 60 in Sylhet on 24 May. Narayanganj stakeholders identified priority issues including faster delivery of services to citizens and child care centres for working women. In Sylhet, participants focused on solid waste management and vocational training centres. Both workshops were widely covered in the media.

The Campaign Cities initiative is a component of the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme for Equitable Economic Growth in Cities. It supports the promotion of equitable access to public goods and services through focus areas adapted to the city’s specific needs and context. Each campaign city will produce an Institutional Enabling Environment Report, a Local Assessment Report and city-level, evidence-based policy briefs and recommendations.

IHS joins the JWP for Equitable Economic Growth

The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) has joined the Joint Work Programme (JWP) on Equitable Economic Growth, the first knowledge institution to do so.
IHS is an international institute on urban management and housing at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, based in the Netherlands. It offers post graduate education and training, advisory services, and applied research in the field of urban management, housing and urban planning. Its mission is to develop human and institutional capacities to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in cities.  

IHS takes an approach to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in cities that is based on the cross-fertilization of three activities: education, advisory services and applied research. It strongly believes in linking theory and practice: Staff members spend a substantial amount of time in the field, so they have direct knowledge of the circumstances within various countries in which they work and provide support, training and services that are relevant for their clients and course participants. With its focus on training, IHS brings to the JWP expertise in capacity building measures to better address the link between public service delivery and equitable economic growth.

Alternatives to Forced Evictions: UN-Habitat and Cities Alliance Hold Slum Upgrading Workshop in Yangon

UN-Habitat, Cities Alliance, and the government of Myanmar held an international experience-sharing workshop on slum upgrading in Yangon 28 April. It was the first-time slum upgrading was widely discussed in Myanmar, and the principles of in-situ upgrading received strong support from policy makers.

The workshop also cautioned against widespread forced eviction and presented a range of possible alternatives. Mr Disa Weerapana, technical expert on housing and resettlement and a former director of UN-Habitat’s Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific, outlined how working with communities in situations where relocation is necessary can help governments to fulfil their human rights obligations, and cautioned that forced evictions are a prima facie violation of human rights. Instead, governments could use  innovative approaches such as land sharing for settlements with high land values.

Read more about the workshop or watch a short video

City Enabling Environment Workshop in the Philippines

Based on the success of the joint UCLGA and Cities Alliance assessments (2012 and 2015)  on the state of African decentralization, last year the Cities Alliance, United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the City and Local Government Enabling Environment (CEE) initiative in 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to identify and address gaps in policy, legal and institutional frameworks that are impacting the efficiency of local governments.

On 4 April, a regional workshop was held in Catbalogan, Philippines to review and discuss the draft CEE country ratings for 23 countries. Ratings are currently being prepared for another seven  countries. Participants included assessors (local government authorities and consultants) from 20 countries and the Regional Peer Review group, with representatives from Cities Alliance, the Cities Development Initiative for Asia, UN-Habitat, and UNDP. The peer-review group agreed with the country ratings but suggested a strong methodological note in the regional report.

The country-level peer-review process has been completed for 7 countries – Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Korea – while draft ratings for another 16 countries are currently undergoing the peer-review process.

Edmonton to Host International IPCC Conference on Cities and Climate Change

The City of Edmonton, Canada, has been selected to host a unique international conference that will boost the scientific understanding of climate change and cities. This event, the Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will take place in March 2018. The conference has also appointed a Scientific Steering Committee, which will guide its organisation.

The event will bring together representatives from academia, scientific institutions, IPCC experts, national, regional and local government representatives, urban and climate change practitioners and related networks. It aims to inspire global and regional research on Cities and Climate Change in preparation for a future IPCC Special Report. Its outcomes will help member states, mayors and citizens deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2018 Cities and Climate Change Science Conference is supported by a diverse group of organisations identified as #CitiesIPCC: C40, Cities Alliance, ICLEI, Future Earth, SDSN, UCLG, UN-Habitat, UN Environment and WCRP. Read this press release for more.


Cities Alliance Secretariat to support the INCLUDe Network for Indian NGOs

Prominent NGOs and research institutions involved in community-led urban habitat development in India have launched the Indian NGOs for Community Led Urban Development (INCLUDe) network to focus on community processes for inclusive planning and design of urban upgrading and development.

INCLUDe will bring together a mix of skills with expertise across all sectors of urban slum and habitat development, including water, sanitation, housing, gender, resilience, livelihoods microfinance, health, security, and ecology. It will tap this expertise and offer a variety of products and services – such as knowledge, capacity building, data and assessment products, as well as services and interactive platforms – to local, state and national governments to strengthen urban policy, programming and capacity for community-led sustainable urban development.

INCLUDe is an open network which will expand and grow as new NGOs and institutions come on board. Members include the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC), Mahila Housing Trust, the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE), Shelter Associates, South Asia HomeNet, Habitat for Humanity India, the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) India, and the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HSMI). It is mentored by the Cities Alliance Secretariat, UNDP, GIZ India, USAID, the World Bank and UN-Habitat, and hosted by CURE.