This article has been reposted.
The Cities Alliance Assembly will hold its annual meeting in Monrovia, Liberia from 24-27 April 2019. The gathering will feature governance activities, substantive explorations of the themes of resilience and informality, and the launch of our latest publication on secondary cities.
The location will allow Assembly members to explore the challenges of urbanisation in a fragile, post-conflict context and experience first-hand the progress of our Liberia Country Programme, which aims to improve the lives and opportunities of up to 400,000 slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, with interventions at the community, municipal and national levels.
The multi-partner nature of the Country Programme model will also provide insight on developmental effectiveness, showcasing how the collective expertise and technical capacity of the membership can be leveraged to support local and national governments to implement complex urban programmes, and promote new urban thinking.
The Assembly will perform several critical governance functions for 2019-22, including selecting a new president and Management Board, which will in turn elect a Chairperson from the Board.
Exploring resilience and informality
As in previous years, the Assembly will include a substantive component addressing key global themes related to urbanisation. This year, the themes are resilience and informality, which will be explored through field visits and panel discussions.
The field visits will present Cities Alliance’s work in Monrovia in the context of our Country Programme. It includes visits to:
• Central Market: This area provides an example of successful cooperation between the city and traders. Through its implementing partner WIEGO, Cities Alliance has strengthened the capacity of the Federation of Petty Traders and Informal Workers Union of Liberia (FEPTIWUL) in central Monrovia and supported them to negotiate with the city for improved working conditions for traders.
• West Point community: Through the Community Upgrading Fund, Cities Alliance is working with the community to construct a nursery as an annex to West Point’s main elementary school (NV Massaquoi Elementary School).
• Popo Beach & King Peter communities: The Country Programme is implementing Community Upgrading Fund pilot projects to build six water kiosks (three in each community).
The Assembly will feature several panel sessions centred around the issues of resilience and informality.
A session on “Confronting Risks in Cities” will review how local governments and communities in rapidly urbanising cities are confronting the multiplicity of risks, shocks and stresses posed by climate change, socio-economic transformations and emergencies. Panellists from Liberia and from members of the Cities Alliance will jointly reflect upon local experiences in Liberia and global initiatives to formulate recommendations for the Cities Alliance in advocating for an integrated, community-based approach to resilience in cities at global, national and local level.
A second session on “Beyond Formalising the Informal: The Transformative Power and Realities of Hybrid Economies in Cities” will discuss concrete approaches to improve the enabling environment for formal and informal businesses in ‘hybrid’ economies in cities. Local and international panellists will pinpoint successful interventions to foster more flexible, affordable, accessible and enforceable regulatory frameworks; a wider range of business and social support to local enterprises; and the role of supportive urban planning practices.
For a third session on “Overcoming Silo Approaches: Outlook for the promotion and localisation of the Global Agendas for Cities,” the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments and UN-Habitat will provide an update on the localisation of the various global agendas for cities and upcoming events. The session will be complemented with results from a member survey conducted by the Cities Alliance Secretariat exploring how its global programmes support the membership in coordination, knowledge sharing and advocacy.
Book launch: Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities
Finally, we will launch our latest publication, Connecting Systems of Secondary Cities: How Soft and Hard Infrastructure Can Foster Growth and Development by Professor Emeritus Brian Roberts. This is the second book on secondary cities by Professor Roberts, who also authored the seminal work Managing Systems of Secondary Cities commissioned by Cities Alliance.