The World Bank Institute (WBI) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) announced plans on 27 April 2010 to expand their long-standing partnership to address the challenges of an urbanising world.


WASHINGTON, DC  – The World Bank Institute  (WBI) and United Nations Human Settlements Programme  (UN-HABITAT) announced plans on 27 April 2010 to expand their long-standing partnership to address the challenges of an urbanising world.

In a signing ceremony at the World Bank headquarters, the two organisations formalised their partnership in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement collaborative capacity development projects, foster synergy and coherence among their programs.

The MOU builds upon the work jointly undertaken by the partners over the past three years, including: 

  --  Publishing a multimedia Source Book on Approaches to Urban Slums 

  --  Developing a Core Learning Program on Upgrading Informal Settlements 

  --  Launching a Joint Program on Successful Approaches to Scaling Up Slum Upgrading and Prevention with Cities Alliance, GTZ, and IDB


Partnering for greater impact, coherence and synergy in Capacity Development

Formalising this partnership is particularly significant for WBI’s strategy to become a global facilitator of capacity development for poverty reduction.

As Mrs. Inga Bjork-Klevby - UN-HABITAT Deputy Executive Director highlighted, this MoU enables both organisations “to achieve greater impact, coherence and synergy” in capacity development for a better urban future. UNHabitat promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

The UN agency's work is driven by the Millennium Development Goals which have high expectations for 2020: to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers  and reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water. A leading institution in the urban area, it convenes global events such as the recent World Urban Forum , which drew over 13,000 practitioners from all around the world seeking urban solutions.

“This collaboration represents a critical intersection of two key aspects of WBI’s strategy,” said Akihiro Nishio, Operations Director, “One of our four business lines is building partnerships for greater impact – to develop richer learning products and circulate knowledge through wider networks of institutions and practitioners. UN-HABITAT has a vast and deep network on the ground, particularly in Africa where there is great demand for access to new knowledge and learning for cities.”

In Line With the Institute's Priorities

“ Urban Development  is one of WBI’s seven priority topics , since the state of cities directly affects a country’s parallel development indicators – such as growth, infrastructure, health, fragility, climate change and governance,” Said Nishio, “the Urban Practice provides UN-HABITAT a window for knowledge from across the World Bank , including vast country experiences and best practices.”

WBI also brings connectivity – reaching across sectors and regions.  WBI’s core business is to facilitate learning, knowledge exchanges, and practitioner-generated innovations, all with a view to addressing the key capacity constraints facing leaders, institutions, and coalitions in their pursuit of development results. It does so by connecting and leveraging global expertise on the “how” of reform through country and regional institutions and practitioner networks, facilitating South-South exchanges, and building coalitions for reform.

Since both institutions have recently undertaken long-term planning processes, such as WBI's Renewal Process and UN-HABITAT’s Mid-Term Strategic Plan, they are now exploring concrete ways to scale up collaboration.

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