Question 1: What challenges are local urban authorities facing to mobilize financial resources for urban development in developing countries? What are some solutions to these challenges?
Local authorities all over the world are playing an increasingly important role in the delivery of fundamental basic public services. But they are also facing huge challenges, in particular the widening gap between the availability of financial resources and municipal expenditure needs. Local authorities in many developing countries, cities and towns could generate increased revenue from local revenue sources by improving the efficiency of revenue generation and by implementing innovative, revenue-generating mechanisms. Sufficient financial resources to deliver better urban services and implement planned city extensions can also be generated by introducing more responsive and accountable governance practices. Please share your experiences and/or examples of some solutions to these challenges below.
Thank you very much to all of you for your valuable contributions to the discussion during these last two weeks.
Among the challenges to mobilize financial resources mentioned in this discussion, recurrent topics that came up in different shapes along the debate were the inadequacy of own revenue sources (most evidently in the insufficient relevance given to land value taxation) , the unreliability of central government transfers, and the weakness of local governments’ financial management as well as their planning and administrative capacity in general (which derives in problems managing resources but also on their difficulties to develop projects even in the presence of funding) .
As for recommendations, I would like to highlight (i) the need for central governments to review legal frameworks to foster local revenue generation (focusing on landbased tools, charges for services, infrastructure contributions, among others); (ii) build public trust through public engagement and complete transparency; and (iii) building local capacity through training and the commitment of sufficient resources. As posted here, the later relates to the need for the international community to scale up support in order for these recommendations to actually be implemented.
As for next steps, both the complete online discussions and a final report (to be drafted and published here), will be shared with the members of the Advisory Board for the Mexico City thematic meeting as inputs to the final meeting declaration, one of the key documents feeding into the Habitat III zero draft report.
Thanks again for your very insightful contributions.