Urban Frameworks (governance, capacity and finance)

March 24, 2017

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.


  • Fabienne Perucca Programme officer, Urban Legislation land and Governance Branch - UN-Habitat
  • Kodjo Mensah Policy Adviser for Local Governance Urbanization UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programming Support (BPPS) - UNDP

Urban Frameworks (governance, capacity and finance)

This discussion is now closed. Thank you for your participation.

Question 1.   What are good practices in developing urban governance frameworks and systems that are tailored to specific contexts?

Question 2.   What are the main challenges and/or constraints of existing urban frameworks that would have to be addressed in order to advance sustainable urban development?

Welcome to the urban dialogue on Urban Frameworks. The online discussions for this dialogue took place from July 6-31, 2015. Although the discussions are now closed, you can still share your comments, perspectives, and feedback on the discussion summary for a one-week commentary period ending on August 24, 2015.

In each thematic discussion, individuals and organizations had the chance to discuss major ideas and outcomes of the Habitat III Issue Papers, elaborated by the United Nations Task Team on HIII. These dialogues provide a platform for all voices to be heard. Your valued contribution and participation in these dialogues will enrich the ongoing Habitat III participatory process on emerging thinking related to sustainable urban development. In addition, final contributions to the discussion summaries will help identify key knowledge and policy options, while evaluating how these options might be deployed in the context of the New Urban Agenda.

Click here to review the summary outcome and comment
Recent Activity
Climate Change Centre Reading
Wed, August 12, 2015 at 09.14 pm
Nelson Saule Júnior Lawyer , Gereral Coordinator from Brazil
Sun, August 9, 2015 at 06.28 pm

I ask  for the cmoderators colleagues if the dialogue  is still open to new comments since the period officially ended on 31 July.
If you are still open I have  new comments to do
thank you

Nelson Saule Júnior Lawyer , Gereral Coordinator from Brazil
Sun, August 9, 2015 at 06.27 pm

I ask  for the cmoderators colleagues if the dialogue  is still open to new comments since the period officially ended on 31 July.
If you are still open I have  new comments to do
thank you

Quazi baby from
Mon, August 10, 2015 at 05.25 pm
Ok, I want to know about the best practice and I am interested to know your new comments. Please go ahead.

Quazi Baby

On Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 1:16 AM wrote:
Sat, August 8, 2015 at 05.41 am

Dear Rob, Alanna, George and Prof. Pandey,

Many thanks for these comments. Land Value Finance is a crytical part of municipal and local and sustainable finance. The issue paper was led by a number a specialists from different organisations such as UN-HABITAT, World Bank, and counted with numerous reviewers. Surely this will be enriched in the Policy Papers which doesn’t have a major restriction on space.

LVF is key but has to be paired by some kind of land and preperty registration. In cities in low income countries, the expertise and resource to prepare property rolls don’t exist or is unrealiable. That’s is why UN-HABITAT is proposing more ad hoc models of valuation with software and toolkits that place registration and cadastral systems as part of a continuum rather han forcing a sophisticated system of registration form the beggining.

Then land and property registration are paired with tax collection when possible, and when services delivery is linked.

This is what we call endogenpus sources of revenues. Still potential revenues may come from several areas such as ICT and tax collection, registration of informal settlements, egovernments at municipal level, managing of public assests, climate change related financial instruments and others.

I hope to continue this contribution, many thanks.

Marco Kamiya (UN-HABITAT, Urban Economy and Municipal Finance)

Professor K K Pandey “”” researcher,and trainer””” from India
Sat, August 8, 2015 at 11.24 am

Marco has  brought  out very important point on basc data on land .It is also connected with TENURE.

we have seen that illegal land subdivision which is quite common in India has the issue of secure tenure.land and properties change hands without simulteneous transfer of tenure(legal ownership).At times government land is sold  or private land is sold by occupiers who do not have title.

This issue has been main hurdle behind upgradation of such areas and also mobilisation of municipal finance.Nearly 30-40 percent housing stock in Delhi belongs to illegal land subdivision and govt is strugling hard to effectively regularise these areas within formal system,

Gregory Scruggs journalist
Mon, August 10, 2015 at 04.16 pm

Professor Pandey,

Thank you for your prolific comments on the Urban DIalogues.  We published an article that was a round-up of the best ideas and we included one of yours.  Please take a look: https://citiscope.org//habitatIII/news/2015/08/6-great-ideas-habitat-iii-urban-dialogues


Greg Scruggs

Citiscope Habitat III correspondent

Rob Wheeler from
Fri, August 7, 2015 at 08.24 pm

Dialogue Statement On Land Value Taxation for Discussion on 

Urban Frameworks (Governance, Capacities, & Finance)

Rob Wheeler, UN Representative, Commons Cluster & Global Ecovillage Network

Alanna Hartzok, General Secretary & Administrative Director, International Union for Land Value Taxation

George Collins, UN Representative, International Union for Land Value Taxation & Retired Director, Henry George School


The issue paper on Municipal Finance includes much good and important analysis and information. Unfortunately, however, it gives short shrift to one of the most important opportunities for increasing public revenue, land value taxation, even while recognizing that, “Most cities in the developing world still rely heavily on transfers and grants and a great deal of effort is being made to reduce this dependency on central government. The structure of local revenues show that property tax is potentially a good source of local revenues but in most developing cities, property tax represents less than 3-4% of local revenues, compared to 40- 50% in cities in Australia, Canada, France, UK and the US.”

It would have been good if the paper had then talked about why property taxes can be a good source of revenue, how they can be beneficial in replacing other taxes, the types of property taxes that are most needed, and how they can best be applied, etc. and hopefully this will be included in the Policy Paper. 

It goes without saying but the main challenge in being able to advance sustainable urban development is probably that of raising the funding and resources needed to be able to make the required investments, particularly in the developing world. Likewise one of the best practices and systems that could be imagined in order to raise such revenues would be to institute Land Value Taxation (LVT). 

There are numerous examples where cities have successfully applied such a policy that show how well it can work. Similarly both the UN Habitat founding document and the Habitat II Outcome Agreement recommend applying these policies. The Vancouver Action Plan – the 1976 founding document for UN- Habitat (UNCHS) says: 

“Social justice, urban renewal and development, the provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole…. Excessive profits resulting from the increase in land value due to development and change in use are one of the principal causes of the concentration of wealth in private hands.”

“Taxation should not be seen only as a source of revenue for the community but also as a powerful tool to encourage development of desirable locations, to exercise a controlling effect on the land market and to redistribute to the public at large the benefits of the unearned increase in land values… The unearned increment resulting from the rise in land values resulting from change in use of land, from public investment or decision or due to the general growth of community must be subject to appropriate recapture by public bodies (the community).” 

This analysis still holds true today and is the kind of information that should have been included in the issues paper and now ought to be included and further discussed in the policy paper. 

Indeed we, in the NGO Major Groups Commons Cluster and in the International Union on Land Value Taxation, would suggest that one of the best means for raising funds to provide social services, invest in infrastructure development and to provide for basic human needs, particularly in urban areas, would be to take taxes off of buildings and to place them on the valuation of land instead – thus land value taxation. This could then provide an enormous amount of money for infrastructure development and the provision of basic services, which results from the rapidly increasing value of land, particularly in urban areas, as development processes occur. It has been estimated that land value is rated to be as much as a third of GNP. 

Under such policies taxes on labor and productive capital can and should be reduced or eliminated entirely and instead the unearned income and surplus profits accruing to the commons of surface land and natural resources should be recycled back to the community to pay for goods and services needed by society as a whole. 

It is widely acknowledged that when a city or community invests in public amenities and improvements the land value in the surrounding area rises quite dramatically. Through the use of Land Value Taxation that added value coming from such improvements can be captured and returned to the community. Indeed the fees collected can even pay for the costs of such improvements to be made over the longer term. LVT also results in providing improved living conditions, growth in the economy and jobs, infill development, and reduced costs for infrastructure development, etc. In all it is a win-win policy that gets most of the incentives right. 

In conclusion, the issues paper on finance needs to be amended and strengthened, thus showing the value and benefits that can come from LVT policies, as was addressed in the 1976 and 1996 agreements. 

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Sat, August 8, 2015 at 04.38 am

I agree with the need to apply LVT to finance development and maintenance of public spaces.This is also coincides with the  current years focus  HABITAT  day. 

Property Tax(PT) is the mainstay of municipal finance.However due to historical reasons its base is largely frozen.Yet,appreciable efforts have been made to  liberate the base from subjective assessments and exemptions.Dubai Award of Best Practices was given to path breaking Indian experience on UnitArea Method starting from Patna followed by most indian cities.Still a large no of proprties are outside the PT net.

We have to adopt a four pronged strategy:

  • Cover all propertiesusing GIS and self assessment along with removal of exemptions.
  • Apply other land based tools such as Velorisation,Betterment Levy,Impact fee,Exactions,Land Value Increment Tax.
  • Stimulate Revenue mobilisation from municipal assets inclding land and open spaces
  • Use local elasticity to leaverage funds in a participatory manner
Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Sat, August 8, 2015 at 04.40 am

I agree   with the need to apply LVT to finance development and maintenance of public spaces.This also coincides with the  current years focus  HABITAT  day. 

Property Tax(PT) is the mainstay of municipal finance.However due to historical reasons its base is largely frozen.Yet,appreciable efforts have been made to  liberate the base from subjective assessments and exemptions.Dubai Award of Best Practices was given to path breaking Indian experience on UnitArea Method starting from Patna followed by most indian cities.Still a large no of proprties are outside the PT net.

We have to adopt a four pronged strategy:

  • Cover all propertiesusing GIS and self assessment along with removal of exemptions.
  • Apply other land based tools such as Velorisation,Betterment Levy,Impact fee,Exactions,Land Value Increment Tax.
  • Stimulate Revenue mobilisation from municipal assets inclding land and open spaces
  • Use local elasticity to leaverage funds in a participatory manner
Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from
Sat, August 1, 2015 at 01.42 am

Dear Colleagues ,

To facilitate access , I am attaching the two main files mentioned in my previous suggestion :

1- What development do we want?

2- Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry,

I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br



                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

knut inhabitant of a city challenged by austerity from Germany
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 09.48 pm

One important challenge to achieve sustainability and cities for all is austerity.

Austerity policies (for instance as elements of structural adjustment policies) imposed on many countries and cities by governments, international agencies, supranational institutions and international treaties substantially reduced the provision of decent housing and other basic services and had an extremely negative impact on equity and liveability of human settlements….

says the German NGO statement:


Huairou Commission
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 08.32 pm

Dear Colleagues,

Here the Huairou Commission’s consolidated responses on Urban Frameworks.

Nelson Saule Júnior Lawyer , Gereral Coordinator from Brazil
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 06.49 pm

The Global Platform for the Right to the City emerged from the initiative of several organizations working on the theme around the world towards a new paradigm for urban  development, more inclusive and democratic. Like ActionAid; Avina Foundation ; Brazilian Association of Municipalities; )Cities Alliance; Global Fund for the Cities Development (FMDV); Ford Foundation;Brazilian National Urban Reform Forum); Habitat for Humanity; Habitat International Coalition(HIC); International Alliance of Inhabitants;Pólis Institute; Shack Slum Dwellers International (SDI); Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory
Democracy and Human Rights (UCGLU);WIEGO – Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing.

We defend the right to the city is the main concept to developement  the urban law and urban legislation with propose to building justies , inclusive e democratic cities

We understand The right to the city like opposed to the current model of urban development, in which prevails a neoliberal logic that benefits the economic interests of the minority groups. This logic allows the commercialization of the urban land, the gentrification of traditional and popular neighborhoods, the privatization of collective spaces and the use of public funds to promote major infrastructure, with the consequent marginalization, criminalization and expulsion of large sectors of the population. All of this undermining the development of decentralized, inclusive and sustainable cities that ensure job opportunities, health, education, leisure and culture in its different neighborhoods. 

For the implementations the right to the city to build just, democratic and sustainable cities in necessary to adopt the next principles: the social function of land /property and the city; democratic management of the territory; the right to produce the habitat and economy for life (not for accumulation, speculation and profit); responsible and sustainable management of common (natural, energy, historic and cultural) assets; and equal enjoyment of public spaces and community facilities.

The right to the city also includes the need of a framework for the decentralization of public administration (office, technical ability, resources) and an active role of local authorities, ensuring democratic and participatory mechanisms in decision-making processes. 

Local governments’ role is to ensure all citizens the right to the city. Public policies must correspond the population’s needs and aspirations. It is essential that local public authorities assure institutionalized spaces that facilitate citizens’ participation in public administration. This participation should be wide, direct, equitable and democratic.

Citizens should be included and consulted in all stages of the decision-making process: planning, preparation, approval, investment decisions, project management and implementation, and evaluation. Governments must also ensure transparency and access to information to the population in order to facilitate monitoring and accountability.

Civil society and social movements participation in public governance is essential to define a comprehensive and integrated analysis of public policies for the territory. Besides representing the interests of the population before public authorities, these participation models may also play a management role of public services along with the government.

                Once the main existing models of civil society participation in territory management are identified (for example: popular initiative bills and urban development plans, citizen mobilization platforms, etc.), it is possible to assess civil society interaction with local authorities and how its actions will complement the institutional mechanisms developed by the government. It is important to observe which are the main obstacles for civil society participation in public management to better understand how to overcome them.

Nicole Bohrer Program Associate from United States
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 06.01 pm

Dear all, please find attached responses to issue papers 5,6,7 – with a particular focus on gender – from members of the Huairou Commission Network.

Cardiff University
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.33 pm

Dear All

Thank you for this rich and interesting dialogue, and to Marco’s moderation. I would like to add some further comments. 

Local government has a critical role to play in urban frameworks, but is often under-funded and poorly respected, and lacks capacity and resources to fulfill its potential.  At the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, which I edit, we receive papers from around the globe about problems of leadership, transparency and accountability, resourcing (particularly problems of property rating and taxation), gender-equity, public access and many other issues.  Unless we realise the potential of local government as an invaluable resource for promoting urban equity, sustainability, safety and resilience we will never achieve inclusive cities.  It is a pity that local government has so little formal space in the Habitat III processes.

LED has been a subject of much debate in this discussion, but why are the efforts of micro-enterprises, small-scale businesses often operating in the urban informal economy, often excluded from LED debates? In many cities the informal (non-agricultural) economy provides 50%-80% of urban jobs and an third to a half of urban GDP, according to well-researched figures by WIEGO and the ILO.  Job-creation is key, otherwise why are we developing local economies.  For example the ‘Urban Governance’ issue paper is ambivalent about informal systems of service provision, despite the job-creation potential and urban services that these provide.  Yet, Brazilian cities have shown how inclusion of waste-pickers in municipal service delivery can improve working conditions and social protection and provide much-needed urban services.  The paper also argues that ‘tax evasion produced by the informal economy … is one of the major threats to good governance’. In practice, informal businesses often pay considerable amounts both officially and unofficially in taxes, licenses or daily fees, including bribes and protection money.  The problem is for local governments to eliminate the need for payments to non-state actors by providing effective legal protection in exchange for existing taxes and fees, produce transparent accounting, and to provide identifiable benefits in return.  If urban financing must now depend on increasingly on internal resources, as the Addis conference concluded, getting this equation right is key.

The post from Palastine made some interesting suggestions about the role of social accountability to promote transparency and inclusion.  Many cities have been experimenting with ‘right to the city’ agendas, both as charters (such as Montreal), and in urban legislation – as in Brazil and Ecuador.  This provides a two-way contract between local governments and their citizenry in which both rights and responsibilities can be established.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes from Brazil
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 04.24 pm

Esteemed Colleagues:

I am a public prosecutor and manager of strategic projects of the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

               In Brazil, the Public Ministry/Public Prosecutor’s Office has very broad constitutional powers, prioritizing, and often fostering, cooperation networks, in order to serve, not only the consequences of society’s problems, but also the causes.

In the search for effectiveness, sustainability, equity and peace, internal and external, and taking into account the causes of the growing disregard for nature and dignity (own and others) are systemic, ie, arising from interdependent relationships between various components of Environment, believed to be important for the development of the methodology of Systemic Planning and Management action (PGS). 

This is because this method allows, from the focus priority chosen and emphasizing the family context, vision, and resource integration, multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary. Focus priority can be established, for example, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the thematic topics for the New Urban Agenda (social cohesion and equity, urban frameworks, spatial development, urban economy and urban ecology and environment), and, more specifically, in a flooding, in the construction of a hydroelectric plant, in the health of vulnerable populations, (native Brazilians, homeless people, people affected by ecological catastrophes), in the improvement in the quality of life of the population of certain slum and etc.. Thus, one can establish what to do, and who, where and when / why and how to map and integrate all these components. Therefore, it is important to be perceived a common mission, to be implemented with the assistance of the physiological, psychological (safety, belonging and self-esteem) and self-fulfillment, generating commensurate impacts on the three pillars of sustainability (economic, social – health, education, citizenship and security – and the environment) and through cooperation networks. Thus, public effects are produced by adding value to sustainable activities.

            This common mission, envisioned as public purpose, requires and favors the formation of cooperation networks for systemic action, allowing the integration of the three sectors (public, private and civil society) and the whole community. This context favors democracy, participatory and representative, providing Harmonic and Sustainable Development (DHS), the consciousness of unity and survival of all living beings.

Increasingly, it requires the cooperation of every part. However, sometimes, when making planning and management of public policy, we do not see the importance of integration, too, with the Justice System. In case of ineffectiveness of public policy (often due to a linear actuation – not realizing the interconnections), the Justice System undoubtedly will intervene, directly affecting the course of development that we want (something that can be evidenced by example, the “judicialization of health”). In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the state judiciary fostered Systemic Planning and Management action in all municipalities. In Brazil, the National Judicial Forum for Monitoring and Resolution of demands in Health Care and the National Health Forum under the National Council of the Public Ministry are giving support for Systemic Planning and Management action.

The Systemic Planning and Management action has achieved many positive results. Therefore, we are building, with the National Confederation of Municipalities, the document: Systemic Planning and Management action focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and HABITAT III. HOW implement the ODS in the local community and in the context of the HABITAT III

We believe that this document can contribute to implementation of ODS and for the preparation of New Urban agenda. The document will be available at the following address: rodrigoschoeller.blogspot.com.br, in early September (including an English version).

            Further information can be obtained in the following materials – at the same address and:

1- What development do we want? – (an English version can be found on the link)


2- A Map On The Way  (an English version can be found on the link)


3-  Lecture Values, Systemic Planning, and Management and Public Ministry


4- Lecture at the World Conference about Development of Cities


5-  La Gestion and PGS


6-  Primer on PGS action focusing on Health, 2015 version.


I hope that the documents, which are public domain, can contribute in some way.

Rodrigo Schoeller de Moraes,

Public Prosecutor,

Manager Strategic Projects of the Public Prosecutors Office/Public Ministry. 

E-mail: rsmoraes@mp.rs.gov.br



                + 55 51 9628-4254      

                + 55 51 3295-1050    

Climate Change Centre Reading
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 03.28 pm

Comments, OVERVIEW Issue Paper 1, 6, 11 and 17
Youth conclusions and inclusion and resilience in the New Urban Agenda based on three years project with placemaking and climate change coverage. Why?  The youth is our future and their need for protective shelter in a changing climate, first and foremost. This requires multidisciplinary climate action across multilevel jurisdictional boundaries…

Dear the Habitat III Secretariat, 
Sponsor, Support and Share this International call for a Monthly Car-Free Work-Day Planet proposal.
Let´s make this a global #AirQuality reality!

Thank you for organising Habitat III and UrbanDialouges


Jose Siri Epidemiologist; urban health from Malaysia
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 01.26 pm

Dear All,

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the papers in the Urban Frameworks section. My Institute, the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, is particularly concerned with both urban health and governance for health at scales from global to local. One point of emphasis is that urban development should be human-centered, and particularly, should focus on the health and wellbeing of citizens as first among a plurality of important development objectives.

I have only a small comment to add to the fruitful discussion here. Recognizing that the three papers here aim to set forth general principles, it seems that a slight shift in, or at least expansion of the conceptualization of the goals of development to embrace health would be warranted. For example, the paper on urban law lists, among the key functions of towns and cities, “…urban planning, municipal finance, urban land administration and management, infrastructure provision, mobility and local economic development…”  but not health. The paper on governance mentions a wide variety of outcomes which governance must support, including economic and social development, efficiency, security, sustainability, resilience, climate change, ecosystems and diversity… but not health.

It is clear that the intent is not to marginalize health—just the opposite, a concern for human wellbeing clearly underscores the texts—yet making the connections to health explicit couldn’t hurt, and indeed, might help.  Past experience shows that an emphasis on economic development does not necessarily lead to improved outcomes; conversely, an emphasis on health and wellbeing over the long term will always encompass other development objectives.


José Siri

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Fri, July 31, 2015 at 12.23 pm

I would like to finally thank UNHABITAT for providing this unique opportunity to interact with a cross section of experts on specific issues of urbanisation and urban development.It has been an excellent revisiting of our own experience.At the same time a fairly diversified view has emerged on critical issues for HabitatIII.There is no doubt that this is not the end but begening of a continuing process of Habitat .

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 02.49 pm

x-posting with urban economy is highly relevant .However we may add:

  • Sustainable finance for local government will emerge from larger utilisation of city resource pool(own sources) which is highly underutilised due to several factors.
  • Sectoral policy and support is inevitable because LED has multiplier and cascading effect  and interconnectivity  with  regionaland national economy.
  • Competitive sector has to be promoted in the background of traditional skills and productivity and industrial location and development policy.
  • Technical expertise with local government is must along with intergovernmental facilitation and support.
  • Size is important .Yet we have to see development /emergence of service centres to the rural hinterland.
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 12.59 pm

Cross-Posting with Urban Economy Dialogue 

LED: No templates but general guidelines needed

Dear all,
Thanks for very insighful contributions, I think we are in broad agreements. There is no template for LED with one size fitting all, but we have some common components on LED:

1. Sustainable Finance for the local government is needed. 

2. Sectoral Policy and Support is necessary provided by the local, but also by the central government.

3. Competitive sectors must be in place, in the urban areas and as urban-rural linkages.

This must be present in all instances. And of course, this requires certain level of technical expertise within the local governments, as well as a private sector clearly commited to generate competitiveness rather than just rents.

Size is also important as agglomeration will not generate positive externalities in very small settings. This is frequantly repeated, and we know and agree, but sometimes it is difficult to say it aloud when politics come to the table.

Would you comment if we can have a general framework for LED: finance, sectoral support and competitiveness?

Fasiha Farrukh contributor at UN Women Asia & The Pacific from Pakistan
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 01.40 pm

For a general framework, it is very crucial that a committee or department must be formed for Urban Development that will take suggestions or proposals on projects, study them, compare them with the allocated budget, choose the most feasible project and compare it with the closed budgeted project.

Governments must have a stern check and balance on all the tenders that they recieve about the material, time span, and the finance that they are going to apply on any project. The LED must not only high with the quality, but it is economically viable too. The factor of transperancy is very importnat in the overall process to avoid any sort of corruption on these urban development projects.

By motivating new companies or existing ones, we can get the economically competitive proposals, which will help us in choosing the best one and giving the development work in the hands of experienced ones.

Governments need to make sure that the projects stay politics free and if there are any, then they need to be located and adressed on time instead of affecting the development process. This is only possible when there is a third party looking after the projects as an independent entity. This way, the transparncy will also be there.

Mailan Thai from Switzerland
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 08.45 am

Following GIZ’ comment on social accountability and participatory urban governance I would like to add that sustainable urban governance must reflect the voices of those who are governed to address the most relevant governance issues. Today’s reality is that migrants and their families move to cities and IOM’s World Migration Report (2015 forthcoming) shows this will increasingly be the case: cities grow because of migration, and urban planning and governance without taking migrant’s voices into account lack the capacity to develop concrete solutions that recognizes how migrants transform, expand and diversify a city. Often cities in developing countries with weak capacities in urban planning and governance which already struggle to provide basic services for their residents are overwhelmed and lack response mechanisms for great influxes of migrants due to conflicts, environmental disasters etc…  Including migration in urban policy making will not only make cities more resilient and enable cities to respond to the physical, social and economic challenges that increasing urban migration poses, but in the long run will also allow cities to harness the potential and benefits associated with migration. Cities of migration: https://citiesofmigration.ca/good-ideas-in-integration/ is an interesting website which showcases good ideas for urban governance and planning of cities with a view to address and include their migrant population.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH LGRP
Thu, July 30, 2015 at 09.07 am

Our team, the GIZ Local Governance Reform Programme (LGRP) in Palestine, would like to add some comments about the Urban Governance issue paper. Over the recent years, the concept of social accountability has become a central element in the international strife for better governance and improved basic service delivery. Through social accountability mechanisms, nearly all aspects of municipal activity can be tailored to the actual needs of citizens and thereby improved. “Social accountability is a form of accountability which emerges from actions by citizens and civil society organization (CSOs) aimed at holding the state to account, as well as efforts by governments and other actors (media, private sector, donors) to support these actions.”(UNDP 2010). Hence, social accountability is the overarching theme for many concepts of Urban Governance such as civil society participation, sustainable development, access to political representation, formalization of the provision of basic services, decentralization, capacity building, transparency, and performance monitoring. Due to the comprehensiveness of the concept of social accountability, it has become a guiding element at the World Bank, UNDP, and other international agencies. The media plays a crucial role in this form of accountability, as they act as a watchdog and disseminator of information on government actions and basic service delivery on the local level.

Although the Habitat III Issue Paper 6 on Urban Governance targets the most important issues concerning urban governance, it is omitting the overarching concept of social accountability, which could combine most of the urban governance issues into an integrated approach. The importance of citizen participation is explicitly mentioned in the issue paper, however, we would like to stress the significance of participation in the context of urban governance. Citizen participation is crucial to identify the most important governance issues, to monitor service provision, and to legitimize government actions.

In the Palestinian Territories GIZ LGRP supports a social accountability ranking scheme at the Palestinian MDLF (Municipal Development and Lending Fund), which encourages the implementation of social accountability tools, such as social audits, participatory budgeting, and citizen report cards on a local level through a ranking mechanism. Where it has been implemented, social accountability significantly improved local governance and the living conditions of citizens.

UNDP, 2010: Fostering Social Accountability. A Guidance Note, available at: 

Fasiha Farrukh contributor at UN Women Asia & The Pacific from Pakistan
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 11.49 pm

In most of the developing urban cities, the infrastructure & regulations are the main isssues. They are rotten from the core which means that you need to devise a whole plan which will fix the system step by step. At the very first, the development work’s implementation must be properly done and the tenders must be issued to the authentic companies or developers. Most of the time, the plans look very attractive on paper, but unfrotunately, due to the poor implementation of those plans, the whole infrastructure plus planning gets affected which results in loss of economy, problems to the citizens, loss in their confidence over the governments and the other psychological issues.

To get the solution of these problems, the government must focus on investing in the basic needs of people like security, cleanliness, health, education, food security, jobs, etc. This will be a step wise process in which every project has to be prioritized and fulfill with the greater responsibility. That way, may be we can achieve the desired results.

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Wed, July 29, 2015 at 02.46 pm

Metropolitan governance is an important issue which needs due attention.Currentlyit is observed in India that states(provicial governments)have a policy to go slow on governance reforms in the metro region.Metroppolitan Planning committees as incorporated by 74 Constitution Amendment have not been created or whereever created(Mumbai)are nor able to expedite their work in a right context of distributional and jurisdictional aspects.

Right forum of local government has to be created to address metro governance in a regional context.Multiplicity of agencies and dilution of city government is a serious issue.Barcelona provides a model to adapt suitably in a local context.Alternate arrangements need to be devised through a forum of municipalities and institution for services needing planning and management across the region like transport,waste disposal disaster management etc.

Tue, July 28, 2015 at 06.02 am

Comment from Zulma Bolivar de Vecchi.

Gobernabilidad de las Areas Metropolitanas / Governance of Metropolitan areas

La Venezuela de hoy vive momentos muy particulares donde la descentralizacion y el fortalecimiento de los gobierno locales se ha visto debilitada por politicas de estado centralistas y poco efectivas que han sumerjido a nuestras ciudades y sus ciudadanos en un creciente estado ingobernabilidad que nos lleva a aun aumento significativo de la  pobreza y la marginalidad.

Partimos del hecho de que la gobernabilidad es una expresión del compromiso y acción constante del gobierno por fortalecer la coordinación de las actuaciones de las autoridades locales junto a los diversos actores que hacen vida en la ciudad, empresarios, academia, comunidades y organizaciones civiles no gubernamentales, en favor de una visión compartida, donde se prioriza hacer de nuestras ciudades  espacios para la vida. Gobernabilidad se refiere al grado en el que las relaciones entre actores estratégicos se desempeñan dentro de fórmulas estables y mutuamente aceptadas.

La realidad nos muestra que para alcanzar el objetivo planteado, es necesaria una estrategia que trascienda de lo técnico a lo político; del ámbito público a lo privado; una tarea que requiere de toda la trama institucional que genera políticas urbanas y gestiona servicios en la ciudad; que se sustente en un proceso de construcción de ciudadanía, donde todos y cada uno de los actores juegan un rol en favor de mejorar y enaltecer la ciudad. En el caso del  Area Metropolitana de Caracas, capital de la Republica de Venezuela se hace mas que evidente que, la sola existencia de instituciones representativas no garantiza el logro de las condiciones de gobernabilidad necesita.

Concientes de que la procura de niveles aceptables de gobernabilidad en un área metropolitana, no es responsabilidad unilateral del sistema de gobierno allí asentado sino de la interacción entre el Estado y la Sociedad. Proponemos que el diseño institucional para el manejo de un área metropolitana incorpore no solo los elementos normativos-jurídicos o de estructura de gobierno, sino, sobre todo, la capacidad y poder político para la incorporación de la sociedad representada y sus fórmulas de asociación.

Efectivamente la Alcaldía del Área Metropolitana y las administraciones locales que operan en el ámbito de la ciudad de Caracas deben trabajar por una sola ciudad, donde los límites político administrativos no constituyan obstáculos para una gestión eficiente. Una ciudad sostenible, en movimiento, productiva, emprendedora, segura e integrada, una ciudad de ciudadanos.  La idea es remar todos juntos con fuerza, en una misma dirección hacia un mismo objetivo, con metas claras a corto, mediano y largo plazo.

Pensamos que es necesario establecer un marco institucional estable, menos dependiente de la coyuntura o de la buena voluntad de los actores políticos y que dote a la Alcaldía Metropolitana de las competencias y recursos adecuados para cumplir con el objetivo fijado en la Constitución. La gestión pública con base en la planificación se inicia en Venezuela en 1958 con la creación de la Oficina Central de Coordinación y Planificación de la Presidencia de la República (Decreto Ley Nº 492) y se reafirma su importancia como función fundamental del Estado al consagrarse en el Artículo 299 de la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela que establece la necesidad de “…una planificación estratégica democrática, participativa y de consulta abierta.”

El Estado venezolano ha promulgado varias leyes que han tenido como materia fundamental la organización de la planificación como herramienta fundamental de gestión. El Decreto con Rango, Valor y Fuerza de Ley Orgánica de Participación Pública y Popular desarrolla la planificación como una tecnología del Estado y la sociedad, para lograr su cambio estructural. En tal sentido, la planificación se establece como práctica para transformar y construir nuevas realidades con la capacidad de alcanzar propósitos, interpretar intereses de la sociedad e incorporar, en las deliberaciones presentes, las necesidades de las generaciones futuras.

Paralelamente, con la promulgación de la Ley Especial del Régimen Municipal a Dos Niveles del Área Metropolitana de Caracas se da cumplimiento al Artículo 18 de la Constitución de la República y conforma el Área Metropolitana de Caracas como como unidad político-territorial de los municipios que la integran. Con ello, el Estado venezolano trasciende organización política tradicional con la creación de nuevas formas de articulación y de gestión pública. Esta experiencia, inédita en el país, de conformación de una unidad político territorial en un gobierno municipal a dos niveles demanda la creación de una institucionalidad sui generis, exclusiva de dicha unidad político territorial para el cumplimiento de las competencias que tiene atribuida.

Sin embargo, el Area Metropolitana de Caracas, carece de un regimen urbano-legal que logre armonizar necesidades y recursos, planificacion y gestion, coordinacion de esfuerzos entre los distintos nivles de gobierno y concertacion de voluntades en pro del beneficio colectivo.

Desde el Instituto Metropolitano de Urbanismo Taller Caracas, instituto autonomo adscrito a la Alcaldia del Area Metropolitana de Caracas pensamos que para alcanzar la gobernabilidad deseada y desarrollar una gestion eficiente, hace falta consolidar un marco normativo que sirva de base a la planificación metropolitana para lograr que los recursos y acciones públicas asociadas con el progreso de la ciudad se asignen y realicen de manera planificada y se encausen hacia los fines y objetivos políticos, sociales, culturales, urbanos y urbanísticos, ambientales y económicos, sustentados en nuestra Carta Magna.

Un Sistema Metropolitano de Planificación que haga explícitas referencias a los planes y horizontes temporales de la planificación y fortalezca las capacidades rectoras y estratégicas del Área Metropolitana de Caracas promoviendo, mediante mecanismos efectivos la participación social, a fin de asegurar una planificación estratégica, democrática, participativa y de consulta abierta prevista en el artículo 299 de la Constitución de la República, en el Decreto con Rango, Valor y Fuerza de Ley Orgánica de Participación Pública y Popular, en la Ley Orgánica del Poder Público Municipal y en la Ley Especial del Régimen Municipal a Dos Niveles del Área Metropolitana de Caracas.

Un sistema de planificación pública metropolitana con innovadoras figuras de planificación y que desarrolle un modelo de ciudad democrática, solidaria y en armonía con su entorno, en la que los ciudadanos disfruten de la calidad de vida que les garantiza el Estado de Derecho. Sobre en ciudades como la nuestra donde casi la mitad de la poblacion habita en sectores informales, con grandes deficits de servicios de red y de equipamientos y altos nivles de pobreza. Proponemos desarrollar un sistema integrado de planes, que bajo los lineamientos establecidos en la normativa legal vigente comprenda planes estratégicos y operativos , con amplia participacion de todos los actores que hacen vida en la ciudad.

 Quedo a la espera de sus comentarios

Fernando Intern / Student
Tue, July 28, 2015 at 02.23 pm

Quisiera continuar la discusión acerca de la gobernanza metropolitana mencionando algunas ideas sobre el caso de México, en donde en los últimos años se han llevado a cabo algunos esfuerzos para una gestión más eficiente de las ciudades; aunque siguen existiendo grandes retos en materia de gobernanza metropolitana.

  • Retos en materia de gobernanza metropolitana

– Es más complejo crear esquemas de cooperación institucionalizada –como serían gobiernos metropolitanos- en países federalistas que en los países unitarios o centralistas. En México, el marco legal, a través del artículo 115 de la Constitución, prohíbe la existencia de una autoridad intermedia entre el Municipio y el Estado, lo que hace imposible la creación de un gobierno metropolitano. No obstante, algunas ciudades han llevado a cabo esfuerzos para lidiar con esta complejidad con la creación de autoridades metropolitanas para la provisión de ciertos servicios a una ciudad, como transporte o agua, aunque los resultados son inciertos. En algunas zonas metropolitanas como Guadalajara o León, se han conformado Institutos Metropolitanos de Planeación, lo cual sin duda representa una buena iniciativa de coordinación.

– Los desbalances horizontales -en cuanto a capacidades y recursos- entre municipios hacen la gestión metropolitana aún más complicada. En Aguascalientes, por ejemplo, la zona metropolitana está conformada únicamente por tres municipios, de los cuales el municipio principal concentra alrededor del 75% de la población estatal, al igual que la mayoría de los recursos y capacidades para la planeación, mientras que los dos municipios restantes carecen de los instrumentos necesarios para el desarrollo urbano sustentable. Esto ha provocado que el municipio principal subestime la necesidad y los beneficios de la coordinación metropolitana, y ha generado que el desarrollo urbano haya comenzado a expandirse, sin una planificación eficiente, a los municipios contiguos en donde las regulaciones son menos estrictas, los impuestos a la propiedad son menores, y los costos para el desarrollo urbano son más bajos.

– Otro gran reto en cuanto a la administración de las ciudades en México son los cortos periodos municipalesde tres años sin reelección inmediata, lo cual dificulta la continuidad de las políticas urbanas y complica la coordinación metropolitana entre alcaldes con distintos periodos administrativos. Positivamente, una reforma política aprobada en el 2013 permitirá la reelección inmediata de alcaldes, a partir del 2018, para un periodo adicional -6 años máximo, lo cual podría facilitar la coordinación entre municipios.

  • Esfuerzos en materia de coordinación

– En el año 2012 el Gobierno Federal creó una nueva Secretaría de Desarrollo Agrario, Territorial y Urbano, con el fin de agrupar y liderar a las diversas instituciones de la administración pública federal que trabajan en asuntos urbanos (vivienda, ordenamiento territorial, etc.). Sin duda es un esfuerzo positivo para impulsar la coordinación sistémica horizontal y vertical, disminuir la duplicidad de funciones, y promover la planeación intersectorial.

– Adicionalmente se crearon programas de subsidios para promover la densificación de las ciudades e intentar contener la expansión horizontal. A través de mecanismos financieros ahora se otorgan mayores subsidios a desarrollos habitacionales intraurbanos ubicados en áreas consolidadas y con equipamiento adecuado. Si bien este esquema no es perfecto, sobretodo en la manera en que se delimitan las distintas áreas acreedoras a subsidios, significa un esfuerzo importante para el desarrollo urbano sustentable. Al ser implementado por el gobierno central a través de organismos estatales, quizás hace falta incorporar a los municipios más en el proceso de diseño, monitoreo y evaluación de la política.

  • Propuestas para una gestión más eficiente de las ciudades y zonas metropolitanas

– A continuación quisiera retomar y poner a discusión algunas propuestas de la OCDE y el Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad A.C., en cuanto a marcos para la gobernanza urbana y metropolitana en México:

– Fusiones institucionales en el largo plazo para disminuir la duplicidad de funciones y aprovechar los recursos de manera más eficiente.

– Impulsar la planeación intersectorial a través del establecimiento de redes institucionales para llegar a acuerdos para el desarrollo urbano; o incluso establecer un consejo nacional para la coordinación del desarrollo urbano.

– Promover la creación de instituciones metropolitanas que puedan ser responsables de la coordinación para la prestación de servicios públicos (transporte, agua, manejo de residuos) y de la planeación urbana; en las cuales la participación de los gobiernos centrales y regionales puede facilitar la cooperación entre municipios.

– Generar incentivos para las ciudades para asegurar suficientes recursos financieros para el desarrollo urbano, ya que actualmente los municipios en México son altamente dependientes de las transferencias federales. Algunas medidas para discusión pudieran ser: ampliar las fuentes de ingresos propios a través de la reforma al impuesto predial y las cuotas de los usuariosmejorar la equidad del sistema de transferencias;  y promover las asociaciones público privadas.

– Promover la profesionalización de los gobiernos municipales para aumentar la capacidad de la elaboración e implementación de políticas mediante procesos de reclutamiento en base a méritos, certificaciones de competencias profesionales, capacitación, generar la posibilidad de carrera en la administración municipal, etc.

– Homologar la normatividad entre los municipios que conforman una zona metropolitana. En lugar de seguir apoyando la creación de institutos municipales de planeación, el gobierno central puede ayudar acrear institutos metropolitanos de planeación, blindados de los ciclos políticos, con servicio profesional de carrera, suficientes atribuciones y con el apoyo de los gobiernos estatales.

– Simplificar y armonizar el complejo sistema de planeación territorial; será necesario articular e integrar los instrumentos municipales para ampliarlos a nivel metropolitano.

– Para el fortalecimiento de la gobernanza metropolitana, la federación debería poder intervenir directamente para cohesionar el desarrollo de las grandes ciudades a través de un sólo instrumento de planeación, a manera de un Código Territorial, que sea aplicable a toda la ciudad. Esto podría empezar a hacerse con las grandes ciudades del país, integrando en dicho instrumento todos los temas relacionados con la oferta del suelo (ej. tenencia de la tierra, ordenamiento territorial, desarrollo urbano, vivienda y ordenamiento ecológico).

Documentos para una mayor discusion: 



Wed, July 29, 2015 at 10.35 am

Thank you to our participants for providing insights on two very interesting Latin American cases of metropolitan governance. From these two examples it is worth noting how context-specific legal frameworks may derive in different institutional arrangements and approaches for metropolitan governance, highlighting the fact that there may not be a one-size-fits-all approach to manage and coordinate metropolitan areas.

In this sense, it is interesting to read how metropolitan governance has been approached in Venezuela and Mexico; while Caracas has constituted a political-territorial metropolitan unit with a two-level municipal government; in Mexico, its constitution does not allow any intermediate authority between municipalities and states, and thus some cities have navigated through this legal environment by creating single-purpose metropolitan coordination authorities for the provision of basic services. Furthermore, both comments have also noted the need for simplifying and harmonizing the various planning instruments in place across municipalities of metropolitan areas by integrating them in metropolitan planning systems that look beyond political-administrative boundaries, which could eventually make coordination more efficient. In this sense, the creation of Metropolitan Planning Institutes may be also be a good first step towards metropolitan governance, which has already taken place in these two cases. Finally, generating incentives and mechanisms for cities to increase own-source revenue, as well as capacity-building and professionalizing municipal governments should indeed be part of the discussion around metropolitan governance across regions.

In this regard what other examples or proposals are worth analyzing further? How has metropolitan governance been approached in other cities and regions? We invite all participants to keep enriching this discussion by providing further insights of their respective cities. Comments and contributions can be posted in any preferred language!

Citizen’s Alliance for Sustainable Living (SUSTAIN)
Mon, July 27, 2015 at 04.02 am

Capacity building presupposes an institutional framework capable of undertaking the assigned tasks in a democratic and participatory manner. This means ULBs should be basically capable of performing the tasks assigned in the 12th Schedule (Article 243W) of the Constitution accompanying 74th Amendment that decentralises urban governance. These include Urban planning including town planning; Regulation of land-use and construction of buildings; Planning for economic and social development; Roads and bridges; Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes; Public health, sanitation conservancy and solid waste management; Fire services; Urban forestry, protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspects; Safeguarding interests of weaker sections of society, including the handicapped and mentally retarded; Slum improvement and upgradation; Urban poverty alleviation; Provision of urban amenities and facilities such as parks, gardens, playgrounds; Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects; Burials and burial grounds;   cremations, cremation grounds and electric crematoriums; Cattle pounds; prevention of cruelty to animals; Public amenities including street lighting, parking lots, bus stops and public conveniences; Regulation of slaughter houses and tanneries.

Out of these most key activities (Urban planning including town planning, Regulation of land-use, economic planning, major roads and bridges, Water supply for domestic, industrial and commercial purposes, Fire services,  Urban forestry, protection of the environment and promotion of ecological aspects,  Slum improvement and upgradation and Promotion of cultural, educational and aesthetic aspects) are being performed by parastatal and other state government agencies/departments. Under the JNNURM all these are to be transferred to ULBs over a period of five years with accountability platforms for all urban civic service providers in transition. Besides there should be “Public disclosure law” to ensure preparation of medium-term fiscal plans of ULBs and release of quarterly performance information to all stakeholders and “Community participation law” to institutionalise citizen’s participation in urban governance. These have not happened.

Yes capacity building is a must and should be a priority for efficient urban governance. But the institutional framework should be capable of assuming and imbibing the capacities and implement the assigned task. At present this is not so.

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Sun, July 26, 2015 at 12.08 pm

The issue of local government capacity is highly relevant.The pioneering programme of government of india could not fully succeed as during seven years of its tenure Cities could use barely 40 % of earmaked funds .They could not come up with demand/projects.Although backlog is abnormally high and sky is the limit for investment.

Therefore, municipal capacity building has got prime  concern and attention across the country.The Smart City Mission as per recent guidelines from government of India tries to evolve a system of SPV (special purpose vehicle)to have capacity to plan and implementprijects at local level.However,this approach as appears to be should not affect the role and importance of city government unless suitable corrective measures are taken.

Therefore capacity building shoud aim to strenghthen local role and belongingness.The goverment step in this regard needs su.itable care

Citizen’s Alliance for Sustainable Living (SUSTAIN)
Sun, July 26, 2015 at 07.21 am

I am M.G.Devasahayam from India (Chennai)
and a late entrant to this dialogue. As a practitioner of urban governance [former
Administrator, Chandigarh Capital Project; Director, Town & Country
Planning, Haryana; Chief Administrator, Haryana Urban Development Authority;
Facilitator, Sustainable Chennai Project; National Consultant, City Development
Plan (CDP), Chennai] and as someone involved in some of the process of India’s
Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission
(JNNURM) I have some thoughts to offer on urban governance and institutional

 At the launch of JNNURM in 2005 it was recognized
that Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) lack inherent capacities, both financial and
technical and are still being seen as ‘wards’ of the State governments. This
was a major flaw since efficiency of urban governance and delivery of services,
particularly basic services depends on the efficacy of institutions of governance
that should be vested with adequate powers, responsibilities and finance to run
urban governments.

 This was the core
purpose of 74th Constitution Amendment (1992) with great foresight for
decentralization of power to the urban local bodies. This has not happened and
there is no worthwhile urban government in the Indian context. This has led to
an untenable situation – rapid urbanization has not only outpaced
infrastructure development, but has also brought in its train a terrible
downside – proliferating slums, increasing homelessness, growing urban poverty
and crime, of relentless march of pollution and ecological damage.

A major failure of city governance is lack of involvement in
the urban economy and inability to address the needs of the poor – basic
services like drinking water, sanitation, housing and transport are not
available to an increasing share of urban population. This is mainly because
these disbursed and decentralized requirements are sought to be met through
centralized solutions that are expensive and unsustainable. In spite of urbanization
being an important driver of economic growth and bridge between the domestic
economy and the global economy ULBs have no role to play in tapping the latent
creativity and vitality of our cities and the people who live in them to
facilitate higher economic growth.

How is the peri-urban chaos (with myriads of Local Bodies)
to be resolved? That is where the ‘frenetic urbanization’ is taking place now!
How are governance issues going to be addressed in these ‘erupting volcanoes’
full of conflicts? How are environmental and sustainability aspects addressed
by ULBs? Does these entities have any role in managing the scarce resources –
particularly land, water and energy – consumed in large quantities by the ever
growing urban population?

urban governance’ is the mantra being chanted and JNNURM had this as a key
component. This called for civil society organisations and institutions taking
part in governance activities on a sustained basis. This did not happen and
cannot happen unless ULBs are fully democratied and its function decentralised.
There is also need to make institutional arrangements and frame rules and
procedures to facilitate civil society participation. But this is nowhere in
the horizon.

Though the broad agenda of urban reforms is to strengthen
democratic governance structures and decentralisation in urban local
government, national and state governments have not clearly articulated these
in their policies, rules and regulations. In the JNNURM papers presented by us and
CDP document prepared for Chennai we have addressed these issues and tried to find
workable solutions. We had also attempted a Chennai Blueprint incorporating
these solutions and suggesting an alternative institutional framework for ULBs.
These can be shared if there is scope in this dialogue.

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Sat, July 25, 2015 at 04.33 pm

Almost one week is left.I think now we should share some final points for HABITAT III.

Frame-work and finances need reorientation in the context of changing urban scenario in north and south.Sustainability and  adequate use of competitive edge to plan inclusive and productive growth pose a challenge to design urbanisation policies for 21 century.Some important points need due cognizance from concerned stakeholders:

National governments have to ply imortant role to guide,motivate,engage and support various stakeholders to initiate actions towards sustainable habitat.

Poverty alleviation/income and employment generation are cross cutting themes to be included for intergovernmental urban agenda across the globe.

Productivity and economic growth is not enough without inclusive urbanisation

Safe environment,cityzen centric services,disaster management  play complimentry role towards promotion of productivity and sustainability

Local Government holds the key for local actions-hence needs managerial and fiscal instruments to develop local solutions

Infrastructure,education,skills and health need to be a part of local actions

it will require massive investments for which liquidity,loan finance,creditworthyness of local govtsand ability to mobilise resources within the city need to be built.

Viability gap funding would be needed through local and intergovernmental resources.

Fiscal transfers should be rationalised in favour/as per of funds-functions at local level

Centro de Investigación de Política Pública y Territorio
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 10.24 pm

El 1 y 2 de julio, en Quito, y el 22 de julio en Guayaquil, se reunió la sociedad civil con cerca de 250 personas en total, para producir los documentos que se adjuntan a continuación, que responden preguntas de la realidad ecuatoriana sobre los retos de las normas urbanas, y que constituyen una base para la construcción de la Nueva Agenda Urbana.


Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Wed, July 22, 2015 at 03.25 pm

Marco has raised very important issue.

What Asian cities have achieved is now coming to Africa in terms of emerging competitive edge and invetment destination.China is leading the destination drive.Others will follow.

However,African cities have to prepare level playing field for investors.Infrastructure,skills and human capital-poor need to be given due attention.This includes more focus on decentralisation,financial inclusion ,governance reforms and spatial distribution of economic activities within Africa .

Africa on these points can better learn from good practices from Asia.How urban governance is improved?How poor are organised to provide income generation opportunities?how infrastrucure is improved/ need to be examined for adaptaton in African context.

Kodjo Esseim MENSAH-ABRAMPA from
Thu, July 23, 2015 at 03.04 pm

I cannot agree the more with Prof Pandey that African
countries are taking up the great experiences from Latin America and Asia to
improve urban competitiveness. Indeed decentralization, to a large extent, has
been implemented through statutes, policies and structures. There are however practical
challenges in areas such as functional delineation, expenditure assignment,
fiscal predictability and local accountability. The application of power and
authority, and decision-making in many urban areas therefore oscillates between
Central governments, sectors, Regional governments and Municipal governments.
This in many circumstances generates unpredictability, making them less
competitive and attractive particularly to investor (small & big). Local economic
development (LED) is the nouvelle strategy by many African cities promoted by many
UN organisations (ILO, UN-Habitat, UNDP, UNCDF), United Cities and Local
Governments of Africa (UCLGA) and Commonwealth local Governments Forum (CLGF).
LED does well and succeeds where there is a projection of effective economic governance – fiscal policy, transparency, accountability,
inclusive decision-making at the local level; National Urban Policy – setting up a link among the key elements –
comparative advantages of urban centres, expected role within the national system
and infrastructure requirement; Urban
Governance is not equal to Urban Administration
– Governance of African
urban centres should go beyond the administrative cordon to include elected
representatives the civil society, traditional leaders, organized groups
including youth, women, migrants, indigenous group and many others in decision-making.
May I dare to propose that Kigali, Lagos, Cape-Town, Addis are some of the cities
in Africa together with other secondary cities on the path we may be describing.
What then makes them tick?  Any lessons from Asia, LA to share?    

Wed, July 22, 2015 at 11.09 am

Dear all,

*Cross-posting with Urban Economy*

Thanks you for excellent contributions. On LED we haven’t discuss much about the regional differences. Cities in Latin American frequently want to implement industrial policies and sectoral support with mixed results.  In Asia cities are more succesful since they have support from central government and several institutions with intruments and program widely available. In Africa, depending on the city and context, sectoral support is less frequent and when done has not yield good results.  The issue is yes, LED is important, but it mjts be linked to a local revenue generation stategy otherwise we are just designing programs without funding and so, without clear stakeholders.  I would like to see some ideas on this.


Catherine Holt Toledo Consultant
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 05.45 pm

I think an aspect of informal settlements in urban development that is often avoided is the dynamics of relations with owners of the land being settled and settlers.  The tension that occurs between the owners and the settlers must be addressed. When talking about legal frameworks, we must acknowledge that owners also have legal rights. I would like to hear examples of how communities have successfully dealt with the balance of ownership and need for urban expansion and even some practices that have failed.

I know in the United States there is the policy of eminent domain in appropriating land for public use while compensating landowners.  However, it is not a perfect system and has lead to much controversy and dissention.

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Sat, July 18, 2015 at 03.21 pm

Tension between owners and settlers occupy a different dimension among countrieswhich have witnessed massive scale of illegal land subdivision.In such cases owners have sold land at a much higher rate than the likely compensation from public authorities which was received illegaly during the  initial process of acquisition .Yes it had informal understanding in the political economy(Leaders/Officials).

The real tension is between the settlers and local authorities which have immense pressure to provide services without suitable financing and cost recovery mechanism.

The popular support does not allow a viable solution.Bangaluru in india has a programme Krama Akrama putting disorder in some order. Delhi tried to levy fee for development of illegal land subdivision .However,due to various reasons these types of initiatives could not get a success.

recent initiatives of Government of india aiming on Smart Cities,Clean India Mission and basic services for small and medium towns have a focus to better understand the needs of settlers from informal sector.

Wed, July 22, 2015 at 02.41 pm

Dealing with the balance of ownership and need for urban expansion is indeed a highly pressing issue towards sustainable urban development. As it has been mentioned here, eminent domain in the United States is one approach to deal with this matter, by allowing the taking of land as long as the proposed development is intended for a public purpose; compensation is paid; and a fair process is followed. Other approaches, which require adequate legal systems, have been put into motion around the world, such as Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment, on which UN-Habitat has been actively working. (See more: https://unhabitat.org/participatory-and-inclusive-land-readjustment-pilar/).  Other approaches and techniques have been followed in many cities to address this issue, such as Community Benefit Agreements and Development Agreements. Can you help us think about further cases in which legal and governance mechanisms or adjustemnts have successfully helped balance ownership and the need for urban expansion?

Catherine Holt Toledo Consultant
Fri, July 17, 2015 at 05.09 pm

As many have commented, much urbanization has been organic with the development of informal settlements – i.e. unplanned.  Official governments are often not up to date on the latest developments or needs of these communities.  Grassroots women’s groups have been particularly effective in mapping these informal communities. Mapping puts grassroots women in the center of information collection by empowering them to undertake critical evaluations of the state of their communities.  They often recruit the entire community in assessing needs. They have real time information on vulnerabilities and resources in relation to different issues such as disaster, prevalence of HIV/AIDS or women’s access to and ownership of land and housing.  They are particularly well placed to identify or know about critical needs in their communities.

Once they have collected this information, local governments need to provide access points through which the information can be easily shared.  And, once received, a response process for the information to be utilized in urban planning and incorporation into service delivery.

Grassroots women are an asset in this process and should be part of urban planning.

Wed, July 22, 2015 at 02.39 pm

Thank you, Catherine for your insights on how empowering and strengthening women-grassroots may effectively serve as a way of addressing the ‘data challenge’ of informal communities, by collecting and mapping data from the bottom-up. Indeed, enhancing governing capacities relies on improved data gathering; and in this sense, innovative participatory strategies for data collection need to be part of this discussion. Likewise, there is a need for territorial-based data and indicators disaggregated by sex and age to be readily available to support local planning and monitoring of urban development.

What concrete examples or good practices can all of our participants provide regarding grassroots, community-based, SMART technologies, and other inclusive and innovative approaches to address the ‘data challenge’ and support local planning and monitoring of urban development?

Example: Kids in India Are Sparking Urban Planning Changes by Mapping Slum. https://www.citylab.com/tech/2015/02/kids-are-sparking-urban-planning-cha…

V.Maier (GIZ Programme Sustainable Development of Metropolitan Regions) from
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 02.52 pm

Some highly relevant issues have been raised in this discussion so far – the aspects of strengthening rights of women, youth and workers in informal economies as well as of course establishing functioning good (urban) governance structures as a crucial prerequisite for sustainable development.

Regarding the governance issue, I fully support UN-Habitat’s comment in the beginning of this discussion that we need to look at the functional area level beyond city boundaries. The concept of a city alone no longer reflects the urban reality. Cities in many places become to regions and functional linkages overcome traditional administrative boundaries. Numerous examples demonstrate the interdependencies between rural and urban areas (migration movements, multi-local livelihoods, increasing flows of goods, resources, capital, and information, etc.). We need to address the fact that labour markets, business flows, private and public services, resource flows as well as the ecological impacts often span over various municipalities or even provinces.

It is thus good to see that the international debate shifts away from simplified traditional models of rural and urban livelihoods. If the New Urban Agenda is to provide action-oriented guidelines for sustainable urbanization, it needs to bridge the rural-urban divide and provide the framework for sound governance structures for better coordination between urban and rural development. We need to adjust policies and governing structures to the urban reality, foster cross-sectoral and inter-municipal cooperation, promote integrated urban development, and strengthen local governments in order to enhance access and quality of service provision to all citizens – yet, political commitment from all levels remains key. To make use of these potential synergies, it is important to strengthen a culture of cooperation across administrative and territorial boundaries between cities and bordering rural municipalities.

Kodjo Esseim MENSAH-ABRAMPA from
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 05.13 pm

Maier has raised some of the most salient
issues on the state of urban development today. Cities have moved from defined
spatial entities to organic functional systems, reaching far beyond administrative
boundaries. The shift recognizes urbanization as a process rather than just the
physical growth of a settlement. This implies responding to urbanizations challenges
must go beyond facilitating effective Intra-municipal administrative processes to
deliberate facilitation of inter-municipal relationships. This is necessary to
tackle the other complex trans-territorial problems and take advantage of collaboration
by scope and scale.

My observation is in two-folds; (1)
there are municipal managers who are very territorial and may play down collaboration
with other relevant municipalities to enhance other interest, (2) there are other
municipal managers that are very willing to collaborate with those within their
respective functional regions to respond to noted common challenges. In many
instance, for the willing the missing element is the mechanisms, tools and processes
for facilitating and sustaining the collaboration. The policies, statutes, skills,
knowledge and political willingness to facilitate collaboration beyond the administrative
boundaries are very pertinent. Can we share experiences and cases where collaboration
and management of urbanization are focused on practical functional areas
instead of municipal boundaries? What are some of the key challenges and lessons?

Fantastic points Maier for
raising this practical challenge?


Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 11.30 am

Yes,legal framework for physical development and finance need a thorough revisionMunicipal and Town Planning .Acts and Land Revenue and Building  Codes are fairly old and have not been modified suitably in view of current focus on affordable housing,climate change,safe environment,resource mobilisation,participatory budgeting,poverty alleviation,skill development etc.

Similarly accounting codes,energy efficiency codes ,need to be prepard to facilitate a sustainable, environment friendly,pro poor and user friendly -pro tenent and pro owner development of real estate.

Regulatory authorities need to be set up to stremline housing/real estate,PPP,and environment friendly infrastructure.

Thu, July 16, 2015 at 08.03 am

Reading the previous comments, I would like to address a question that could deserve further attention. A significant proportion of legal frameworks for urban development, particularly for physical development and finance, are based on ‘international models’ but are often ineffective in terms of implementation. Is it time for new models? If so, what are the conditions to ensure effective implementation?

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Thu, July 16, 2015 at 07.02 am

India has initiated G budgut to give due cognizance to women issues.Further there is a provision of P budget as per government guidelines which expects cities to spare 30% of budget for poor whic covers women specfically.In addition , some cities like Bangalore have 22.5% budget earmarked for weaker sections which also covers women as one of vulnerable group from low income segments.

These reforms have a prerequisite to have budgetary reforms covering participatory bottom up and normative budgeting.However progress on this angle is far from satisfactory.We emphasise on line item incremental budgeting.This need wider attention

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Tue, July 14, 2015 at 04.58 am

Leakages in the revenue and women participation are two important issues needing special attention for HABITAT III.

Leakages are caused by anadequacies in the tax administration covering Revenue base,Rate and collection including information on demand management.Erosion in the revenue base is noticed due to exemptions,legal impediments(for example illegal land subdivision),discretionary assessment,conventional financial management which quite often depends on line item increas than actual assessment DCB(Demand ,Collection and Balance),single entry cash base accounting and faulty collection mechanism covering centralised,townhall based manual system.

In addition certain administrativeaspects  also lead to leakages such as lack of routine operation and maintenance caused by  limited local capacities and fiscal stress at city govt. level.

Corrupt practices are  caused by vested intewrest groups within community and municipal staff i.e. development of real estate/housing without necessary  permission and theft of water or illegal use of parks or covering road /street for personal use etc.

These pointes together combined with corruption leads to huge revenue losses.

In this regard financial management,double entry accounting,use of financial statements(DCB- Demand Collection and Balance) and use of ICT for assessment,collection etc along with incentives and panelties are needed at municipall level.Further,timely maintenance and awareness of political economy -emphasising role of municipal services in human life needs to be promoted.At the same time suitable system of OMBUDSMAN at municipal level to oversee complaints on corruption is also required.

Women are at the core of urban governance particularly with regard to low income /informal segment of population.Accordingly policies and initiatives cover larger representationof women.However,bottom up participation is specially needed through grass root community structures.In this regard civil society/NGOs should play the role of intermediary link institution.There are several examples emerging in this regard which need to be adopted by city governments particularly using the women councillors.

Tue, July 14, 2015 at 01.20 pm

Thank you for your active contribution! 

Looking in practical terms at the transparency and accountability issues, participants can take a look at the Transparency International tools (local integrity system assessment toolkit; principles and standards)



Regarding gender responsiveness governance, mainstreaming for gender responsive governance can include a variety of measures or approaches such as:

  • Integrating women either through cities setting up consultative processes for women or providing support for women’s entry into urban planning and development.

  • Implementation of affirmative action or targets to address gender based inequalities including representation in governance structures, particularly for middle and senior management levels in administration or private sector.

  • Access to information for citizens, especially women participation to facilitate their participation in how their cities and municipalities are managed.

  • Ensuring women’s safety and security also involves taking into account women’s specific needs or concerns in the management of public spaces.

  • Documentation, analysis and reporting of sex-disaggregated data and qualitative information on levels of representation and participation of women and men at both national and local levels of governance in formal and informal decision-making structures.

  • Documentation, analysis and reporting of allocation of financial resources or national and local budgets for gender equality advancement activities.

  • Providing childcare support or services to facilitate women’s ability to reconcile public participation and the demand of their care and domestic work.

We are looking forward to read your comments on the specific measures taken in your city to empower women and involve them in public affairs!

Quazi baby from
Tue, July 14, 2015 at 02.55 pm
Thanks for your appreciation.
I also want to add that budget allocation for the women and children is very important. Government gives many assurance and show a big volume of the budget for development purpose. But we do not see any budget for the grassroots people as well as their community development. The community people do not know how much budget they have for their next planning.


On Tue, Jul 14, 2015 at 7:26 PM, wrote:
Catherine Holt Toledo Political and Governance Consultant from United States
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 10.01 pm

In reading the comments to date, there are several issues I think need to be addressed.  With regards to urban revenue, I think our discussion needs to address the issues of theft and graft, as well as, misuse of public funds.  A fair and impartial judicial branch must work in concert with public officials to insure that such misconduct is dealt with swiftly. Laws and policy have little meaning if there is not any accompanying enforcement.

I also agree with Quazi, that women have very specific issues and challenges that are different from men in the urban landscape. In many places they cannot own or inherit land, vote or participate in economic development and governance because of formal laws or informal practices. Yet according to Mensah-Abrampa, women and youth comprise almost 70% of the urban disenfranchised.  At times, women and young girls are asked to perform sexual favors to access food and water, services and health care. They are more prone to be victims of violence in unsafe environments. And, they are not treated equally under many laws. Yet, they are often the ones providing much of the labor and community glue in the informal sector.  By not addressing their specific challenges in urbanization discussions, I think we are not fully identifying the issues of urban communities.

Tue, July 14, 2015 at 12.51 pm

Thank you Catherine, you have raised an important point in terms of legal frameworks for sustainable urbanization. There is a need to build capacity at the local level to insure the enforcement of laws and policies, which in the absence of, it may lead to corruption, misuse of funds or theft, as you have mentioned. To be sure, the rule of law should be equally enforced and independently adjudicated. Moreover we believe that laws should be designed adequately for local needs and capacity to be locally relevant and enforceable. The concept of “essential law” appears here relevant, as one of the major challenge in urban law frameworks is complexity, where both the volume of rules and their technical nature are not reflective of the capacity and resources that are locally available. It is beneficial to focus on the minimum set of legal instruments and tools that are i) necessary to deliver the most important elements of urban development policy; and ii) adaptable to reasonable expectations of available resources and capacity for implementation.

Participatory Development Action Program (PDAP)
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 04.17 pm

I just like to share that last three years we are working with a poor community where women were neglected. They did not know what is their rights and  how to speak with the high official people for approaching their demands. But after receiving training on leadership, Disaster risk reduction and capacity building, the women are now enough empowed to achieve their rights. 

I am jus sharing with you that women can do so many thnings and can chage the environmental situation of the community, if they get some guidance and proper training.

In  the urban governance issue, we did not see any gender issue which could be helpful for the grassroots women. In today’s crises, it is women and girls who are paying the highest price- as their bodies become battlefields in war zones and they struggle in dangerous circumstances to maintain their dignity and the health and welfare of their families. 

During this century, we have made tremendous gains in advancing the global agenda for women, peace and security. U.N.  security council resolution 1325 adopted in 2000 and subsequent resolutions have triggered new partnership, resources and norms and standards to expand women’s role in peacemaking and peacebuilding and to end sexual violence in conflict. When the council adopted resolution 1820 in 2008, it sent the  strongest message yet condemning the use of sesual violence as a weapon of war and declared the “rape and otherforms of sexual violenc can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act  with respect to genocide.

I would like to ask the issue writer, “why you have ignored the gender issue or women action in your papers”. It is not a general issue, it is a special priority issue.

Thank you.


Kodjo Esseim MENSAH-ABRAMPA from
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 05.34 pm

The issues on gender and
particularly women in urban governance are very crucial in this discourse. The specific
needs and challenges of women in the urban environment and the urbanization process
calls for specific attention and response. The Issues Paper on Governance was
not explicit on the issues of women though raised among the plight of other challenged
urban groups. This might need strengthening and highlighting of some the
challenges as registered in your contribution. In the section on Key Actions,
however three of the recommended actions speak to gender and specifically women
and youth. It should however be interesting sharing with us some of your
indicated experiences on women in urban governance, particularly as it relates
to some of the issues raised earlier by Tone and Prof Pandey.

Thank you for excellent
contribution and prompt!

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 03.17 pm

Formalising the informal economy is an important area of concern.Land tenure and financial inclusion go a long way to expand formal economydue to following:

  • Entry of urban poor is through land which has insecure title.Therefore security of tenure opens up opportunities to improve shelter condition.
  • Self help and incremental approach are most viable options available to urban poor which need to be given due attention,support and encouragement through policies and programmes.
  • Shelter is not only a place to live but also is a place to work.This needs suitable follow up by public support.
  • Financial inclusion is also essential to integrate poor with the formal system of credit,savings,insurance and subsidies.
  • Community structure at grass root level are also essential to carry forward the reforms more effectively
Kodjo Esseim MENSAH-ABRAMPA from
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 04.17 pm

Two very interesting issues have
been raised by Uchendu and Tone on urban informal sector and youth and well
summed up by Prof Pandey. They were discussed separately but it is interesting to
note that youth and women constitute about 70 percent of the population in the
informal sector. Responding to the needs and priorities of the informal sector invariably
implies acting on some of the challenges of youth and women.

The contention arising out of the
arguments is should the informal sector be formalized for it to obtain access
to land, financing, services, public support, insurance etc.  Are there some incentives for staying informal?
the informal sector a response to certain urban conditions or a coping mechanism?
Can the challenges of the informal sector be responded to without “formalizing”?
To what extent are the issues raised by Tone on Youth also relevant in
providing governance for informality?

  • Participation and inclusion
  • Effective representation
  • Informal/Youth as Priority
  • Access to information
  • Inclusion of knowledge of the informal /youth in
    the solution  
Uchendu Eugene Chigbu ” researcher, lecturer” from Germany
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 01.01 pm

What are the main challenges and/or constraints of existing urban frameworks that would have to be addressed in order to advance sustainable urban development?

A key challenge that is rarely talked about is the issue of integrating the the formal and informal economies. Just as we are concerned about upgrading slum selltlements and formalizing informal land rights, etc. I think we should consider the formalization of informatl economy within cities in order to enhance ovrall city GDPs, as well as give a sense of place to urban dwellers who are within the informal economies. For instance, more than 70% of Lagos (Nigeria) operate within its informal economy. A lot of fiscal balance and growth could be created by integrating these people into the formal economy.

Formalizing informal economies will lead to more tax returns for governments and enable them (where good governance prevails) to create incentives for the those operating informally to enjoy the previleges available in the formal sector. Creating an environment in which the benefits of formalizing outweigh the costs of remaining informal will provide a starting point for gaining stakeholders participation in the process.

Tone Standal Vesterhus Youth delegate on urbanization
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 12.33 pm

Young people are rarely recognized as an agent in urban governance frameworks. Youth participation is essential for the development of young people themselves, and to a larger extent that of their communities. Youth who are able participate in society have higher aspirations, both for themselves and their respective communities. They become self-assured from improving their skills and broaden their knowledge and understanding due to exposure to every day life. In order to create governance frameworks that lets youth participate in a real and meaningful manner, there are certain factors that should be present and that can work as a guideline towards achieving youth inclusive governance. They are as follows:


Youth must independently choose what issues they want to engage in, and not be limited to work with specific topics or typical youth related issues. 


Youth must represent their peers and be held responsible to them. Representatives for youth must be elected by youth and not be hand-picked in order to have a youth alibi within a given governance structure.


Youth must be seen as a source of resource and competence, but there should still be set aside time and space for initiatives that will increase youth´s expertise.

Sufficient information 

Youth must be given sufficient information in order to be able to participate fully in political processes.


Youth must take part in the whole political process; from initial planning, negotiations and decisions to implementation and evaluation.

These serve as an example of how governance can involve real and meaningful participation (question 1), but they are also emphasized due to the fact that they are way too often neglected and hence create obstacles for achieving good governance (question 2)

For elaboration, see the joint report from UN-Habitat and The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU): https://issuu.com/unhabitatyouthunit/docs/the_right_to_participate

Youth-led development

Youth-led development is an effective tool with significant benefits for cities. Empowering youth to become change agents within the city has the power to transform attitudes, mentalities and actions among youth and others, particularly the regional and local governments who are closer to them, into a positive and productive influence for the city. It can help cities become more inclusive in addressing socio-economic barriers, reducing social isolation of neighborhoods and communities, and allowing youth to access opportunities.

A youth transformative project effectively empowers youth to define their own development goals and objectives through consultative methods or mechanisms that encourage youth to take the lead and implement their own projects. An example of this is UN-Habitat’s Urban Youth Fund which provides small grants to youth-led organizations working to better their cities. The lessons learned from these projects feed into normative work at the global level which in turn influences the development agenda.

Pallavi Tak Teaching & Research from India
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 09.40 am

Each challenge in the way of ‘urban sustainability’ is an opportunity that went haywire, misunderstood, skipped or mutilated for the interest of few. If turned around, these challenges or constraints are gateways for breeding success and infusing sustainability. 

Land – Instead of ‘acquisition’, ‘Consolidate’ it. People are part of urban canvas, make them more integral and central to the planning (instead of displacing them, that creates friction hence challenge). Let the ‘redistribution’ set in.

Governance – Let people govern, instead of being governed – and this is the best way of governing them. Make governance, policy framing inclusive for commons. Elinor Ostrom would definitely endorse this.

Discipline – Citizen discipline is first step towards their participation and involvement.  I must know my littering around hurts my city, as mcuh as it hurts my own home. Let citizens be trained to behave like soldiers of cities.

Public spaces for public deliberation – No debates please, only deliberation followed by diligent implementation. Let us have more open spaces, especially designed for equitable treatment of people. These places will be centres of participation. Open invitation to embrace their cities to people.

Public Transport – ‘It is an achievement, if the rich uses public transport because it is more efficient than his private vehicle’. Efficient Public transport will facilitate environmental, economic and social sustainability all in one time.

Social media – Use social media to educate people. Let them know they BELONG to the city and city BELONGS to them, therefore there is no scope for betrayal and distance. Let us kill anonymity of the cities.

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 07.42 am

Yes,ICT is emerging in a big way improve  urban governance A vast majority of Indian cities(100000 and more) have their own web site.They are also using on line system of payments for taxes and grievance redressal.They ars also providing necesary information on web regarding planning,budget and schemes and programmes taken up by city governments.Further ,these websites also provide necessary permissions and approvals needed from city government.One such web site/link is


it is also recognised that BIG DATA is needed to improve governance further to enable smart governance.Many cities are building big data for necessary information and decision making.At the same time necessary infrastructure is a mjor issue to facilitate effective ICT.Therefore, techonology part needs to attended suitably to address specic skills for providers and receipients of information.

Addis Ababa University
Mon, July 13, 2015 at 06.47 am

In my perespective, the major challenges of existing urban frameworks that would have to be addressed in order to advance sustainable urban development in developing countries are  poor governance of urban development challenges and corruption. For instance, urban issues like flooding and storm water management are not given priority. These challenges are also exacerbated by poor solid waste management and other behavioral ills of the urban communities. These challenges may be properly addressed in the future, with active participation of stakeholders and multilevel urban governance of development challenges. The major constraints for the same are lack financial resources and poor adaptive and technical capacities of  human resources in cities and towns of developing countries. Sustainable sollutions for the aforementioned challenges and constraints may include inclusive urban planning and management and promotion of multilevel governance. In a nutshell, Integrated urban planning  and management underpinned by good multilevel governance of development challenges and constraints may have immense contribution to make urban development in developing countries inclusive. Moreover, with proper application of principles of good urban governance, cities and towns of developing countries may become livable for residents.

Mon, July 13, 2015 at 12.22 pm

Thanks to the participant from Addis Ababa University for enriching this dialogue. You have raised a series of key challenges for promoting sustainable urbanization: corruption; lack of financial resources; and poor adaptive and technical capacity of human resources in cities and towns in developing countries. Indeed these are major challenges cities around the world are facing in their day-to-day operations. As you have kindly mentioned, multilevel governance, inclusive and integrated urban planning and management, may well serve to advance participatory and inclusive governance, which could then result in higher government efficiency and a fair distribution of responsibilities.

Referring to multi-level governance and inclusive management, would anyone like to share solutions and best practices that have been successful in allowing local governments to mobilize endogenous financial resources; promote transparency and accountability; and build technical capacity to better adapt to rapid urban changes?

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Sun, July 12, 2015 at 04.48 am

Limited success of territorial approach is caused by  three main reeasons (i)multiplicity of agencies combined with lack of interagency coordination (ii)delays in the commitment on decentralisation of powers and authority at local level(iii)intervention by informal pressure groups(real estate/political/vested interestfrom community/ localmafia? etc.In this regard a larger coordinating body representing local governments can play a decisive role. For example association of 36 municipalities in Barcelona city reason successfully give direction to planning and delivery of transport and waste management.Another approach is SPV(Special Purpose Vehicle ) route which can have equity participation from main stakeholders giving due cognizance to city governments to plan and desgn the delivery of services and infrastructure in a participatory manner.Recent mission on 100 smart cities in India intends to use this approach for a city region for alternate project mix.

Municipal revenue is a function of three main variables namely Base,Rate and Collection.Transparency and Accountability have been the main issueto build public support and payments for requisite funds.Property tax (PT) for example if levied on a unit area(transparent)method reduces chances of discretion and leads to wider acceptability.Starting from Patna in India this method brought a multiplier effect on tax proceeds and also reduction in rates.This experience of Patna also won Dubai Award of Best Practiices  coordinated by UNHABITAT.

Many cities have started self assessment to minimise leakages and promote transparency in assessment as per assessment method.

Equally important is collection which needs to be improved through on line system,incentives,paneltieson innovative pattern.Hundreds of Indian cities now have online system,give attractive rebates on timely paymentand attach panelties on defaulters .many city display name  of defalters on the notice board,use attachment of Bank accounts ,give insurance on timely payment(Mumbai).At the same time ,ABC(Alwayas Best Controle) analysis of PT data is also used by cities to identify groups of PT accountholders by their demand size,location,business category(hotels,cinema hall,petrol pumps etc).This has promoted a quantum jump in the tax  proceeds.

Payments of taxes is also a quid pro quo and normative delivery of services leads to better recovery.Last decade in India has seen a range of governance reforms under JNNURM assiciated with a sizable increase in the revenue of city governments.

However , ther is a need to institutionalise these incidents to apply for larger replication.Habitat III can consider promotion of  Accountability (assessment/utilisation of revenue base) and transparency (system and rate)and efficiency in the database,collection and use of panelties and incentives ) to raise optimum funds from city.At the same time allocation of funds is equally important to build efficient delivery of services and tax copliance.

Sun, July 12, 2015 at 10.39 am

Thank you Professor Pandey for these insights on India and Barcelona, as well as your propositions for Habitat III.

Smart technologies are indeed a source of innovation for municipal management, revenue collection and transparency. Cities around the world (I am for example thinking of Dar es salam, Abidjan…) are more and more using ICT as a municipal management tool. I am inviting all other participants of this dialogue to join and complement with their views and experiences.

Saripalli Suryanarayana from
Fri, July 10, 2015 at 04.33 pm

1.Rules and legislation

The urban bodies,election,governing,and working systems,needs to recognize the elite groups working and living in the cities as part of the citizens and have to be represented seperately by at least 20% of the seats,in total,and by way of their professional organisations of doctors,Engineers,lawyers,Tax assessors,Tax payers,traders,businessmen,etc each having minimum 2 seats at any municipality,and thus ending at 20% of the total elected municipal senators.

There shall be no nominations what so ever.

The body shall draw its funds by way of taxes,only a portion of the corporate and Income tax shall be given to this municipality.

2.Urban finances-

The educational institutes developed are drawing huge finances from public,in India,as well in almost all developing countries.

There has to be a direct taxation by municipality,including over seeing their infrastructure and development,and has to see that the safety systems are in place.

The state and central governments can draw other taxes from these Government,and private institutions separately and scrutinize their books of accounts,so that the citizens money is properly spent,by them.

Parking spaces shall be financed by all the government agencies,along with the transport systems.

3.Urban Governance

In no circumstances shall the elected council be dismissed,and a commissioner appointed to over see the developments.Circumstantial evidence,and Forensic Investigations,shall not point to malafide intentions in such dismissals,by the political parties in power. 

Capacity and institutional development

The Municipality may develop,commercial complexes ,market places and Auction them to gain finances,not instantly but over a period of time.

The vehicles shall be taxed extra by the governments,as municipal tax,and reimburse the same to the concerned municipality.

4.Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal systems

Things out lined above may be small,but the end conclusion shall be major borrowings shall have the concurrence of the government planning.

 But here the word that major finances,are in Cities,and we are getting major taxes from cities shall not be the reason for putting all money in the present cities,and jeopardize the interests of next generation of children,who many not find the land can not meet their developmental aspirations and needs.

 Hence parts of these taxes shall go to near by cities,and areas,as a precaution.

Fri, July 10, 2015 at 08.40 pm

Dear Saripalli, thanks, very comprehensive summary of important issues. I expect comment to this from our network.

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer from India
Fri, July 10, 2015 at 06.50 am

I fully agree with the view that territorial aspects need due atttention.This is specially important in view of jurisdictional and distributional aspects with regard to transport,waste disposal ,economic activities water ditribution etc across the human settlements in a particular region.Accordingly 74th Constitution Amendment in India attempted creation of Metropolitan Planning Committee and District Planning Committees.Indonesia also has DESAKOTA approach to adddress regional issues.However success has been limited.Yet,we have to give more attention .

In the phase of rapid urbanisation the regional approach is essential.We have to gear up our legal,institutional and fiscal frame work to effectively respond to these distributional and jurisdictional aspects.

These are also important for smaller towns to have economies of scale.Many examples are emerging across the board covering intermunicipal cooperation in France and other parts of Europe,Many Indian regions have tried waste disposal and water availability through SPV ( Special Purpose Vehicle) or raising fuds through municipal bonds .This issue,therfore is one of prime area of action under Habitat III.

Local governments sustainable financial resources is another important area of concern for the years to come.However,there is a concensus that municipal own sources have immense potential.One study by IIPA finds that by and large cities are able to collect 0.5 to 1 per cent of City income.However given a chance they can capture up to 6 per cent of city GDP.Therefore a quantum jump is possible.It is also noted that city governments should identify a city resource poolcovering,city economy,Land value gains and sale/use/consumption of municipal assets.Subsequently , a range of instruments can be put in place to raise resources.

Fiscal transfers have gained special importance in view of increasing realisation that national issues have local solutions particularly in the area of environment,climate change,disaster management and poverty alleviation.These actions also have a multiplier effect on productivity and also on proceedes from taxes and fee.Therefore,countries aross the board have given emphasis on normative basis which inclued a variety of tied and untied grants.

Third important area of resources is loan finance.This has problems of liquidity and market(demand).On the one hand financial institutions do not have necessary long term funds ,the city governments too do not have creditwothyness to seek funds.Thus,a dedicated flow for long term lending with  suitable instruments and financial management at municipal level are needed .This includes syndicate lending,refinancing and asset and liability management at city govt level.

Sat, July 11, 2015 at 06.33 pm

Hello Professor Pandey,

Thanks for these interesting insights.  Could you elaborate more on the reasons for limited success of territorial approach in India and Indonesia? You are right mentioning the inter-muncipal cooperation in France and Europe as  an interesting governance arrangement. It is now also being implemented successfully in Latin America and could deserve more attention, especially for metropolitan level governance.

And I would like to highlight also another important point you made on the necessary transparency and accountability mechanisms to improve tax recovery and reduce the trust deficit between communities and local governments. Could you share any specific examples of incentives or best practices in this regard?  Looking forward to hearing more!

Saripalli Suryanarayana “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””Iam a charted engineer,with 3 books,and 12 papers””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””” from India
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 05.35 pm

Many times i may answer while in USA,But this time i am in iNDIA.Well further discussions,we also have herd of such of Municipalities,even in USA,which have barrowed public money have gone bankrupt,and some settlements people are leaving due to lack of job opputunities.We know the cities and towns where such things happend during last 100 years,after the first world war.Historically all urban studies points out the development of sewarage channels in UK,and the problematic public health that has driven out certain people with health issues.No nation or town is immune to these developments.It could be a great catchment basin in heavy rains like Mumbai,or it could be tidal waves not drawing the rain waters.But we also have rotating dhrought,in all continents,and citis and settlements have to spell out their water resources.

Given the chance of transport,taking them a few hundread miles by flight in the morning and evening,the people prefer not to migrate and leave it to the next generation,the issues of livelihood.

Life patterns are changing with environment,and heat incresng with development patterns,and finding fugal materials in to construction of homes to stand at least 200 years,is wht the generations anticipate,and that becomes a national assest.But the governments miss on having land scape,and ecology,envionment built in to their financial systems.

A citizen friendly government with more citizen groups formation,in many forms as doctors,engineers,taxpayers,transport users,etc,will have better way to hear and make decisions,than a simple round table by people who could be more aggressively representing ever changing trade representatives.

Professor K K Pandey reseachr from India
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 05.18 pm

Many countries do not have a policy purely dedicated to urban issues.Therefore,countries should have a national  urban policy.At the same time municipal and town planning Acts should be updated/modified to address current issues on productivity,poverty,environment,disaster management and quality of life.City governments should also be empowered to develop suitable institutional and fiscal arrangements to provide services,infrastructure and civic amenities in a participatory manner involving their role as facilitator.

one important area to converge resources at local level is to decentralise governance from townhall to grass roots level.Local Councils in Mizoram(aijwal City) are one such example to establish a formal institution at polling booth level to operate as grass root link with intergovernmental system.local councils help city government and other provincial and national govt institutions to impliment their programmes and also involve local community resources to make provision of necessary civic services such as retaining walls,footpath,maintenance of parks,open spaces and social forestry.They have regular contacts with local community through public announcement system.

Tax collection improvements need a close interaction with local community to minimise trust deficit.transparency in collection with updated information is another way to motivate tax payers.Thirdly attractive incentives are also needed to encourage to pay timely.

Thu, July 9, 2015 at 08.40 am

Welcome to all participants and contributors to the Habitat III online Urban Dialogues platform: we will be discussing until the 31st of July on the challenges and drivers for action related to area 2 “Urban Frameworks”. This forum aims at gathering views from all interested players – including the broadest range of urban stakeholders as well as citizens – to bring forward new and emerging thinking on adequate and sustainable “urban frameworks” in the elaboration of the New Urban Agenda, and to discuss the related Habitat III Issue Papers.

This area deals with the enabling environment and frameworks conducive to sustainable urban development, covering issues such as (not exhaustive): urban rules and legislation, national urban policies, governance, capacity and institutional development, municipal finances. For background information you can refer to the three related issue papers of this area: 5. Issue Paper on Rules and legislation ; 6. Issue Paper on Urban governance ; 7. Issue Paper on Municipal Finance.

The outcomes of this dialogue will be consolidated into a report that will be distributed to all Member States and stakeholders as information and inputs to the Habitat III preparatory process, and will also constitute the background information for the work of the concerned Policy Units, namely 3. National Urban Policies ; 4. Urban Governance, Capacity and Institutional Development ; 5. Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal System.

More specifically, we will address the issues, experiences and responses that national and local governments, private sector, informal sector, civil society are facing and using in regard to the policy options, decisions and practices that govern the management and development of the urban environment. This Urban Dialogues will also look at how these might be deployed in the context of the New Urban Agenda, approaching issues such as legal frameworks, the distribution of responsibilities and resources, fiscal and financial arrangements as well as political, managerial and administrative processes in place to respond to the citizens’ needs.”

Furthermore, and in addition to the overarching questions of this dilaogue, here are some initial questions that can trigger your thoughts:

  • According to your own experience, what changes to the existing legislation and policies could be made in order to provide an adequate legal and regulatory framework to enable sustainable urban development?

  • What would be required to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, under a strong leadership of the local government, join their forces and establish permanent structures of dialogue to make sure cities are places of opportunity for all?

  • What incentives and mechanisms would be needed to ensure that local governments improve their capacity to collect taxes?

Please note that, aiming at building a broad consultative process, participants in the Urban Dialogues can use any language.

Welcome again and let’s e-discuss to prepare relevant inputs for the New Urban Agenda.

Professor K K Pandey Reseacher/Trainer
Thu, July 9, 2015 at 05.06 am

As a result of Habitat II and related activities (Istanbul+5,Indicators,Best practices,world urban Forum etc ),national governments across the countries(paticularly the developing economies ) have promoted decentralisation and empowerment of urban / city governments . Phillipines,India ,Sri lanka,Bangladesh,Pakistan etc have taken a range of legal and institutional steps along with increasing devolution of funds to city governments during last 3 decades.

There has been a mixed success on this empowerment. Yet,we find that elected bodies are in place,women and weaker sections have a larger representation and functional domain is being streamlined to focus on services,productivity,poverty alleviation,diasater management,climate change  and quality of life.

A bottom up leadership is now emerging in urban India which is also representative with a majority share to women and weaker sections.This has established a grass roots link with intergovernmental system.Continuity of electd body is another good feature of decentralisation.Although many important local functions are still beyond the functional domain of city governments,the leadership has brought a pressure group which make a regular impact on political economy across the stakeholders.Therefore,we have to recognise positive features and build our efforts further to consolidate city governments as a viable unit of self governance. 

Fri, July 10, 2015 at 06.11 am

Thank you, Professor Pandey for your contribution to this dialogue.

Certainly, one of the challenges in terms of urban frameworks in several developing countries is the lack of adequate management systems and municipal structures, as well as finding ways to better balance the various interests present within urban areas. However, the lack of governance systems or municipal structures may be context-specific, and perhaps, could not be generalizable for every urban area, since many regions and cities around the world have well-functioning systems and structures already in place.  

We can also consider that the establishment of more efficient management systems requires looking beyond the city boundaries, at the functional area level, which, in many cases, may include peripheral and rural areas. The adoption of a territorial approach is crucial to get the urban frameworks in line with the fast-changing urban reality; it takes into consideration the interdependent dynamics between the city core and its hinderland, as well as between municipalities (case of metropolitan areas).

Referring to the post on decentralization, we concur on the positive features of decentralization processes (examples of the local level empowerment in India) and the importance of  local governments as the instrumental level of governance to respond to the citizens’ needs and urban challenges. However, we often observe that responsibilities are devolved but fiscal systems remain highly centralized, thus preventing local governments from source of revenue. What would be required to ensure local governments’ sustainable financial resources and capacities? What are the good practices that specifically address this issue?

For the reference of the Dialogue participants, I would like to highlight the ‘International Guidelines on Decentralization and Strengthening of local authorities’ approved  in 2007 by UN-Habitat Governing Council, a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly (available in the 6 UN official languages here https://unhabitat.org/books/international-guidelines-on-decentralization-and-access-to-basic-services-for-all/).

Professor K K Pandey reseachr
Wed, July 8, 2015 at 05.06 pm

Developing economies have a major disconnect between urbanisation and municipalisation.Urban areas do not have municipal structures /governance system due to a range of vested interests.India for example has nearly half of urban centres who do not have a city government and are still governed by rural local governments.these are known as CENSUS TOWNS.

Further,a large part of existing cities is built on illegal land subdivision.

Thirdly , fairly large number of of building activities within existing areas are taken up without formal approval

The causes of this disconnect can be separately elaborated . 

Therefore municipalisation within existing urban areas is one of the key challenge to systemetically develop urban framework.

Tue, July 7, 2015 at 09.08 pm

Thank you to the first contributors of this dialogue. Indeed, existing spatial structures need to be taken into consideration when elaborating urban policies. The reduction of the disconnection between regulatory frameworks and policies, and the socio- urban dynamics requires a better understanding of the reality and the capacity to process the information and turn it into adequate policies at all levels (metropolitan, city, and neighborhood).

Elaborating further on Atakan Guven and Rachel Scharly’s comments, the “well-functioning informal spatial frameworks” are often linked to strong socio-economic relationships and well-organized communities. Improving the communication with their representatives and local governments’ initiative appears to be one of the challenges of urban management, in order to keep vibrant and less-segregated places.

In your view, what would be the required conditions in terms of legislation and governance to improve the understanding of existing spatial structures and to better interact with communities?

Rachel Scharly Urban Sociologist
Tue, July 7, 2015 at 03.28 pm

Completely agree with Atakan Guven when he writes that urban space connects and segregates. And if the urban design that some cities use to give more security in some hoods, it is mostly misused because not explained to dwellers. The visible resul is an increase of gentrification and of course, the loss of a certain culture.

Atakan Guven Urban Planner
Tue, July 7, 2015 at 08.45 am

One of the main constrainsts of developing urban frameworks is their lack of acknowledgement of spatial value of existing spatial structure that it seeks to influence or change. Urban space connects or segregates; brings people into social and economic relationships or keeps them apart. I’ve reviewed a number of initiatives, that in the interest of ‘progress’, disregard existing well-functioning informal spatial frameworks replacing them with inward looking, disconnected communities that cease to function as they once had.

Well designed spatial layouts produce safe and vibrant places and, in doing so, create enormous levels of social, economic and environmental capital. Poorly considered urban frameworks risk functional failure. Developing urban frameworks must fully consider the merits of spatial relationships of exisiting parts of city and integrate with developing areas. Well designed spatial layouts produce safe and vibrant places and, in doing so, create enormous levels of social and economic benefits.