Weekly Urban News Update
In This Update

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) has released a statement in response to the proposed cuts to foreign assistance made by the U.S. presidential administration. As there is long-standing bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill that American leadership requires effective foreign assistance, MFAN reasons that the cuts, which if enacted would reduce the foreign aid budget by 31%, will undo the decade-long bipartisan effort to modernize and reform the foreign aid system. The cuts will return funding for diplomacy and development to a level similar to that of FY 2007, which in MFAN's opinion will not be able to sustain the very different world of 2017. As a supporter of international cooperation in creating a safe and sustainable urban future, IHC Global believes that strong investment in foreign aid benefits both the U.S. and the world in the long run.
Read the full article  here.
BHow Baltimore is using the SDGs to build a more just city

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to provide long term solutions for city ills around the world, from poverty to gender inequality to poor sanitation. For U.S. cities, racial inequality and police violence remain two of the toughest challenges that the SDGs will take on. And for Baltimore in particular, an aging industrial city whose underlying current of racial tension was thrown into the limelight in early 2015 with the troubling death of Freddie Gray, the SDGs offer a chance to create stronger systems of accountability in the city. Baltimore officials have shown their dedication to the SDGs with action; for the past year and a half, an initiative called the USA Sustainable Cities Initiative- Baltimore has been working with the University of Baltimore and a national U.N.-affiliated group to take on these issues, and last week they released a set of recommendations that organizers hope will address some of what led to the 2015 riots in the first place. With strong support from the city's new mayor, Baltimore is a shining example of shaping the SDGs to fit the specific and unique challenges each city brings to the table.

Read the full article here.

Tom Kingsley (Urban Institute Senior Fellow and IHC-Global Senior Technical Advisor) has written a paper that advocates broadening the approach to mobilizing the "data revolution" proposed to further the SDG agenda. Most that has been written on the data side to date emphasizes mounting expanded surveys to track progress under each goal. Kingsley agrees this is necessary but argues for giving more emphasis to the way data can be used to design and implement the initiatives needed to bring about goal achievement - to using data to make change happen, rather than just tracking it. The paper outlines a multifaceted approach that includes: building the data and data handling capacity of the entities directly responsible for goal achievement; accessing and using a larger share of the enormous flow of data being created as the digital revolution unfolds in all countries; strengthening and expanding government information systems (which Kingsley sees as likely to be efficient and effective in both mobilizing and monitoring achievement under the new goals); and focusing efforts on improving data to drive SDG achievement in urban areas.

Read the full paper  here.

Among all the political talk of budget cuts and reformulating foreign policy, IHC Global Board member Steve Feldstein has noticed that Africa has been notably absent from the conversation. In an article for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Feldstein notes that while investment in Africa does not seem to be a priority for the new U.S. Administration, it would be a perilous mistake for the U.S. to pull back from the decades-long bipartisan investment into the ever-changing landscape of Africa. Feldstein goes through the spectrum of reasons that the U.S. should continue to invest in Africa, from contributing to the eradication of disease and famine to continuing the battle against terrorist groups al-Shabab, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. But investment in Africa is also an investment in the "Africa Rising" promise. With Africa currently experiencing very rapid urban growth across the continent, IHC Global believes that investing in Africa and helping to ensure that urban and economic growth go hand in hand will mean greater security, economic growth and stability for all.

Read the full article here.

IHC Global will be attending the 2017 World Bank Land and Poverty Conference next week. The conference will present the latest research and practice on the diversity of reforms, interventions, and innovations in the land sector around the world. The theme for this year is Responsible Land Governance: Towards an Evidence Based Approach, which will focus on the role of data and evidence for realizing land policy reform and identify strategies for working at scale and monitoring achievements. Registration is closed, but keep an eye on the conference via our twitter next week.

When: March 20th - 24th, 2017
Where: 1818 H Street NW 
Washington, DC 20433

Learn more about the event  here.
FeatureIHC Global Urban Feature: Housing and PPPs*
Bosnians upgrade homes to warm up and conserve energy

USAID and Habitat for Humanity bring us a story of achieving inclusive housing in Tesanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and with it the promise that partnerships between local communities, government, the private sector and international organizations can be successful, and can bring communities closer together. Shabby homes with leaky roofs and poor insulation were a stain on the otherwise picturesque landscape of Tesanj, a town in the Tuzla canton of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Residents of Tesanj, confronted with the state of the dilapidated apartments and their long-suffering residents, decided to take matters into their own hands. With fervent support and participation from residents, USAID and Habitat for Humanity launched the Residential Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Households project "as a way to promote collaboration between municipalities, financing institutions, construction and maintenance companies, and homeowners while introducing innovative financing solutions to leverage public and private funding." Residents joined forces with homeowners associations and both public and private funders to find the best solutions to improve their homes, save money and become more energy efficient. Thanks to the residents' dedication and the strong partnerships created, those drafty apartments are no more; the project benefited more than 50 families in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and continued on to improve 20 buildings in Armenia and 400 households in Macedonia.

Read the full article here.

*Introducing the IHC Global Urban Feature
Along with the roundup of each week's happenings in the urban world, we will be featuring an article that focuses on one of our key policy topics for equitable urban development: urban water and sanitation; resilience, climate adaptation and the urban poor; migration and its implications; housing as a driver of equitable development; gender, secure tenure and property rights; and urban food security. To learn more about our Key Policy Topics, click here
NewsIn the news and around the web
  • Read the newest Quito policy brief on fostering "inclusivity" in urban economic development here.
  • Find out what the risks of the modern world mean for the property market here.
  • A rubbish landslide in Addis Ababa killed 48 people earlier this week. Read more here.
In case you missed it:
  • Join the International Real Property Foundation (IRPF) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) to talk about the role of property rights and property markets in sustainable urbanization on Friday, March 24th from 12:30 to 2:00 PM EDT in Washington DC. Find out more here.
  • Save the date; the Urban Thinkers Campus event, Making Cities Together: The City We Need through Safe, Inclusive and Accessible Public Spaces, will be in Nairobi, Kenya from May 3rd to 4th. Find out more here

In Copenhagan, Denmark, bikes now outnumber cars- a major victory for the city's campaign to become a cycling city. Can other cities join the green transport revolution?
Source: Guardian Cities
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