Weekly Urban News Update
October 27th, 2017
In This Update

A new plan for the proposed redesign of foreign aid in regards to the State Department and USAID has been released by a unified team of six authors that have previously released separate plans. Redesign Consensus: A Plan for U.S. Assistance offers four major recommendations for the U.S. administration to strengthen the country's diplomatic and development assistance functions:
  1. An independent lead aid agency, USAID, with full budget and policy authority including clear lines of accountability, Cabinet-rank for the USAID Administrator, and reduced duplication between State Department and USAID functions to enable each to fulfill its unique mission.
  2. A strengthened development finance function for the U.S. Government through the creation of a new Development Finance Corporation that consolidates the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and other development finance tools and provides additional authorities and capabilities. 
  3. An upgraded and flexible suite of systems and mechanisms to better manage personnel, procurement, information, and evidence. 
  4. A coherent and overarching U.S. Global Development and Humanitarian Strategy led by USAID that centers on sustainability by aligning aid with local priorities and working to create the conditions under which aid is no longer needed.

Read the full plan here.

In light of the continuing Syrian refugee crisis that has spread across the Middle East and North Africa and the growing Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, the Brookings Institution has submitted a set of recommendations to the UNHCR on how to engage city leaders in the global plan for these migrant populations. Recognizing that the global refugee population is more urban-centered than ever before, the Brookings Institution, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities and the International Rescue Committee, has recommended four steps of action for the UNHCR:
  1. Open up discussions on policy and operations to municipalities around the world that are receiving refugees.
  2. Ensure the CRRF (Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework) is informed by the experiences of towns and cities with sizeable refugee populations.
  3. Encourage member states to engage in meaningful collaboration with municipal authorities by facilitating the flow of technical expertise and resources to towns and cities, creating a formal consultation mechanism between city leaders and other decision-makers, and by disentangling financial flows to enable much needed resources to reach local practitioners.
  4.  Create mechanisms to source innovative approaches to refugee integration directly from cities, and then share them, in order to speed the replication and scaling of proven solutions.
Read the full article  here  and the recommendations  here .


IHC Global at the NAR Conference and Expo

IHC Global will be attending the National Association of Realtors (NAR) annual Conference and Expo next week, and will also be hosting a session called Global Cities, the Key Role of Housing. During the session, IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson will lead a discussion on global success stories in affordable housing, showing how collaboration between private sector, communities and local governments "proves" housing as key to economic development and how affordable housing strengthens the housing market for everyone. Speakers will include Richard Mendenhall, former President of National Association of Realtors and IHC Global Board Member, Steve Weir, Vice President of Global Program Development & Support from Habitat for Humanity, and Vidhee Garg, Principal at Affordable Housing Institute.

When: Friday, November 3, 2017

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Where: McCormick Place, West Building, Room W196 B
2301 S King Dr, Chicago, IL 60616


IHC Global Programming

IHC Global is pleased to announce that the first Accredited Buyer Specialist (ABR) course was successfully organized in Serbia in early October. The course comes after a string of successful property market-oriented courses in Serbia, including an IHC Global-funded Brokerage Manager Course. 

Stay tuned for more on our website.

This year, #WorldCitiesDay lands spookily on October 31st, and if you're looking for a break from ghouls and witches, check out some of the urban-focused events being held by the UN:
  • Accessible Cities United: Enabling future cities to be smart: 10:00 - 11:30 am in Conference Room 11, United Nations Headquarters
  • Pre-launch of The Quito Papers and the New Urban Agenda: 1:15 - 2:45 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters (RSVP by 5:00 pm, 27 October here)
  • An Interactive Dialogue on the New Urban Agenda: 3:00 - 5:00 pm in the Boss Room on the 8th Floor, Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza
Learn more about the events here, and show up on twitter with us on Tuesday to represent #WorldCitiesDay.
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: Urban Waste
Is there a "best" solution for urban waste?

The Issue
In the centuries-long story of the urban world, the city itself is the primary character and the people who make it their home are the secondary characters. But beneath them both lies a third, background character, both a constant and an antagonist: the never-ending cycle of waste that continuously churns through every city. Be it waste from humans, food, or otherwise, the question of how to deal with such a complex and suffocating issue has never been fully answered, and the problem is only getting worse. In the developed world, litter sparkles in the light of every streetlamp; putrid smells of sewage and industry waft through the wind tunnels made by skyscrapers; and recycling is often more of a hobby than a law. In the developing world, the problem is far worse: waste clogs every aspect of urban life, from the streets and transportation systems to food and water sources. Pakistan, for example, generates at least 20 million tons of waste every year, and the previous year's tally is hardly going away; instead, waste has piled up to heights that threaten health and sanitation in the country, and authorities are looking to anyone for a solution. Enter Zymal, a 10-year-old girl with an idea that could help put a dent in Pakistan's waste; she collects old newspapers and turns them into colorful bags, in a bid to minimize the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags, raise awareness of just how dire the waste problem is, and to collect funds for charities that are committed to fighting it. The project has been incredibly successful in Pakistan, and has even gained international attention. 

What We See
The fight against waste is a global one, and Zymal's innovative idea is one of many in a desperate rush for countries to find the best solutions to their increasingly dire waste problems. Some countries are already attacking the issue in legislative ways, especially against plastic bags: plastic bags are illegal in Rwanda; China, France, the Netherlands and many other parts of the world (including Washington D.C.) have introduced taxes on them and limited use; and in  Kenya, as of August, selling or importing plastic bags can cost a person a fine of as much as $19,000, or prison sentence. Others- on top of legislation- are looking for ways to put their collected waste to good use: India is currently reviewing a proposal to build 100 waste-fueled power plants, and in the United States, the Arup Group is campaigning to turn food waste into low-cost materials for construction. But unlike Zymal's relatively simple and safe repurposing of newspapers, the more ambitious ideas on how to repurpose waste are equally as controversial, and have been criticized for overlooking their project's potential consequences, especially considering that "repurposing" waste often includes burning it, which may cause more harm to the environment in the process than the outcome is worth. But even if some of these ideas need to be tweaked, their existence and increasing prevalence show that nations, civil society, the private sector and individual people are all recognizing the need for solutions that are both sustainable and profitable. In addition to legislation aimed at reducing waste, properly regulated and invested ideas that are as small-scale as Zymal's to as large scale as making food waste into construction materials could change the way we handle waste for the better. But c hanging the way that humans handle waste management will be a difficult task, and will require a universally-implemented action plan for it to take. 

Read more about Zymal's project  here.

To learn more about IHC Global's Key Policy Topics, which are both barriers and gateways to better, more equitable urban development, click here
News In the news and around the web
  • Argentina's city leaders came together for a conversation about their urban challenges.
  • America's affordable housing stock has dropped an alarming amount between 2010 and 2016.
  • Get an interesting perspective of a divided city: the rooftop view of Jerusalem.

 A view of rooftops in Jerusalem, places that some of the divided city's residents are turning into refuges from the growing tensions below.
     Source: Guardian Cities
safetyTake our Making Cities Safe survey
IHC Global has created a survey to increase understanding and share knowledge around issues of safety in cities-looking specifically at safety in the home, on public transport, in formal and informal workplace settings, and in common spaces such as sanitary facilities. Results from this survey will provide input into a policy report addressing how SDG 11, Target 7, Indicator 2-which focuses specifically on making urban spaces safe--can be met.

Help us gain a better understanding of urban safety; take our survey  here!
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