Weekly Urban News Update
May 12th, 2017
In This Update

IHC Global President and CEO Judith Hermanson participated in the UN-Habitat 26th Session of the Governing Council  (GC) this week in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as the meetings of the World Urban Campaign  (WUC) Steering Committee,  where IHC Global is a Lead Partner, and the General Assembly of Partners  (GAP) where IHC Global is part of the Civil Society groupThe focus of policymakers and urban experts  was the  implementation of the New Urban Agenda  (NUA), during a critical times as  UN-Habitat undergoes a review by a UN-appointed High-Level Panel.  Preceding the formal meetings of the GC was the High-Level Panel, which included member states and civil society, and consulted with representatives of civil society among others. 

During a productive meeting of the WUC Steering Committee, a long range campaign strategy to support the achievement of "The City We Need" that embodies the principles of the NUA was approved. The Executive Director of UN Habitat addressed the GAP Plenary Session and articulated the global imperatives for ensuring that the rapid urbanization now taking place is well managed.  This phenomenon will bring with it enormous social and economic change.  He thanked civil society for their support of the NUA and urged it to remain engaged.  Following his address, the GAP members approved a new constitution that will enable it to continue post-Habitat III.

Throughout the meetings, there was a look forward to the upcoming World Urban Forum (WUF) in 2018, and a view that this reporting period will be critical to implementation. IHC Global is pleased to see movement on the New Urban Agenda, and  hopes that championing  the NUA and  initiatives to advance equitable urban development  will remain a priority.

Read Citiscope coverage of the UN meetings here.
D The data revolution shouldn't just track, but affect change

Data has proven to be a necessary tool in almost every aspect of the future of urban development. In an op-ed for Urban Institute, IHC Global Senior Technical Advisor Tom Kingsley explains why effective global urban development depends on a data revolution that will make change happen, and not just track it. Collecting the data is the first step, but getting the information to the programs, people and community leaders that are responsible for affecting change is a crucial part of the process. They are the ones who will interpret the data, and who will create solutions and policies based on the information they have received. In order to make this system as smooth as it can be, Kingsley suggests assigning responsibility for data development and use within government; strengthening and expanding government information systems and using them in decision making; strengthening surveys and emphasizing access to and use of the enormous flow of data the digital revolution generates; and focusing on improving data to drive achievement in urban areas. IHC Global supports facilitating the management of data so that it is used to create the most effective urban solutions, especially in reducing inequality in cities.

Read the full article here.
A  New UN-World Bank sourcebook takes on security spending

Yesterday, the World Bank and the United Nations launched the first-ever technical sourcebook designed to help governments review and analyze public money spent in the security and justice sector. The sourcebook, Securing Development: Public Finance and the Security Sector, brings together the decades of experience the two international institutions have in public finance, peacekeeping and security. In congruence with the rising concern over global violence, the book concludes that national defense, policing and criminal justice are fundamental public goods and services provided by governments, and that access to effective and affordable justice and security is critical to sustaining peace and development. Though defense is often seen as being costly, the book stresses that without basic security, even those not directly affected by violence suffer, and economic development lags. Nevertheless cost is recognized as a pressing issue, and the book offers a framework for analyzing budget planning, financial management, financial accountability and oversight in the security sector. IHC Global supports creating safe and secure urban areas for everyone, everywhere, and supports the creation of new frameworks and policies that factor in the necessary budget for development.

Read the full article  here.

Join urban policymakers and experts in a dialogue about gateways portals- or points of entry- to cities, spaces that do not get enough attention, but can be so important to defining the character of a city. The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization will bring together key stakeholders from Governments, the UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to discuss the integrated and cross-sectoral nature of sustainable infrastructure and portals to the cities and their multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. The event will feature President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson, President of the American Institute of Architects and Secretary General of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Thomas Vonier and many others.
When: Friday, May 19th, 2017
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM EDT
Where: United Nations Headquarters
Conference Room 4
New York, NY 10017

Register for the event by today  here.

IHC Global welcomes a new member
IHC Global is pleased to introduce the newest member of our coalition, the Land Alliance. The Land Alliance is a "think and do" tank launched in 2014 that focuses on advancing learning and practice in order to achieve land tenure security and the efficient, inclusive, and sustainable use of land resources. They have more than 75 years of experience with fieldwork in over 40 countries on innovative and participatory approaches to land issues. We are thrilled that they have joined our coalition and voiced their support for sustainable and inclusive urban development. You can learn more about the Land Alliance at their  website . Stay tuned for more about the Land Alliance and their important work in the coming weeks!

IHC Global's second annual Open Forum is next week
IHC Global will be holding its second annual Open Forum next week during the National Association of Realtors' annual conference. The focus this year is on the New Urban Agenda and its implementation,  with a read out from the recent Nairobi UN Habitat meetings on this subject (concluding today), and will be followed by an interactive session about the potential for private sector engagement.

When: Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert Street NW
Washington, DC 20008

Register for the event here.
Feature IHC Global Urban Feature: The Role of the Private Sector
The Asian Development Bank grapples with growing wealth inequality

The Issue
As the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is in the throws of developing its 2030 strategy roadmap, wealth inequality is on a steady rise, and is an issue which the ADB needs to confront if development is to continue at its current place. Bank officials and civil society members addressed this issue at the ADB's 50th annual meeting last Friday, urging the audience to help the ADB figure out how to make large infrastructure projects more inclusive in the years to come. Meeting attendees pointed to several issues and solutions, including ensuring inclusiveness along every step of the way, from safeguarding workers to ensuring accessible transportation and a living wage. Trini Leung, director general of Oxfam Hong Kong, stressed the unique position that multilateral development banks hold. She also warned that the involving the private sector could allow for counterproductive competition between countries, and result in a "race to the bottom".

What We See
IHC Global is pleased to see that wealth inequality has become a front-page issue, especially since it is increasing in urban areas. We agree that development banks play a unique role in helping to ensure that infrastructure and other investments foster greater equality and inclusiveness. However, we disagree with the idea that introducing the private sector would necessarily lead to a "race to the bottom". The private sector is inextricably linked to the positive future of urban development, and should not be considered as a competitor when it comes to creating sustainable and successful cities. It is in the private sector's, the government's and civil society's interest to create a more equitable urban world, as greater equity leads to greater economic and political stability. It has been proven that investment from the private sector will be a necessary tool in achieving both the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. With the right city-level policies, framework and incentives, the private sector is an invaluable partner in creating jobs and developing more widespread prosperity, and taking advantage of these attributes will hasten sustainable urban development.

Read the full article here.
To learn more about our Key Policy Topics, click here
In the news and around the web
  • Mark Green has been nominated to be USAID's administrator. Learn more here.
  • Take a look into the "new suburban crisis" here.
  • Ian Klaus digs into why the "new trust economy" is thriving in urban areas here.
  • Discover the surprising potential reason why so many cities have poor east ends here.

A view of 20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie Talkie, from the top in London, England.
Source:  Guardian Cities
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