Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Southern Africa \ Cities and urbanisation

In 2014, 54% of the global population was living in urban areas and this is predicted to rise to 66% by 2050. The characteristics of cities differ greatly across countries and regions of the Commonwealth and some issues facing large and megacities will differ from those faced by secondary cities and towns and across the Commonwealth, the degree of urbanisation varies significantly. Whilst 38.1% of the population of the Commonwealth lived in urban settlements in 2014, Commonwealth Europe is 82% urban and Commonwealth South-East Asia 78% with Commonwealth Africa 41%, Commonwealth South Asia 33% and the Commonwealth Pacific Islands 18% urban. Achievement of SDG 11 will require cities to actively address the key dimensions of sustainable development – the economy, the society and the environment and to be inclusive, and proactive to ensure safety of all citizens. Subthemes includes urbanisation and migration, urban planning, informal settlements, formal and informal urban economy, disaster risk reduction and emergency planning, safety and security in cities, and smart cities and ICT.

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The Challenge of Local Government Financing in Developing Countries

Cities are assets, solutions and drivers of economic and social development. Cities possess huge untapped economic potential that can and should be leveraged to create wealth and economic opportunities for all. This requires good urban planning that supports urban compactness, integration, and connectivity. However, even the best urban plans risk ending up unused if they are not accompanied by financial and regulatory strategies for implementation. Strategic public investments must go hand in hand with strategic funding mechanisms and supporting governance systems. The report also identifies successful governance mechanisms for efficient and equitable provision of public services in metropolitan areas of developing countries, and shares experiences and methods to making public service provision more viable in peri-urban areas of large cities and in smaller urban centres of these countries.

Author: UN Habitat Publisher: UN Habitat Publication year: 2017


Localising the sustainable development goals (SDGs) : the role of local government in context

The United Nations (UN) has of late been debating the new international development framework that will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post–2015. This process has been popularly referred to as the post-2015 development agenda. It is a fact that many of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that have been identifi ed will impact on the role and responsibilities of local government, namely, poverty reduction; access to water and sanitation; health; education; economic growth; development of cities and human settlements; and resilience to climate change. A critical issue that was highlighted when the MDGs were introduced in 2000 was the implementation modalities as it was felt that the process and goals were primarily top down (CLGF 2014:3). Consequently, there has been strong advocacy for local government to be a key implementation partner in the achievement of the new sustainable development goals that would have been finalised in September 2015 (www.worldwewant2015.org/ localising2015; CLGF 2014:3; www.capacity.undp.org; Slack 2014:1). Key aspects of the debate and discussion to date have been how to localise the new development framework, evaluate the local impact of the future SDGs and ensure that the local dimension is prioritised and successfully implemented (UNDP 2014a:3). There is a firm belief that the issue of localisation has to extend beyond national, provincial/state/regional implementation and there should be a focus on how the new development agenda will be implemented locally and the implications for the local level of government in this regard. According to the UN, localisation denotes the “process of defining; implementing; and monitoring strategies at the local level for achievable global, national and subnational sustainable goals and targets” (UNDP 2014a:3). This process would involve the utilisation of distinct tools, mechanisms, strategies, platforms and innovations to ensure that the development agenda is effectively translated into firm action and concrete results at the local level to benefit communities. It is envisaged that it will be an inclusive process and will move beyond the municipal jurisdiction to draw in relevant stakeholders to create a strong and capable local authority. Viewed in this context, localisation is an integral part of the multilevel governmental system and more so in terms of attaining the sustainable development goals that will be shortly adopted by the international community (CLGF 2014:3).

Author: PS Reddy Publisher: African Journal of Public Affairs Publication year: 2016


Sustainable Urbanization Strategy

This Sustainable Urbanization Strategy outlines how UNDP is responding to rapid urbanization in developing countries and its consequences for sustainable development. It outlines how UNDP will support countries and cities, building upon its past and current work on urbanization. The strategy presents the complex and evolving urban challenges and the interrelated development choices which cities face as they strive to achieve the SDGs and implement the New Urban Agenda. It also sets out UNDP’s comparative advantage and experience in core thematic areas which are relevant to achieving the SDGs in cities and urban areas.

Author: UNDP Publisher: UNDP Publication year: 2016


Whatever happened to Africa’s rapid urbanisation

It is widely believed that urbanisation is occurring faster in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world, as migrants move from rural to urban settlements. This is a fallacy. While the populations of numerous urban areas are growing rapidly, the urbanisation levels of many countries are increasing slowly – if at all. Natural increase, rather than net in-migration, is the predominant growth factor in most urban populations. African governments, policymakers and international donors need to acknowledge fundamental changes in urbanisation trends, and respond to the irrefutable messages these impart about urban employment, incomes and economic development.

Author: Debra Potts Publisher: African Research Institute Publication year: 2010


Making infrastructure work for men and women

This report provides a gender review of a decade and a half of World Bank infrastructure lending for 1,246 projects. The objective of this review is to assess the status of and trends in gender integration in the World Bank infrastructure portfolio, and to establish a baseline for monitoring and enhancing gender integration in line with commitments made for the 2006 Gender Action Plan.

Author: World Bank Publisher: World Bank Publication year: 2010


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