Governance Campaign Steering Group meets in Barcelona
The 8th Steering Group Meeting was held in conjunction with the second World Urban Forum in Barcelona. As the Steering Group had previously met just three months ago, no formal progress report was circulated. The meeting focused on specific areas where partnerships could be built amongst various Steering Group members and the Campaign secretariat at UN-HABITAT, including national campaigns, promotion of various tools produced by the Campaign, and the dissemination and application of the Urban Governance Index. The participation of the UCLG Secretary-General helped to take the discussions on UCLG/UN-HABITAT collaboration forward in a constructive manner.
The second half of the Steering Group Meeting was dedicated to a discussion on the Localising MDGs proposal. The group was expanded to include members of the Programme Review Committee of the Urban Management Programme, including Sida and SDC. This was an attempt to open up the discussion on Localising MDGs to the partners of the Governance Campaign, and to discuss possible cooperation in this area.
To download the report of the Eighth Steering Group Meeting, please click here
UN-HABITAT Learning Event at CSD-12
Urban Governance Tools to Support Sustainable Urbanisation
A learning event on “Urban Governance Tools to Support Sustainable Urbanisation” was conducted by UN-HABITAT’s Global Campaign on Urban Governance, at the Twelfth session of Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12), in New York, on 21st April 2004. The objective of the session was to disseminate and share the wide range of urban governance tools developed under the umbrella of the Campaign, with urban stakeholders, practitioners and experts. The session also aimed to build on the broad global acceptance that good local governance is a prerequisite for sustainable urbanisation, and that the relationships between the local government, the private sector and the civil society can greatly enhance or obstruct sustainable development initiatives.
The three-hour session was attended by about 50 participants representing local and national governments, civil society organizations, international NGOs, development practitioners and academia. The presentations focused on the tools developed by the Governance Campaign to help promote inclusiveness and good urban governance across the globe, especially those related to the Urban Governance Index, Transparency and Participatory Budgeting.
The discussion on the Urban Governance Index centred on two key themes. The first related to the issue of process versus outcome indicators, and the need to use the Index as a complementary tool to other indicator systems. The second set of issues raised dealt with specific indicators, their significance, allocation of weights etc. Indicators that generated lively debates included those related to resource mobilisation, proximity of elected leaders to urban populations, and effectiveness of implementation of various sectoral policies.
The presentation on Transparency in Local Governance led to discussions on the tools, the case studies as well as the potential strategic entry points for initiating transparency programmes. The importance of Ethics and an Ethical ambience was widely discussed, as well as issues of conflict of interest and institutional reform. Participants shared examples from their own contexts – for instance, from India, South Africa and Ireland.
The Participatory Budgeting (PB) presentation was received with keen interest by the participants. There were a number of questions on the PB cycle and the details of steps involved. An important issue raised was on the ultimate accountability in the PB process, and whether it rests with the stakeholder representatives or the municipal body. Participants also wanted to know how to avoid disappointments of those stakeholders whose views and priorities were not fully addressed by the PB process. Finally, it was emphasised that PB should enhance and not attempt to replace representative democracy.
In general, most participants wanted to learn more about how to develop/ initiate governance improvement programmes, especially in those cities and countries where decentralization processes are not well entrenched. Participants also expressed a keen interest in different kinds and levels of follow-up to the learning session, especially:
- adaptation of tools to local context;
- scaling up of training and capacity-building efforts; and,
- operationalisation of tools through governance support programmes and activities of national as well as other international agencies.
Documentation and presentations
Good Governance and Secure Tenure Campaign activities initiated in the Arab States
UN-HABITAT and the UN Economic and Social Commission on Western Asia (ESCWA) have agreed to jointly launch a Regional Campaign on Urban Governance and Secure Tenure in Arab countries. The goal of the Regional Campaign is to build awareness and encourage debate in the region on norms of good urban governance and security of tenure, and to mobilise national and local partners to operationalise these norms. The first phase of the programme will focus primarily on regional activities, while the second phase will see the Campaigns being implemented at the national level. A cross-section of stakeholders from different sections of Arab society will be involved throughout the programme.
To initiate the activities of the Regional campaign, an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Good Governance and Secure Tenure was organised in Cairo, Egypt between 15-18 December 2003. This EGM was the first major activity in the launching of the Regional Campaign. The Meeting witnessed the participation of a cross-section of experts and professionals from various Arab countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. The League of Arab States also participated in the event. UN-HABITAT representatives made substantive presentations on the two Campaigns as well as thematic presentations on “Inclusive City” and “Housing Rights”, in the Meeting.
Presentations in the EGM ranged from conceptual/ normative-focused to country or city-specific case studies. The importance of good urban governance and strengthening of partnerships between local stakeholders within the largely centralised government systems in the Arab states, was emphasised by a large number of speakers. Issues of security of tenure, particularly for large sections of displaced persons, were also raised. Some case studies of successful efforts to provide tenure to the vulnerable communities through participatory approaches were also presented.
Overall, the EGM helped to build awareness about the two Campaigns and the benefits they can bring to partners – cities, countries, civil society and other stakeholders. It also helped in exchange of experiences between different countries in the region. Furthermore, the meeting provided a useful opportunity to identify some cities which might be interested in taking the lead in the application of various Campaign tools, as well as the Urban Governance Index.
The programme for future activities to be initiated under the overall framework of the Regional Campaign will be finalised jointly by ESCWA and UN-HABITAT based on discussions during the EGM.
Focus on Local Governance at Yaounde
On the occasion of the Africities Summit 2003, a series of sessions were held on the subject of local governance. On 3 December, a cross cutting session was held on Local Governance of Basic Services. This session focused on effective decentralisation and transparent relations between key urban actors. Speakers from across the continent shared their experiences and lessons learned regarding these two important areas of governance. On 4 December, a parallel session was held on the Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and on Urban Governance, which included the launching of ANUMI, the African Network of Urban Management Institutes. Finally the same day a session was held on Participatory Budgeting and Municipal Finance, which witnessed the signing of a letter of intention on the transfer of experiences on participatory budgeting between Brazil and Cameroon.
All these sessions underlined the importance of local governance in terms of human development, poverty reduction and in overcoming the challenges arising from the urbanisation process in the continent. They asserted that local governments are best positioned to deliver basic services effectively and to the largest number of urban dwellers. They emphasised that the essence of local governance is to provide a space at the lowest level to engage collectively in identifying priorities, determining the modality and continuously assessing public processes including service delivery.
The sessions also recognized the supporting role UN-HABITAT is playing as the focal point for local governments in the UN system in promoting local governance. They recognised the global campaigns for secure tenure and on urban governance as important mechanisms to advocate and build capacity for better local governance for improved basic services. The Global Campaign on Urban Governance is at different stages of preparation in several African countries: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Publications and practical toolkits on local governance are being developed and circulated.
The discussions and recommendations from the session are summarised in the document “Declaration on Local Governance for Basic Services”
Urban Governance Indicators to be developed under Somalia Good Local Governance and Training Programme
Under the umbrella of the Global Campaign on Urban Governance, an Index on Good Urban Governance is currently being developed, which will help urban stakeholders across the world in assessing the quality of governance in their cities and provide the basis for policy reform and institutional change. Drawing from the indicators used in the Urban Governance Index, the Urban Governance Section is also facilitating the development of a set of locally adapted indicators to measure and improve the quality of local governance in Somalia. This initiative forms part of the EU-funded Somalia Good Local Governance and Leadership Training Programme, being implemented by UN-HABITAT’s Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States. The Hargeisa-based Academy for Peace and Development is likely to play an important role in this exercise.
It has been agreed that the Academy will facilitate a small task force on urban governance indicators with representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Statistical Unit of the Ministry of National Planning and Coordination, the Municipality of Hargeisa, NGOs, private sector and the media, assisted by an international consultant. The main activities of the Task Force will be to map out the availability of existing urban indicators (including local governance performance indicators and human development indicators); develop locally appropriate urban governance indicators; field test the indicators in select urban centres of Somaliland; define benchmarks and targets for the proposed indicators; design a data collection system and develop an effective policy feedback mechanism. The task is especially challenging because of the overall lack of accurate and reliable data in Somalia.
The participatory process of development of the indicators will also serve to sensitise key stakeholders about the existing status and the urgent need for improvement of the quality of urban governance in Somalia.
Urban Governance and Secure Tenure Campaigns take off in Brazil
The two Campaigns were launched in Brazil on 7 October 2003 at a high-profile event attended by around 300 people. The event witnessed the equitable participation of representatives of all major stakeholders: civil society, local authorities and national government. A National “Charter of Commitment of Cities for Secure Tenure and Urban Governance” was signed by Mr. Orlando Alves dos Santos Junior, the Executive Secretary of the National Urban Reform Forum; Dr. Marcelo Deda, Mayor of Aracaju and the General Coordinator of the National Mayors´ Front; and Minister Olivio Dutra, the Minister of Cities. The witnesses were the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Cesar Maia, Mr. Aser Cortines, CAIXA FEDERAL, and the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka. The main commitments related to urban governance (among others) contained in the Charter pertain to the areas of public safety, and public finance and infrastructure.
Under the thematic area of public safety, the key commitments include: Inclusion of all municipalities in the One System of Public Safety (Federal); a minimum quota of 30% for municipalities in the National Public Safety Fund; regularization and broadening of the scope of the Municipal Guard, in their condition of preventive and community police; promoting the involvement of communities in the formulation and implementation of preventive actions; and finally, articulation of preventive police measures with urban and social programmes within low-income communities.
Under public finance, the key commitments include: Development and implementation of alternative finance measures which can improve the municipal finance base; strengthening the judicial revenue base and its use; coordination of the use of financial resources among all government spheres; ensuring a more sustainable and transparent use of territorial planning and development, together with local development, as a basic decision making tool; participatory planning, budgeting and management, including all key stakeholders.
The full Charter is available in Portuguese and has also been endorsed by many other actors, including President Lula of Brazil, participating in the National Cities Conference, 23-26 October 2003, in Brasilia.
The Brazil campaign has provided some interesting insights into the mechanism of preparation and launch of National Campaigns. The extensive and broad based preparatory process was initiated well before the actual launch (early 2003) and involved a number of key stakeholders. The subsequent National Cities conference witnessed the reinforcement of commitments made at the launch. The National Mayors’ Front is in the process of preparing their Action Plan and is envisaged to play a key role in implementation of the Campaign in municipalities.
Campaign Steering Group meets in Nairobi
The sixth meeting of the Global Steering Group of the Governance Campaign was organised in Nairobi in May 2003, coinciding with the 19th session UN-HABITAT’s Governing Council. The Steering group took stock of the Campaign progress, including national launches, various products and toolkits, and the Urban Governance Index. Four campaign products were highlighted in the meeting: (a) Local-to-Local Dialogues; (b) the Urban Governance Index; (c) the Research Agenda; (d) the Transparency Toolkit. Many valuable comments and recommendations were made.
The meeting also discussed several key issues regarding future collaboration, including: the identity of the campaign vis-à-vis its partners; the process of developing new campaign products; the role of partners in national launches; the need to identify new means for partners to mutually support each other and each other’s products; and the need to revisit how Steering Group meetings are organised so as to ensure maximum cross-fertilisation and synergy.
It was agreed that the next meetings of the Steering Group would be held in May 2004 at the United Cities and Local Governments meeting in Paris, and at the World Urban Forum in Barcelona in September 2004.
For the complete report of the Steering Group meeting and Annexes, click here
|Global Campaign on Urban Governance,Report from the Sixth Meeting of the Global Steering Group, Nairobi, Kenya 4 May 2003
|Annex 1 - UN-HABITAT
Global Campaign on Urban Governance, Progress Report
May 2002 - April 2003,
|Annex 2 - Urban Governance Index
|Annex 3 - Evaluation of effectiveness of measures to increase the transparency, responsiveness and accountability of local governance
|Annex 4 - Transparency Toolkit
For more information, please contact:
Global Campaign on Urban Governance
P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623216, Fax: (254-2) 624264