Good urban governance is a prerequisite to sustainable development
and urban poverty reduction. Today, cities are faced with a continuously
growing population and the associated social needs. Resources available
to municipalities are however not growing at a similar pace. In
this context, effective decentralization, efficient management of
limited resources, popular participation and the development of
productive partnerships between the city and the state, civil society,
grassroots communities, as well as the private sector, are essential
tools in the fight that cities wage against urban poverty. The Habitat
Agenda commits UN-Habitat to working towards the establishment of
good urban governance in the world's towns and cities.
The briefs outlined below address the importance of balancing social,
economic and environmental needs of both present and future generations
through sustainable human development. Most feature a paradigm shift
in the provision of services within cities, which are carried out
in a decentralized manner, by encouraging the lowest level of authority
that can provide the services efficiently to do so, while increasing
the potential for the inclusion of the citizenry in running their
cities. This is accompanied by availing the corresponding required
resources to achieve effective service delivery. Women and men are
equally represented and their needs and priorities equally addressed.
Inclusive participation seeks to empower all people especially women
and the poor, to participate in effective decision-making. The aforesaid
cities are financially sound and cost-effective in revenue resources
management. In this regard, transparency and accountability are
essential in allowing stakeholders to understand local government
operations and to assess which sectors of society are benefiting
from decisions and actions.
An Integrated Development Project in the Greater Mafikeng
Area, South Africa
Mafikeng, situated 300 km to the west of Johannesburg, has a population
of over 250,000. Greater Mafikeng is comprised of Mafikeng and the
peri-urban tribal area. The southern part of this area had no clean
water, electricity, transport, storm water drains or sanitation.
The Mafikeng Development Programme was initiated in 1995 with an
aim of coordinating a wide spectrum of social, economic and environmental
projects in the Greater Mafikeng Area within one comprehensive plan.
Tourism was identified as the driving force to improve the river
corridor and the city in general, which in turn will improve the
living conditions of the people by providing them with basic necessities
The first step towards empowering those previously oppressed under
the apartheid system was the establishment of a broad-based Steering
Committee comprised of very different administrative systems: Tribal
Authorities, City Council, Government Departments, the informal
sector, local businesses and the tourism industry. The programme
focuses on training and building local capacity through the integrated
development of several programmes: city and river clean up; clean
water provision; improved storm water facilities; improved traffic
flows; and enterprise and tourism development. Where practical,
all public works contracts were divided into smaller components
to involve as many new emerging contractors as possible. Where established
contractors were required, labour intensive methods were encouraged
and favoured. The Steering Committee has emerged not only as the
forum of economic development for the area, but its conflict resolution
role is helping repair the social fabric of the entire community.
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Participatory urban action plans in Somolu, Nigeria
Somolu is a metropolitan area of Lagos with a population of close
to one million. It is characterised by a high density, low-income
settlement which is conveniently located near the Central Business
District of Lagos. Urban services were in a state of neglect and
this condition was further compounded by lack of resources and widespread
corruption. The Somolu Local Authority embraced democratic management
practices and focus was on delivering basic services and infrastructure
in a sustainable way while at the same time winning back Citizens?
confidence after a decade of top-down planning and weak implementation.
Somolu has an active community, with 37 Community Development associations
working to improve general living conditions. The community was
involved in the decision making process through participation in
various consultative meetings involving Urban Management Programme
and the local authority.
Water supply, solid waste management, road and drainage rehabilitation
were identified as priorities and the Local Authority allocated
40% of its budget to provision of basic infrastructure.
Road rehabilitation is well on course with 21 kms of road being
resurfaced. 25kms of drainage facilities have been laid, 14 culverts
have been constructed and 12 boreholes drilled. Community development
associations manage these boreholes and provide maintenance and
security to ensure constant access to safe drinking water. Other
benefits accruing from the participatory process include construction
of a day care centre, police station and primary health care centre
and micro-credit schemes where $10,000 was invested in a revolving
fund by the local government to create employment for Somolu youth.
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Integrating the Youth in Kasserine City, Tunisia
For the urban youth, who constitute majority of the urban population
in Tunisia?s poor neighbourhoods, promises of a better life in the
city often ring hollow. Majority lack adequate training and skills
to access gainful employment, which denies them opportunities to
realise their ambitions. To address this challenge, the UMP and
the FNVT (Fédération Nationale des Villes Tunisiennes)
organised city-wide consultations in Kasserine, a city facing severe
economic problems, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the municipality
to develop and implement action plans targeting young urban citizens.
The municipality played a leading role in the consultation process
through an Enlarged Municipal Team (EME), composed of municipal
council members and staff, NGO and government representatives, Urban
Management Programme experts and youth from three impoverished neighbourhoods.
The process consisted of a series of consultative meetings, complemented
by a participatory diagnostic, and a final formal event during which
the action plan was adopted.
The outcome of the youth programme includes creation of a community
resource centre for the youth (through a grant from Japanese Co-operation),
which acts as the main node in a network of neighbourhood-based
and youth managed centres. Its role is to inform youth about existing
opportunities, link them up with the private sector and existing
government programmes, train neighbourhood youth mediators and provide
space for socio-cultural activities. Mobilisation of national and
regional resources for the youth, to support creation of neighbourhood-based
youth associations and their projects as well as income or employment
generating micro initiatives. The municipal authorities have created
a budget line for all youth related participatory projects.
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Operation Firimbi, Kenya
In 1995, Mazingira Institute convened the Habitat Task Force (HTF)
under the National Council of NGOs to advocate for housing and land
rights and to oppose forced evictions. Mazingira Institute in collaboration
with HTF and the Human and Legal Rights NGOs initiated the 'Operation
Individuals, community groups, research institutions, the media,
international agencies, NGOs among others have participated in the
Campaign by furnishing information, through self-organising, providing
financial and technical resources, engaging in civic action and
protests, litigation and agitating for protection of rights. The
main resources were mobilised from foreign NGOs, with local NGOs,
CBOs and other institutions making in kind contributions.
The Campaign made use of fax hotlines for receiving information
from the public about cases of land grabbing for prompt action and
over 250 cases were reported. A Public Forum was organised, attracting
people from all over the world. They participated in the evaluation
of the initiative and gave their views on future direction and the
way forward, especially regarding community organising and building.
The outcome was the Operation Firimbi Action Network of Local Chapters
or 'Vocal Points'.
Civic education and public awareness creation countrywide required
a communication strategy - entering into partnership with the media.
Although the problem of illegal land allocations on public utility
land is still rampant in Kenya, the Campaign has raised awareness
among the citizens, and now citizens organise peaceful demonstrations
to protest land allocations in their neighbourhoods, people are
reporting the matter to the media to highlight the situation. This
has resulted into elected municipal government officers such as
the mayors and councilors promising to take legal action and the
sacking of the Nairobi town clerk, Director of Urban planning in
Nairobi and the Commissioner of Lands, among other actions.
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Civil Society Participation in Urban Governance, Dondo,
Prior to the initiative, communities showed a low level of awareness
of citizen's role in municipal development, lack of sense of civic
engagement and citizenship, there lacked adequate organisational
structure of civil society to contribute to local government initiatives,
and general lack of capacity for needs assessment, planning and
management. This was made worse by the shortcomings on the local
government's part i.e., the local government seemed unwilling to
and/or unknowledgeable on how to involve the citizens in public
service provision and other functions such as environmental planning
In 1997, the North-South survey was carried out to establish the
level of knowledge on the role of the citizens in local government
operations, where it was revealed that 90% had no clue. These results
together with further data collection about local infrastructure
were incorporated in profiles of each quarter, which were presented
at community meetings. The communities elected their representatives,
which marked the beginning of the Development Committees of the
Quarters (NDBs). Each quarter elaborated a short, medium- and long-term
development plan based on the needs collected in the survey and
sought for its approval by the population. Profiles and development
plans were presented to the City Council. Participatory planning
culminated in a three-day planning workshop in July 1999 where the
City Council agreed to incorporate the community plans in the municipal
In March 1998 a new legal framework reflecting the national policy
of decentralisation was enacted. 33 municipal governments were established
in 1998 after the first Municipal Elections since independence.
But despite the municipal government's intention to involve citizens
in municipal development, the institutional frame and the concrete
mechanisms of involvement have not been provided. Later, the municipal
government invited the Development Committees to a planning seminar
with the aim of preparing the budgeting of activities of the year
2000. Although, full participatory budgeting was not achieved as
the City Council did not disclose its own budget lines, it was a
major step forward in the area of citizen involvement in local government
The promotion of dialogue between government and civil society has
shown its first results in the change of attitude of government
towards community-based initiatives, in the inclusion of its representatives
in a consultative process, in the recognition of new community structures.
It has led to better co-ordination and consent between the two partners.
The composition of the committees reflects the intention of social
inclusion: traditional authorities have been nominated automatically
as members.. Social inclusion has also guided the conception of
the infrastructure programmes of providing basic services at low
cost to all.
Development Committees of the Town Quarters (NDBs) are functioning,
representing the community and the City Council, and play an active
role in planning and project implementation. A database of information
on each of the town quarters has been created while the development
capacity of 40 community activists and 90 members of the NDBs has
been carried out.
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Naga City Participatory Planning Initiatives, Philippines
Naga is a city of 139,000 people in Central Philippines. Over the
past 10 years, it has become one of the recognised models in Philippine
local governance. Building on the 1991 Local Government Code mandating
the need for greater participation in local governance, Naga City
passed its "Empowerment Ordinance" in late 1995. The Naga
City People?s Council (NCPC) set the stage for what has been a revolutionary
experiment in local governance. In effect, what some call a "shadow
government" has been formed, a civil society counterpart to
the City Council. Civil society has been empowered to work closely
with the local government to design, implement and evaluate the
City?s development agenda. A June 1996 meeting identified, inter
alia, three priority areas for action under the aegis of the Naga
City Participatory Planning Initiatives: the clean up of the Naga
River, the management of solid waste and the revitalisation of the
Naga City Hospital. Reaching down to the village level through civil
society-organised task forces and committees, citizen input is contributing
enormously to the effectiveness and sustainability of these initiatives.
The participatory process skills developed in Naga City have been
applied to several new initiatives, including: the creation of the
Naga City Investment Board (NCIB), a private sector-led initiative
with members from the Naga City People?s Council; the adoption of
an Integrated Livelihood Masterplan (ILM) rationalizing existing
national and local livelihood programmes; the implementation of
capacity-building programmes within the city bureaucracy, particularly
the Public Service Excellence Program (PSEP); and the ongoing development
of a Citizen?s Guidebook of City Government Services designed to
improve service delivery, promote citizen empowerment and accountability
among city government service providers.
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Comprehensive Revitalisation of Urban Settlements, Chengdu
Chengdu, with a metropolitan population of 10 million and located
in the poorer western region, was one of the most severely polluted
cities in China. Surrounded on four sides by two rivers (Fu and
Nan), industrial effluent, raw sewage and the intensive use of freshwater
deteriorated the rivers? waters and silted the rivers causing annual
floods during the rainy season and one of the rivers to run dry
during the dry season. Slum and squatter settlements proliferated
on the banks of both rivers, exacerbating the social, economic and
environmental problems of the city. In 1993, further to a petition
by school children to the Mayor, Chengdu started the Fu and Nan
Rivers comprehensive revitalization plan.
Owing to the quantity of capital investment required and the number
of people and communities affected, the Municipal Government of
Chengdu adopted a strategy of partnership and participation. Over
30,000 households previously inhabiting the slums on both banks
of the two rivers have been re-housed since 1995 in new, fully equipped
housing estates. The vacated land has been used to create a continuous
green space replete with parks, gardens, recreational and cultural
facilities. The two rivers have been de-silted, widened and their
ecological flow restored, reducing flood vulnerability to a 200-year
risk. A series of concomitant projects dealt with solid waste, sewage
collection and treatment, industrial effluent, road infrastructure,
transport and communications, and parks and gardens. The lessons
learned in participatory planning and partnership are being transferred
in a unique setup whereby staff involved in the project has been
seconded to surrounding towns and districts.
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Innovative Urban Partnerships, Ahmedabad, India
Infrastructure conditions in the slums of Ahmedabad were in a poor
state. The quality and quantity of water supply was inadequate.
Many of the slums were not connected with the sewerage, solid waste
disposal was inadequate or limited with no landfill sites, and flooding
and epidemics were a frequent phenomenon. Public parks and gardens
were the scenes of crime and other anti social behaviours. The Sabarmati
River was heavily polluted while traffic management was characterised
by unauthorised construction, congested traffic, no parking or pedestrians
facilities. Bylaws were violated in every sense of the word. Conditions
of municipal hospitals and level of primary education in municipal
schools were degrading day-by-day. The municipal council had budgets
deficit, costs overrun, unpaid overdrafts and credits, and delayed
payments. Consequently, riots and demonstrations against the administration
were becoming frequent and especially in the slum areas.
The Innovative Urban Partnerships in Ahmedabad cover a wide range
of local government functions - slum improvement, public administration,
municipal finance, water and sanitation, urban forestry etc. They
involve many groups of partners: government and public sector units;
international agencies such as USAID, DFID, and UNDP; Civil Society
Organisations; Corporate Sector; CBOs and NGOs; and financial institutions
such as SEWA Cooperative Bank. The innovative urban partnerships
are based on the concepts of investments, each partner investing
a portion of the project.
The Report Card system on municipal services was introduced and
is now being developed in an institutional mechanism for mapping
the trend of service performance and user satisfaction on on-going
The partnerships have made their impact felt. There are four new,
safe, and green city parks. The main road is ready with new layout,
traffic system and advertisement rights. Last but not least the
river front development plan is approved.
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Urban Governance in Environmental and Public Health: Surat's
Prior to May 1995, the city of Surat was not only faced with financial,
administrative, socio-political and legal problems but was also
one of the filthiest cities in India. In September of 1994, the
city was traumatised by a plague outbreak. This outbreak coupled
with poor working conditions and non-attendance to grievances further
demoralised the staff of the Surat Municipal Corporation. Basic
municipal services such as street cleaning, collection of solid
waste, water supply and sewerage services, drains, street lights,
parks and gardens, roads and schools were only covered about 45%
of the city residents. Morbidity rate due to water-borne and water-related
public health diseases was high. To make matters worse, both the
elected representatives (councilors) and the media had no interest
in the SMC?s functioning. Capital expenditure on long term assets
stood at Rs. 300 million with expenditure on salaries and allowances
accounting for about 47 per cent per Revenue Budget.
In May 1995, a new Mayor was posted to the city as the CEO. He undertook
a one-week extensive tour of the city and held consultative meetings
with all levels of municipal employees. He decentralised all his
administrative and financial powers to ten commissioners (six zonal
chiefs together with four functional heads of water supply, sewerage;
town planning and finance divisions). A consultative decision-making
process among all the eleven commissioners was introduced. The resulting
decentralisation and empowerment of work units broke the departmental
barriers and lifted the morale of the staff. A micro-planning exercise
based on extensive field input was carried out to lay down equitable
norms for effective and efficient provision of services to the citizens
with best use of the available resources.
The council entered into partnerships with the private sector, who
provided street litterbins in exchange of advertising rights. Instant
penalties on littering were also introduced and this increased the
amount of revenue collected. CBOs, mainly women groups in the slum
areas, were used to raise awareness on the need to widen the roads
so as to make provision of other services easier. The media realised
the positive role it played in spreading public awareness and has
taken up the role of social auditing of SMC's operation.
The citizens were involved in the decision making process through
a grievance redressal system and feedback mechanism. A sense of
citizenship and pride was developed, as the citizens were aware
of their civil rights to quality services.
Inculcating public awareness and civic participation among the citizens
brought about transparency among council officers and workers. Also,
a transparent system for routine works such as maintenance was worked
out for contractors. During the whole process, the media was used
to highlight the situation and to create public awareness. Morale
of the staff at the lower echelons is being sustained by an innovative
system of public rewards.
Within a period of 18 months Surat had turned from the filthiest
city to the second cleanest city of India. The internal revenue
collection increased due to efficient tax recovery, transparency
in tax assessments and plugging of loopholes in tax administration.
A sense of pride among the sanitation workers was restored, through
provision of proper equipment and their grievances taken into consideration.
Provision of basic services increased to over 95% of the residents,
while capital expenditure also increased by about 450%.
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City Construction and the Environment, Colombo - Srilanka
Urban financing within the Colombo Municipal Council had collapsed
and the central government was unable to assist. Consequently, there
was severe problem in the maintenance of infrastructure and services.
Rigid, hierarchical and bureaucratic public administration and practice
within the council aggravated the situation.
To overcome this problem, the council invited stakeholders to develop
a vision and a mission through the elaboration of a Corporate Plan,
which was released to the public. The municipal council then sought
to establish effective partnerships between the administrators (local
and central governments), the residents, private sector, and NGOs.
Further external help was sought from International agencies such
as UNHABITAT, the World Bank, GTZ, DFID, and Asian Development Bank
as well as from Foreign Central governments of Netherlands, Norway,
Great Britain, Australia, and Germany to address the issue of Water
and Sanitation and Solid Waste Management. The NGOs and Private
sector played leadership role.
The council started measuring performance not only in terms of input
but also in terms of output. The importance of good leadership and
team spirit was recognized within the local authority and during
elections, the diverse interests was represented including both
professionals and grassroots leaders.
To build openness, several innovative measures were initiated including
the 100-Day Programme, which aimed at creating an impact in the
public service delivery within 100 days, and the City Development
Strategy, which addresses the urban economy, environment, poverty
and social development in the city. The local authority also set
aside a weekly Public-Day when high ranked council officials meet
with citizens to hear views and grievances.
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Decentralising Urban Infrastructure in Bali, Indonesia
Bali, a densely populated island of 3 million inhabitants, was not
able to meet the local urban infrastructure needs of its population
or with the rapid growth of the tourism sector. Building on the
existing partnership between the Government of Indonesia and the
World Bank, the provision of local urban infrastructure has been
gradually decentralized to local authorities. Greater responsibility
has been given to Balinese local governments for medium-term planning,
programming, budgeting, and implementation of urban infrastructure.
Most recently, the Bali Urban Infrastructure Programme (BUIP) built
on continued decentralisation, greater and more focused efforts
at private sector participation, increased focus on environmental
sustainability, on-going community participation, support for capacity
building in urban management and greater financial responsibility
at the local government level. The BUIP initiatives have increased
the Government of Indonesia?s commitment to decentralisation. Since
the 1997/98 budget year, for example, all urban infrastructure grants
are channelled directly to local governments. As a result of the
Bali initiatives, therefore, the role of central government is being
gradually transformed from implementer to provider of overall guidance
and technical assistance to the lower level governments.
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Participatory Urban Planning for Improved Local Governance,
Province of Guimaras, The Philippines
The island Province of Guimaras, Philippines is located approximately
500 kilometres south of Manila, nestled between the larger islands
of Panay and Negros in the Western Visayas. The island has a total
area of 60,465 hectares (about the same size as Singapore) and a
population of 133,000. Located just 3 kilometres across the straight
from the medium-sized city of Iloilo (population 300,000 and capital
of Iloilo Province), Guimaras can be considered to be a peri-urban
region that is coming increasing under the urban growth shadow.
In 1994, the Provincial Government of Guimaras in partnership with
the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) embarked on a community-based
and multi-stakeholder development planning process involving all
the three levels of local governments (engaging a total of 102 local
The program, undertaken with funding support of the Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), has been focused on developing the capacities
of local government units to promote sustainable development practices
and community involvement in planning and decision-making. It supports
the Philippine Government's thrust towards decentralisation of power
to local authorities and empowerment of local communities, which
is required under the country's Local Government Code - LGC Code
(decentralisation legislation) enacted in 1991. This partnership
project is a case study in approaches to "operationalising"
The project has been able to engage more than 5000 stakeholders
from national government agencies, local authorities, private sector
and civil society in a community-based planning and decision making
process. This process resulted in the completion of strategic plans
in all three levels of local government: provincial, 5 municipalities
and 96 barangays (which are the officially recognised village-based
level of government in the Philippines). The strategic plans initiated
in 1996 are providing directions for the local governments in mobilising
human and financial resources for the various priority economic,
environmental and social development thrusts in the island province.
Integral to the strategic planning process has been action learning,
or "learning-by-doing." Based on the priorities determined
in the strategic planning process and using a participatory community-based
process, the project has been implementing three pilot projects.
The purpose of these projects is to have some tangible community
focus for realising concrete benefits from the project (in addition
to the planning and capacity-building elements). As a result of
the outcomes and impacts of the Guimaras experience, the CUI and
the Province of Guimaras were asked to share their experiences in
three different places: Boracay Island, the Province of Aklan, and
the Municipality of Malay (Aklan Province).
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Slum Improvement Project in Dhaka Metropolitan
City - Bangladesh
Dhaka is one of the fastest growing mega-cities in the world. Slums
pose one of the biggest problems of the city. Around 12 per cent
of the total population of the Dhaka city live in slum areas, which
are very densely populated with a population density of 750 people
per hectare. These areas have few or no basic utility services,
including portable water, sanitation, drainage, etc. Slum Improvement
Project (SIP) under the Local Government Engineering Department
(LGED) was established in 1985 in five municipalities to address
the social and environmental problems affecting slum dwellers.
Through the Slum Improvement Project (SIP) participatory approach,
the Local Authority in partnership with urban communities, public
and private institutions has made a breakthrough in providing an
integrated package of basic physical, social and economic infrastructure
services to the urban poor. Of all SIP components, the micro-credit
program has been found to be particularly successful and most attractive.
Many poor households have increased their income using this facility.
The SIP has significantly raised levels of awareness particularly
in health and sanitation among slum dwellers, resulting in significant
reductions in the incidence of numerous diseases. The SIP has empowered
poor women through community involvement, particularly through the
savings and credit program, thereby realising the overall status
of women in families and communities.
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Municipal Actions for Urban Poverty Reduction - Lebanon
Ghobeiri Municipality in Lebanon has a population of 200,000 and
held its first elections after 35 years in 1998 resulting in the
emergence of a crop of qualified municipal council members with
strong private sector and voluntary work background. The new council
was confronted by uncontrolled urbanisation trends affecting all
Lebanese cities; the destructive consequences of the civil war and
waves of internal displacement and emigration. Managing the city's
problems and enhancing sustainable development relied on building
partnership with all actors, namely, citizen groups, NGOs, the private
sector, the central and international agencies. Ghobeiri municipal
council co-ordinates directly with 16 social NGOs and CBOs and indirectly
with 10. Ghobeiri Municipality receives support from UNDP's LIFE
(Local Initiative Facility for Urban Environment) Programme, UNICEF
and is involved actively in UNHABITAT's activities. Using a participatory,
bottom-up approach in identifying needs and priorities with the
involvement of all stakeholders, the Municipality has in two years
provided basic infrastructure to lower income groups with connection
of 18,000 households to the sewage system, equipping all streets
with lights and signs. Green parks and areas through planting over
4000 trees have also been developed. The municipality has been involved
in vocational training of over 100 children and offers social assistance
to vulnerable groups through NGOs working with over 30,000 orphans,
widows and the disabled. Women (over 100) are targeted in a programme
aimed to empower them through literacy training, vocational/skills
training and economic support.
The women training literacy program has been replicated in two
major Lebanese municipalities in Southern Lebanon, mainly: Nabatiyeh
and Sarafand. The UNICEF child labour program was also replicated
successfully on in four different municipalities: Tripoli, Saida,
Tyre, and Bourj Hammoud and has also been adopted by an NGO. The
project has demonstrated that approaching development projects from
a participatory approach through involving all community groups
and other stakeholders and the integration of marginalised groups
within the Municipality?s framework are key aspect of the success
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Municipal Environmental Urban Management "A Commitment
for Everyone" Argentina
The city of Rafaela, Argentina has been working since October 1996
in the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan. The Plan
is anchored on broad-based participation and consensus of all citizens
and social actors. The Strategic Plan seeks to transform Rafaela
into a place to live and invest. Rafaela has 80,000 inhabitants
with 450 odd industrial firms dealing with dairy processing, refrigeration,
tanning and metallurgy. The urban environment was highly polluted
and social conditions appalling. The negotiations amongst social
actors ended with the approval of 110 projects to be implemented
by the different institutions and organisations of the city. A Forum
with 135 institutions was established, providing for broad-based
participation and partnerships, chief ingredients for sustainability.
As a result, there was increased commitment from local authorities
to address social and environmental problems and an Environmental
Education Program and an Action Plan for urban drainage was developed.
Another achievement includes the development of a strategic land-use
plan to provide opportunities for real-estate development as well
as the provision of green public spaces. The initiative illustrates
that it is not possible to raise a long term, transforming policy
only from the political government without the support and consensus
of the city. 32 other cities in Argentina have adopted the approach
used by Rafaela to improve their living environment.
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Participatory Urban Action in Villa El Salvador, Peru
Villa El Salvador is home to people of diverse cultures who come
from all over the country with 340,000 of its inhabitants living
below the poverty line. The Participatory Urban Action Project of
Villa El Salvador was initiated in 1994 in consultation with the
residents of Villa El Salvador. One of the priorities identified
was to ensure that the inhabitants of Villa had secure tenure on
the land they had been allocated by the government.
The project?s emphasis was on partnership development with the
beneficiaries, the residents and community of Villa El Salvador,
being directly involved in decisions affecting their livelihoods.
Youth, women and other community members? views were incorporated
in the development of the poverty eradication strategy. The partnership
involved the participation of the public and private sector with
the inclusion of specialised institutions addressing issues such
as democracy, the economy, the environment, education and culture,
public safety, governance and citizen participation. The involvement
of various actors culminated in the formulation of "Vision
2010: Villa El Salvador, the Society and Its Development" and
demonstrates the importance of establishing partnerships, promoting
the involvement of stakeholders, civic awareness and creating a
culture of sharing information and lessons learned from experience.
Through participatory planning and implementation process adopted
from Porto Alegre Participatory Budget, the community not only became
more self reliant but the settlement at large became safer, healthier,
more inclusive and integrated with the formal city. Women's living
conditions and their contributions to economic, social and human
settlement development have also increased considerably. The case
highlights the need for specific measures to promote sustainability,
and the critical contribution of an enabling legislative framework.
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Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Porto Alegre is the capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, with
1,290,000 inhabitants. For nearly a decade, the city of Porto Alegre
has been involved in an innovative experiment in the budgetary process.
Its "Participative Budget" initiated in 1989 has institutionalised
the participation of civil society through a combination of regional,
sub-regional and thematic meetings that reach down to the very grassroots
of the city. Through these meetings, the citizens scrutinise the
past year?s expenditures, agree upon current priorities and allocate
funds for new projects. After priorities are clarified, counsellors
are elected to represent these priorities in discussions with city
officials. An Investment Plan is developed and forwarded to the
City?s executive council. While the executive body retains the right
to modify and amend the Investment Plan, the participatory process
prevents them from making fundamental changes.
The Participatory Budget substantiates that a participatory and
transparent management of resources is an effective way to avoid
corruption and mismanagement of public resources. In opposition
to some technocratic views, popular participation has favoured an
efficient management of public resources and expenditures, resulting
in very important works and actions for the population. Since its
implementation, the projects approved by the Participatory Budget
have represented investments of more than US$ 700 million, used
primarily to improve urban infrastructure and quality of life. The
Participatory Budget has also proved that the creation of practical
participation tools and the commitment of the government in implementing
the decisions made by the population are critical to the removal
of bureaucratic barriers and to strengthening citizenship and civic
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Program for the Urban Recovery of the North Bank of the
Biobio River - Chile
The North Bank of the Biobio River area was initially considered
to be outside the city. Most of the families of the sector arrived
in this area after losing their homes in the 1939 earthquake. The
Program for the Urban Recovery of the North Bank of the Biobio River
began in 1993. A working commission that operated between 1993 and
1994 established the following priorities: examine property deeds
to the land; evaluate the possibility of zoning the area; formulate
a project to provide families with permanent dwellings; identify
other possible actions. The objectives of the project were: (i)
to rehabilitate and revitalise an area comprising of 3,000 families
characterised by social and physical problems, isolation, flooding
and delinquency; (ii) increase the city's urban area and to remodel
the city; (iii) mobilise public, private and civil society actors
to participate in and jointly manage the urban renewal.
Out of a total of 1580 families who have lived in marginal conditions,
283 dwellings are completed and another 693 dwellings scheduled
for completion in the second phase. Other notable achievements include:
the recovery of urban land in close proximity to the city centre,
the design of 13 hectares of parks and gardens; improved pedestrian
and vehicular connections between the area and the city, and the
eradication of abandoned factories and illegal dump sites that deteriorated
the urban environment.
The initiative's success has much to do with decentralised leadership
and participatory decision-making. A committee was established to
mobilise and work with neighbourhood associations in each stage
of decision-making. Communication and participation was facilitated
via different media including television programs, the publication
and distribution of brochures and informational magazines, radio
messages, conveniently located on-site offices and public meetings.
A directorate of Urban Projects was established within the Ministry
of Housing and Urban Development with the necessary tools and authority
to ensure transparent and accountable bidding for contracts and
procurement and to ensure quality control.
Financial resources were mobilised by the Ministry of Housing and
Urban Development through an agreement with the United Nations Development
Program (UNDP). The initial public investment will be recovered
through the commercialisation of land and real estate investment.
Funds lent by the Ministry to residents for the purchase of their
homes are recovered through a mortgage payment system.
With the regeneration and revitalisation of their urban space,
the North Bank dwellers are no longer socially and physically excluded
from the city and the rest of the community. Likewise, the development
of new public use areas such as parks, walkways, scenic lookouts,
avenues, the Fine Arts Theatre, and public service buildings have
enabled conception to fulfil its long-cherished wish to recover
this natural space.
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Promoting Good Urban Governance in Nakuru,
Nakuru town is the administrative headquarters of Rift Valley province
and has a population of 480,000 people. Covering a total area of
290 km?, the town is a rapidly growing centre with a diverse economic
base, including amongst others agricultural processing industry,
regional service centre and tourism. Known for its flamingos and
once dubbed "the cleanest town in East-Africa", Nakuru,
Kenya has lost a lot of its past glory. Particular environmental
concerns are caused by the inter-relation between human settlements
and the Lake Nakuru National Park, and the expansion of the town
into geologically fragile areas and rich agricultural land. This
situation is aggravated by the falling standards of urban services,
calling for a new approach towards urban planning and management.
To promote good urban governance, the programme strategy emphasises
the need for a shared vision for the future development of the city.
Its parallel urgent problems are addressed through action planning
and environmental conflict resolution. This process is underpinned
by a continuous broad-based consultation process.
Capacity-building efforts focus on setting priorities for action,
targeted human resources development, institutional strengthening,
development and adaptation of tools, encouraging partnerships, mobilisation
of resources and promoting exchange between cities facing similar
A Strategic Structure Plan (SSP) for Nakuru has been prepared and
a Town Planning Unit is being established to reinforce the Council?s
planning capability and to co-ordinate the implementation of the
SSP. Action plans are being implemented concerning the revitalisation
of the Council?s rental housing stock, the resolution of space-use
conflicts around the bus station, improvement of water boreholes
in peri-urban areas, community-assisted solid waste collection and
greening projects in various parts of the city. To sustain these
actions, Council revenues and pricing of services are being rationalised,
the relationship between Council and CBOs are strengthened through
Zonal Development Committees and Councillors are being trained as
environmental guardians. The partnership between Nakuru and the
Municipality of Leuven has resulted in joint actions impacting on
the sustainable development of both cities.
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Neighbourhood Participation in the District of Santiago
de Surco, Peru
Surco has a population of 25,000 residents. Following a number
of years of mismanagement of Municipal resources, there has been
deterioration in the environment, lack of basic urban services reflecting
on the quality of life in the neighbourhood. This was further aggravated
by the lack of an environmental protection policy at the Municipal
level. In 1996, the new Municipal authority started engaging community
members in activities to protect natural eesources and improve quality
of life. The areas identified % as priority areas were service provision
- cleaning and maintenance of streeus, parks and gardens, resource
management and sensitisation of community members. For each of the
priorities identigied, strategies were developed to meet the set
objectives. As a means to consolidate the efforts being made in
service provision being controlled by mafias in Surco, the Municipality
took on overall responsibility. A wastewater treatment plant was
established in Rio Surco to treat effluents from the city's major
river. Volunteers from the neighbourhood embarked on a door-to-door
environmental campaign and started collecting and sorting recyclable
materials at the established recycling centres where 90% of employees
are women. Schools were supplied with educational materials and
a programme was initiated where students carry out waste separation.
As a result of these efforts, 600,000m2 of land has been designated
as parks and gardens and neighbourhood associations tasked with
the responsibility of maintaining them. There has been a behavioural
change with regard to separation of garbage at source with 193 tons/year
of recyclable material being recycled thereby contributing to the
regions' economy. The wastewater treatment plant saves the municipality
US $ 450,000 in water used for irrigation. This initiative successfully
engages community members in the management of their living environment
making it more sustainable.
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Citizens' Charter of Praja Foundation, India
PRAJA FOUNDATION is an NGO started by a group of individuals committed
to the re-establishment of accountability and transparency in public
governance through people's participation. The first initiative
of PRAJA was the development of a citizen's charter formulated with
the guidance and support of administrators in Mumbai, a city with
a population of 13 million residents. This was done with the view
to improve the performance of public service providers after years
of frustration and discontent.
The citizen's charter acts as an information tool, providing authentic
information about public services in simple terms for use by the
community and in many instances translated to local dialect. The
initiative received support from the Municipal Authorities who assisted
in developing a services and complaint redressal system in each
department. PRAJA then undertook training with the Municipal staff
involved in service delivery to get their commitment to the Charter.
The workshops not only sensitised Municipal officials regarding
citizens' rights, but also attempted to bring about an attitudinal
change within the departments and between the Municipal and citizens.
After the information for the Citizens Charter was compiled, department
heads authenticated it and customised it into flyers and posters.
The media and resident groups contributed to meeting the established
standards by availing requisite information to all stakeholders.
PRAJA measured the degree of variation between the benchmark and
the actual performance. A survey of the performance of the Municipal
was conducted within six months of the citizens' charter. This initiative
adopted the Report Card system to ascertain what the citizens thought
of the services provided by the Municipal.
The Charter has succeeded in educating citizens about their rights
as well as their duties, clarifying channels citizens could use
to express their needs and expectations to the officials and built
capacities, sensitising service providers towards problem resolution
and work ethics. The citizens' charter has been distributed through
newspaper articles, on PRAJA's website and has led to the development
of a help-line dedicated to assisting citizens. The Charter is a
major step in building a viable democracy through participatory
governance and has paved the path for the development of the Police
Charter and the Public Distribution Charter.
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"Bhagidari": Citizen-Government Partnership,
Delhi, with a population of 11,680,000,
and varying economic conditions ranging from modern agriculture,
handicrafts, to a wide range of modern industries was faced with
deteriorating conditions of environment, traffic, and public utilities.
Overflowing sewers, littering on public places, poor roads, long
traffic jam coupled with vehicular and industrial pollution characterized
the city. The administration was also overburdened and the conventional
methods of problem solving were not yielding the desired results.
The Government of NCT of Delhi took an initiative
in the year 2000 to involve its citizens in facilitating citywide
changes in Delhi, by utilizing processes and principles of multi-stakeholders
collaboration through ‘Large Group Dynamics’ and "joint ownership"
with citizens and civic agency officials. The Government of NCT
of Delhi put into place a participatory and interactive framework
of governance, ‘Bhagidari’, meaning ‘co-sharing’ or ‘partnership’.
It is a good governance initiative that has facilitated a process
of dialogue between the citizens and the government for the discovery
of joint solutions aiming at improving the quality of life in the
city. The methodology of ‘Large Group Interactive Events’ has been
used to train the citizen groups and government officials to develop
consensus on civic issues pertaining to water, power, sanitation,
community services, security and environment.
‘Bhagidari’ has helped develop a democratic framework
of the state where Resident Welfare Associations, Rural Groups,
Market & Traders Associations, Industrial Associations, and
NGOs have become representatives of local groups. These associations
are effective in understanding issues of common civic concern, discussing
with government representatives the problems hampering effective
delivery of civic services and formulating joint workable solutions
to improve their environment and quality of life.
The initiative that began with 20 Resident Welfare
Associations is now an active partnership of more than 1300 citizen
groups comprising nearly 5 million people. Bhagidari’ has been expanded
in the last three years to include successful initiatives such as
setting up School Welfare Committees in all government schools,
empowerment of women through ‘Stree Shakti’ camps, opening of Gender
Resource Centres and Eco-campaigns. More than 100,000 women from
the lower sections of the society have benefited. 52 residential
areas have initiated rainwater harvesting through community participation
to recharge the vastly depleting underground water level. The civic
agencies and the Delhi Government have provided substantial financial
and technical assistance.
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CONTROLADORIA CIUDADANA: Support for the Strengthening
of Civil Society, Paraguay.
Paraguay has one of South America's most racially
homogeneous populations and is one of the continent's least densely
populated countries. It also experienced the region's longest dictatorship,
under Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled for 35 years until 1989. Lacking
significant mineral resources, Paraguay's economy is largely agricultural.
The 1990s saw slow but steady growth, but by 2002 the economy was
in serious trouble, partly because of the financial crisis in neighbouring
Argentina. Poverty affects some 60% of the population of 5.8 million
(UN, 2003) with a low Gross Domestic Product per capita of US $1,170
(World Bank, 2002). Corruption is endemic, and Paraguay has become
a regional centre for smuggling, money-laundering and organised
crime. The commercialisation of agriculture, high population growth
and forest clearance have led to a dramatic increase in the number
of landless families. This has boosted migration into urban areas,
causing a rapid growth in shanty towns.
The AFOSCI represents a network of 50 Citizens
Control Groups playing an important role to the establishment of
new governance process at national level. The general objective
of AFOSCI, a citizen empowerment programme, is to create consciousness
in the citizens that the management of public property is a duty
and a right of everyone. Despite having limited resources, members
of the Citizen Control Groups, devote their time and personal resources
to follow up on reported cases of Corruptions. The process usually
involves filing cases with the prosecutor's office and making follow-up
visits until positive action/response is obtained. The mass media
plays a big role in highlighting corruption cases (150 cases are
reported every month). The Citizen Control Groups act as ‘whistle
blowers’ and ensure that any corruption case reported by affiliate
members is brought to the public’s attention.
The most notable results were the impact the groups
had in the leadership of the country. During the last election campaigns
held in 2003, all the presidential candidates had to state their
policies in relation to curbing corruption. This commitment was
put on paper where the candidates and Citizen Control Groups co-signed
commitment forms. Several public institutions: ministries, municipalities,
departmental governments, signed agreements with Citizen Control
Groups for mutual support in the transparent public administration.
Civic education materials were disseminated during the last elections
in April 2003 to sensitise the general public on the need to support
honest candidates. It is important to note that the Citizen’ Network
has been able to give voice to the wider population ad has also
supported important pieces of legislations: Law of Citizen Participation
and Law of Access to Public Information.
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