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Sanitation under stress: how can urban services respond to acute migration?

This working paper aims to identify key research questions around the successes and failures of urban governance structures in delivering essential services to populations following large migration movements. It does so through a review of the existing literature on the subject. It then unpacks how conflict-induced migration has affected Jordan’s urban infrastructure and systems for the provision of basic services. In conclusion, we call for a research agenda that can help utilities, governments, non-governmental organisations and other service providers to better understand and overcome the challenges of sanitation provision in urban contexts ‘under stress’, without reinforcing existing inequalities or creating new ones, and to progress towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals’ aspirations for ‘universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation’ by 2030.

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Water management and stewardship: taking stock of corporate water behaviour

Commercial companies have become increasingly active in debates regarding water management. Company representatives arrive in numbers at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm and are increasingly active in sessions there, as well as appearing on panels at other water-related international conferences and meetings. The World Water Council and the OECD note that ‘companies have been outspoken’ in their ‘warnings of water risks to their operations’, which, if not managed, will ‘pose a threat to economic growth’. The discussion paper considers the opportunities for stewardship to strengthen water management and achieve development benefits, and discusses the issues to which water stewardship gives rise including identifying expectations that are misplaced and cautioning against misleading claims. The drivers of corporate ‘water behaviour(s)’ are discussed and progress towards water ‘stewardship’ against the international guides/standard assessed.

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Projecting progress: are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?

This report explores for the first time the scale of the challenge for 20 cities across the world to reach selected targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than half of the targets included will require a profound acceleration of efforts if they are to be achieved by the majority of selected cities. Targets that are not on course to be met by the majority of cities studied include ending child malnutrition, achieving full and productive female employment, access to adequate housing and access to drinking water and sanitation. The report makes a series of recommendations to increase progress towards the SDGs, including: 1) Central governments and donors should work to strengthen local governments’ capacities; 2) Government and city administrations should invest more in ways to monitor progress on the SDGs; 3) Statistical offices’ and cities’ information systems should improve the data available.

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Development finance for water resources: trends in the Middle East and North Africa

This paper provides an overview of development finance for water resources in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Based on analysis of reported data and interviews with donor institutions, it explores: how finance for water resources in MENA compares to that in other regions of Africa and Asia; how countries within MENA compare in their access to finance; and how donors from the region and beyond make allocation choices. Based on our findings, we make four key policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of finance for water resources in MENA: 1. Maintain support for water resources to sustain development gains; 2. Raise the political profile of water resources reform; 3. Use politically aware and cross-departmental approaches; 4. Form innovative donor partnerships in the region.

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Development aid and access to water and sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Providing safe drinking water and basic sanitation to citizens is one of the major challenges facing the African Governments. The issues of access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation is well articulated and prioritized in the various national, continental, and international policy documents, strategy papers, declarations, and conventions. And yet it is not clear if the provision of sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation has been given the requisite financial and other support by the SSA policy makers and donors. The principal objective of this paper is to compare countries’ performance in the water and sanitation sector and analyse how effectively they used the development aid received for the Water and Sanitation sector (WSS). Much has been written on Development Aid Effectiveness, but the focus of attention has often been on how the donors operate, and how the recipients use the money. In this context, the paper utilised an innovative standardized measurement framework known as-the Watsan Index of Development Effectiveness (WIDE) - which compares drivers of progress with results achieved, and ranks African countries by the level of outcome obtained per unit of available input. In particular, how effectively they used the development aid received for the water and sanitation sector. The WIDE is made up of two composite information layers, the Resources (input drivers such as aid received, GDP, water resources, and governance level), and the Progress Outcomes (access to water, access to sanitation, and progress in the two). We also performed econometric analyses to explore the linkages between interventions designed to promote development, and the outcomes from that development process, in the water and sanitation sector. These analyses were further validated by presentation of the WSS sector situation of four case study countries namely, Kenya, Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Uganda.

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Agricultural use of groundwater and management initiatives in the Maghreb: challenges and opportunities for sustainable aquifer exploitation

The intensive use of natural resources in the Maghreb, in particular by the agricultural sector, is creating an urgent need to design governance mechanisms at both the local and national level. Groundwater has become one of the most fragile of these resources. The rapid development of groundwater use for irrigation in the Maghreb has resulted in significant agricultural growth, but in many regions, such development has become unsustainable because of aquifer overexploitation or water and soil salinization. Adequate instruments to address this unsustainable use are not easy to design and implement, for there are many informal groundwater withdrawals by farmers, and water resource management organizations have limited intervention capacity. The paper examines groundwater use and management in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia based on a study of national institutional and policy mechanisms and nine local case studies. Overexploitation creates environmental, economic and social risks, and there are already significant identifiable impacts in several of the case studies. Farmers address the problem of decreasing borehole flow-rates (or water salinization) either by constantly investing more in order to continue to have sufficient quantities of fresh water for their crops, or by adjusting their cropping systems to adapt to this decrease. In the absence of specific policies, there are increasing differences between those farms that have the resources to continue investing more in order to have sufficient water, and those that have to adapt their crops to the shortage. Legal frameworks have laid management foundations, but they only have a limited impact, in particular, because of the generally informal nature of such uses. Different strategies are currently being discussed at national level, and are often focused on contractual approaches with the farmers. Concomitantly, some collective initiatives have been conceived at local level. The range of policies implemented to address this unsustainable use is very broad-based, and entails both increased water resources and the adoption of instruments to limit increases in withdrawals. These instruments are based on control and incentive mechanisms. In the cases considered, jointly used instruments have made it possible to limit increases in withdrawals and to facilitate water enhancement, without, however, restoring the resource-use balance. The design and implementation of strategies for sustainable aquifer exploitation require the building of coalitions of actors, which should include organizations responsible for water resources, those involved in agriculture, but also - and especially - farmers. Support could be provided to the formation of such coalitions and to their reflections on possible options to assist an agricultural economy based on sustainable aquifer use.

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Climate change, gender and development in Africa

This article focuses on policy to support adaptation to climate change, and the importance of good gender analysis in planning and following through. It first examines how vulnerabilities are understood by climate change specialists. Then it examines how, through these perspectives, African people – particularly women in environment-based livelihoods – can best be supported by governments and development partners to adapt to the effects of climate change.

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Report on Professionalized Rural Service Areas (PRSA) for water and sanitation

Standard approaches to rural water supply and sanitation have had some success in increasing access, but have often failed to provide sustainable coverage. Over the past decade, new approaches to rural water supply have begun to emerge in various parts of the world, largely in response to changing rural household conditions and attitudes. Two key elements often characterize these approaches: 1) Aggregation (or grouping) of service areas; 2) An entrepreneurial approach. In this document, strategies that adopt some or all of these elements are collectively referred to as the Professionalized Rural Service Areas (PRSA) strategy. The document sets out the strategy, providing policy-makers and potential lenders or investors with examples of proof-of-concept while outlining the main characteristics underlying PRSA (including aggregation and contracting domestic private operators).

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Shale gas and its implications for Africa and the African Development Bank

To better understand the “shale gas revolution” and its relevance to African countries, this report first describes actual experience with shale gas production in the United States, and then reviews a number of questions concerning shale gas production that are relevant to African countries. The report finishes by suggesting how the African Development Bank might work together with its client countries to assess the potential costs and benefits of developing shale gas where present.

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AfDB Strategy for 2013–2022 - at the center of Africa’s transformation

This ten-year Strategy is designed to place the African Development Bank at the centre of Africa’s transformation and to improve the quality of Africa’s growth. The Strategy will focus on two objectives to improve the quality of Africa’s growth: inclusive growth, and the transition to green growth. It also outlines five main channels for the Bank to deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa: Infrastructural development; Regional economic integration; Private sector development; Governance and accountability; Skills and technology. In implementing its ten-year Strategy, and as an integral part of the two objectives, the Bank will pay particular attention to fragile states, agriculture and food security, and gender.

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Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

This report, produced jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assesses the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. Africa has seen an acceleration in economic growth, established ambitious social safety nets and designed policies for boosting education and tackling HIV and other diseases. It has also introduced women’s quotas in parliament, leading the way internationally on gender equality, and increased gender parity in primary schools. Although overall poverty rates are still hovering around 48 percent, according to the most recent estimates, most countries have made progress on at least one goal. Much more work lies ahead to ensure living standards improve for all African women and men. While economic growth has been relatively strong, it has not been rapid or inclusive enough to create jobs. Similarly, many countries have managed to achieve access to primary schooling; however, considerable issues of quality and equity need to be addressed.

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A compendium of case studies on gender mainstreaming initiatives in UN-Habitat 2008-2012

Whilst we recognize that much work has been done in the main-streaming of gender equality in human settlement, UN-Habitat acknowledges that much more is required. This compendium of case studies is designed to bring into one document some of the gender main-streaming initiatives UN-Habitat implemented from 2008 to 2012. The case studies provide the most comprehensive examples of the field implementation of the UN-Habitat Gender Equality Action Plan of 2008 to 2013. The projects and programmes compendium brings recognition to UN-Habitat’s efforts to advance the internationally agreed agenda for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. The compendium serves as a good start towards capturing the successful efforts under way to advance the agenda on equality and empowerment of women. In addition, the compendium serves as a learning and resource tool to UN-Habitat and its partners

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Gender issue guide: gender-responsive urban basic services

This issue guide focuses attention on urban basic services in order to illuminate the effects of gender on equality of access and inclusion in the areas of urban energy, urban transport and water and sanitation. This issue guide further seeks to broadly outline the where and how of gender responsive interventions in order to strengthen planned and future actions that can go a long way to reduce poverty and overcome obstacles to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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Planning sustainable cities: global report on human settlements 2009

This report reviews recent urban planning practices and approaches, discusses constraints and conflicts therein, and identifies innovative approaches that are more responsive to current challenges of urbanization. It notes that traditional approaches to urban planning (particularly in developing countries) have largely failed to promote equitable, efficient and sustainable human settlements and to address twenty-first century challenges, including rapid urbanization, shrinking cities and ageing, climate change and related disasters, urban sprawl and unplanned peri-urbanization, as well as urbanization of poverty and informality. It concludes that new approaches to planning can only be meaningful, and have a greater chance of succeeding, if they effectively address all of these challenges, are participatory and inclusive, as well as linked to contextual socio-political processes.

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Urban patterns for a green economy: working with nature

Part of a series of four, entitled Urban Patterns for a Green Economy, this guide (Working with Nature) focuses on the effect of unplanned, rapid growth of cities on the functioning of a city-region’s natural systems. It outlines how guided development can maximise the ability of ecosystems to support sustainable human and natural processes. It offers a perspective on how to work with nature and the ecological processes in regions, and looks at the need to work across scales; to understand regional systems; and develop principles and measures that can be applied at the regional, city and local scales.

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Planning urban settlements in South Sudan

The publication will provide text and images on the Urban Development process and serve as a guide for designing new layouts or updating existing ones. The book will provide a compilation of different and updated Urban Planning and Development concepts that are currently applied all over the world.

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The state of Arab cities 2012: challenges of urban transition

The Arab world has played a very important role in the history of urbanization. It is the region where urban civilization was born and where urban matters have been addressed for centuries. The Arab urban civilization, as it has evolved over the past millennium, has generated some of the most beautiful cities in the world. This publication is the first ever to comprehensively analyse urbanization processes in the Arab States through the review of its four sub-regions: the Maghreb, the Mashreq, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the least-developed Arab countries of the Southern Tier.

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The state of China's cities 2014/15

As a report with joint efforts by China Science Center of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, China Association of Mayors, Urban Planning Society of China and UN-Habitat, this publication integrates both the guidelines of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee and the Central Urbanization Work Conference and includes new concepts, ideas, measures and innovative cases gathered from various places in China.

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53 UN-Habitat model projects 2013/2014

The efforts of UN-Habitat have been focused on building a brighter future for developing cities, which are most in need of support in guiding the process of urbanization. This catalogue of projects centres on three fundamental generators of wealth and employment in cities: planning and urban design, urban law and urban economy. It includes experiences in applying UN-Habitat’s methodology of community participation in the provision of basic services, housing and urban reconstruction. It also highlights how legislation, governance and soil treatment plays a key role in achieving urban transformation.

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The state of European cities in transition 2013: taking stock after 20 years of reform

The transitional European countries are now in different stages of their transition to prosperous, just and democratic societies. As we look at the challenges of the future, This document offers insight and analysis to inform and enlighten.

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Global report on urban health; equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development

This timely report comes at a decisive moment in history where we can reshape urban environments and health systems for the majority of the world’s population that live in cities. Enabling this transformation are the SDGs, which have reconfigured how governments and the international community need to plan and implement actions to eradicate poverty and inequality, create inclusive economic growth, preserve the planet and improve population health. Central to this quest is to create equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development. A focus on urban health not only recognizes global demographic trends but the inextricable and inter-dependent links between health, economic productivity, social stability and inclusion, climate change and healthy environments, and an enabling built environment and governance. At the core of the dynamic and transformative nature of cities are people – healthy people. In order to pursue this goal and the SDGs, we must ensure that all citizens and communities, regardless of income, social status, or gender, have access to the quality health services they need with sufficient financial protection.

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21 projects compendium: implementing the new urban agenda

For the last 40 years, UN-Habitat has been working to improve the lives of people in human settlements around the world. As our population has grown, so has the number of people living in cities, towns and villages on all continents. With around 3 billion more people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, it is more critical than ever that we plan and manage the way our cities expand. This publication demonstrates just a snapshot of UN-Habitat's overall portfolio and represents the ways in which, along with their partners, their work positively impacts the quality of life for people around the world. Working together we can, and must, promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization and a better urban future for all.

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State of Latin American and Caribbean cities 2012

With 80% of its population living in cities, Latin America and the Caribbean is the most urbanized region on the planet. Located here are some of the largest and best-known cities, like Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogota, Lima and Santiago. The region also boasts hundreds of smaller cities that stand out because of their dynamism and creativity. This edition of State of Latin American and Caribbean cities presents the current situation of the region’s urban world, including the demographic, economic, social, environmental, urban and institutional conditions in which cities are developing.

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Cities and climate change: global report on human settlements 2011

Cities and Climate Change reviews the linkages between urbanization and climate change, two of the greatest challenges currently facing humanity in the 21st Century, and whose effects are converging in dangerous ways. It illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change while at the same time highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations. It reviews policy responses, strategies and practices that are emerging in urban areas to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as their potential achievements and constraints. In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas have a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.

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Climate change and children: a human security challenge

The study reviews the implications of climate change for children and future generations, drawing on relevant experiences in different sectors and countries of promoting child rights and well-being. It traces in considerable detail the pathways through which shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns create serious additional barriers to the achievement of the child survival, development and protection goals embraced by the international community. The role of children as vital participants and agents of change emerges as a key theme.

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