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National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

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Effect of Sub-Saharan African trade corridors on vulnerable groups

This report examines the economic and non-economic (such as conducting community and family relationships and accessing health care and education) value of the border for small traders and informal workers. It seeks to examine a specific example of policy, a One-stop Border Post (OSBP) in East Africa, and how the policy changes have affected these groups, in light of the need for policy that specifically addresses issues relevant to vulnerable poor households.

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Trade facilitation and concentration: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper uses night-light emissions captured by satellites to explore the relationship between trade facilitation and the location of economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. We identify an ‘iron-curtain’ effect whereby light diminishes, on average, as one gets closer to Africa’s land borders. We also show that while the iron-curtain effect has reinforced itself over time, showing increasing agglomeration away from borders, it is dampened by improved trade facilitation (as proxied by the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index score on customs clearance efficiency). Our results suggest that trade facilitation projects contribute not only to more trade, and therefore to more aggregate growth, but also to a more balanced spatial distribution of economic activity.

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The urban-rural water interface: a preliminary study in Burkina Faso

This working paper looks at the case of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso, and the Ziga dam and reservoir, and supports the ethos that cities take - or are given - priority over rural areas in terms of water allocation. In this case, the basis of the claim is political power by the central government. Yet the economic rationality of this decision has not been evaluated, and the principle of 'equity' of access to water for rural communities has been overlooked. This working paper aims to address these issues.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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Health, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how international migration can have an impact on the sustainable development goal for health and well-being. It describes the health needs and health service delivery for migrants and refugees in different settings and highlights the ways they may be excluded in national policies relating to health and from specific policies that work towards achieving the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in Uganda

Since the early 1990s, Uganda has experienced substantial reductions in poverty. Using the national poverty line, the poverty headcount has declined from 56 percent in 1992/93 to just over 20 percent in 2012/13’. Economic growth, the end of conflict, and sound macroeconomic management have all contributed strongly to this success. However, as people have moved out of poverty, the number of people living at a level less than twice the poverty line—termed the ‘insecure non-poor’ in the Ugandan context—has risen. In 2012/2013, as many as 14.7 million people were ‘insecure non-poor’ meaning they were extremely vulnerable to falling into poverty in the event of shocks or stressors, such as drought or an episode of ill-health. This report combines analysis of UNPS data with qualitative research approaches; key informant interviews, life histories and participatory wealth ranking to investigate further the drivers of transitory escapes. Specifically, it examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again in the future. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition, and education level) and activities (including jobs, and engagement in non-farm enterprises) of households which enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood return to poverty.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in rural Bangladesh

Bangladesh has experienced substantial reductions in both extreme poverty and poverty. The proportion of the population living below the national extreme poverty line has reduced from 50 percent in 1991 to 18 percent in 2010 while the poverty headcount ratio, using the national poverty line, has reduced from 60 percent to 32 percent over the same period. Economic growth, increased non-farm employment (particularly in the ready-made garment industry), international migration, and investments to improve human development outcomes have all contributed strongly to this success. However, some households escape poverty only to live at a level just above the poverty line: 19 percent of the population lives out of poverty, but has a level of consumption less than 1.25 times the national poverty line. They therefore remain vulnerable to slipping into poverty in the event of a shock or stressor, such as an episode of ill-health or a flood. This report combines analysis from three rounds of the Chronic Poverty and Long-Term Impact Study with qualitative research approaches; in particular: key informant interviews, life histories, and participatory wealth ranking to further investigate the drivers of transitory poverty escapes or of re-impoverishment. Specifically, it examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition and education level), and activities (including jobs and engagement in non-farm activities) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

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Ensuring escapes from poverty are sustained in rural Ethiopia

This report examines why some households in Ethiopia are able to escape poverty and remain out of it—that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty—while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again – that is, they experience transitory escapes. With this term, the report refers to households that successfully escape from poverty only to return to living in it once again, i.e. they become re-impoverished. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock, and value of assets), attributes (household composition and education level), and activities (including jobs, engagement in non-farm activities and migration) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

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Sustainable cities: internal migration, jobs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how rural to urban migration (internal migration) impacts on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goals 8 and 11. Despite the positive impact that internal migration can have on urban migrants, their families, and their 'host' city, urban migrants are often neglected in government policies. This briefing therefore presents a number of policy recommendations which aim to capture this potential and contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

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‘Turning a blind eye’: the policy response to Rohingya refugees in Malaysia

At the end of October 2016, there were 150,669 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia; 54,856 of whom were Rohingya. Estimates suggest tens of thousands more Rohingya refugees remain unregistered in Malaysia. This working paper considers the institutions, organisations and policies that affect the lives and livelihoods of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. It begins by describing the stakeholders involved with refugees in Malaysia: their roles, constraints, interactions and key policies (such as registration) as they pertain to Rohingya refugees. Subsequent themes explored in the working paper include refugees and employment – such as potential advantages and concerns regarding the introduction of work permits for refugees – and interactions between refugee community-based organisations, aid actors and Malaysians.

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International remittances and income inequality in Africa

This paper investigates the impact of migrant remittances on income inequality in African countries, using a panel of five eight-year non-overlapping windows for the period 1960-2006. The results suggest that, first, international migrant remittances have a significant positive impact on income inequality in African countries. After instrumenting for the possible endogeneity of remittances, a 10 percent increase in remittances as a percentage of GDP will lead, on average, to a 0.013 percent increase in income inequality in Africa. Second, initial per capita GDP strongly increases income inequality. Third, inflation rate appears to be the strongest factor fuelling income inequality in the Continent. Fourth, education significantly reduces income inequality. Fifth, the North African dummy and remittances inflows to North Africa largely reduce income inequality in the sub-region while doing the opposite in Sub-Saharan Africa. The policy implications of these results are discussed.

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Eliminating extreme poverty in Africa: trends, policies and the role of international organizations

Eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, measured by people living on $1.25 a day, is the first goal among the UN Sustainable Development Goals expected to guide the post-2015 development agenda. This paper summarizes several studies on eradicating poverty globally and examines feasibility of this goal for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), the world’s poorest but rapidly rising region. It finds that under plausible assumptions extreme poverty will not be eradicated in SSA by 2030, but it can be reduced to low levels. National and regional policies should aim at accelerating growth, while making it more inclusive and ‘green’. International organizations, including informal ones such as the G20, can play a critical role in this endeavour by encouraging policy coordination and coherence. Further, African countries will need a greater scope for bringing their perspectives into global economic debates on issues impacting sustainable development on the continent.

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Informal cross border trade in Africa: implications and policy recommendations

Despite being a source of income to about 43 percent of Africa’s population, informal cross border trade (ICBT) is generally regarded as illegal commercialization of cross border activities. ICBT can have positive macroeconomic and social ramifications such as food security and income creation particularly for rural populations who would otherwise suffer from social exclusion. If properly harnessed, ICBT has the potential to support Africa’s on-going efforts at poverty alleviation.

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The role of road networks in addressing fragility and building resilience

This brief explores the importance of investments in roads - as the most important component of the transport infrastructure network in fragile states - to political stability, economic inequalities, and institution building, in light of the evolving understanding of fragility. Countries with a recent history of violent conflict face the most daunting challenges, as their (already modest) national infrastructure both suffers from destruction or dilapidation and exacerbates poor economic conditions and the fault lines that caused conflict in the first place (WB 2011). But even investments in stable countries need to be considered strategically to ensure those countries don’t become tomorrow’s fragile states. This brief draws on the examples of Liberia, Mali and China to propose a conceptual framework that can inform government policymakers, regional organizations, and development partners on how to address these challenges.

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Moving towards a green productive agriculture in Africa: the role of ICTs

Agriculture remains an important source of livelihood for the majority of Africans but the sector is still very unproductive, resulting in food insecurity and large imports of staple foods, putting additional strain on scarce foreign exchange reserves. Acknowledging the rapid uptake of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa and building upon the mitigated success of the green revolution in Asia, the paper discusses the potential of ICTs to transform Africa’s agriculture in an inclusive and sustainable way, by benefiting smallholders, addressing land reform issues, providing adequate financial services, price and market information as well as by boosting global value chains. The study goes further by providing policy recommendations for African governments and the private sector on how ICTs usage could be further leveraged to enhance productivity and promote a green agriculture in Africa.

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Agricultural production, food security and higher value in North Africa

This paper argues that the problems of food security and rural poverty in North Africa are interlinked. It proposes a strategy to enhance food security while also reducing rural poverty and rural-urban inequality by increasing farmers’ share of value added. The proposed strategy has four prongs: (1) making better use of world markets and maintaining a security food reserve, (2) greater support to domestic food producers (especially small family farmers) to link them better with national and international markets, (3) introducing new social safety net programs based on cash transfers, and (4) building new inclusive economic institutions that represent small farmers and ensure that they have a voice in the policy making process.

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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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Enhancing urban safety and security: global report on human settlements 2007

This report addresses three major threats to the safety and security of cities: crime and violence; insecurity of tenure and forced evictions; and natural and human-made disasters. It analyses worldwide trends with respect to each of these threats, paying particular attention to their underlying causes and impacts, as well as to the good policies and best practices that have been adopted at the city, national and international levels in order to address these threats. The report adopts a human security perspective, concerned with the safety and security of people rather than of states, and highlights issues that can be addressed through appropriate urban policy, planning, design and governance.

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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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Prosperity of cities: state of the world’s cities 2012/2013

What this new edition of State of the World’s Cities shows is that prosperity for all has been compromised by a narrow focus on economic growth. UN-Habitat suggests a fresh approach to prosperity beyond the solely economic emphasis, including other vital dimensions such as quality of life, adequate infrastructures, equity and environmental sustainability. The Report proposes a new tool – the City Prosperity Index – together with a conceptual matrix, the Wheel of Prosperity, both of which are meant to assist decision makers to design clear policy interventions. The Report advocates for the need of cities to enhance the public realm, expand public goods and consolidate rights to the ‘commons’ for all as a way to expand prosperity. This comes in response to the observed trend of enclosing or restricting these goods and commons in enclaves of prosperity, or depleting them through unsustainable use.

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World Cities Report 2016: urbanization and development – emerging futures

The analysis of urban development of the past twenty years presented in this maiden edition of the World Cities Report shows, with compelling evidence, that there are new forms of collaboration and cooperation, planning, governance, finance and learning that can sustain positive change. The Report unequivocally demonstrates that the current urbanization model is unsustainable in many respects. It conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of our time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion.

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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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