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Why is son preference declining in the Republic of Korea?

For years, the Republic of Korea presented the puzzling phenomenon of steeply rising sex ratios at birth despite rapid development, including in women’s education and formal employment. This paper shows that son preference decreased in response to development, but its manifestation continued until the mid-1990s due to improved sex-selection technology. The paper analyses unusually rich survey data, and finds that the impact of development worked largely through triggering normative changes across the whole society — rather than just through changes in individuals as their socio-economic circumstances changed. The findings show that nearly three-quarters of the decline in son preference between 1991 and 2003 is attributable to normative change, and the rest to increases in the proportions of urban and educated people. South Korea is now the first Asian country to reverse the trend in rising sex ratios at birth. The paper discusses the cultural underpinnings of son preference in pre-industrial Korea, and how these were unravelled by industrialization and urbanization, while being buttressed by public policies upholding the patriarchal family system. Finally, the authors hypothesize that child sex ratios in China and India will decline well before they reach South Korean levels of development, since they have vigorous programs to accelerate normative change to reduce son preference.

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Establishing a workable follow-up and review process for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Open Working Group document proposes that governments will set its own national targets. They will be guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. To make the Post-2015 agenda actionable, much more thought needs to be given to the process of target-setting, different actors’ responsibilities, implementation and accountability.

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Climate finance for cities: how can climate funds best support low-carbon and climate resilient urban development?

This paper reviews the approaches taken by multilateral climate funds in the period 2010-2014 to support low-emission and climate-resilient development in developing country cities. It identifies US$842 million in approved climate finance for explicitly urban projects, which equates to just over one in every ten dollars spent on climate finance over these five years. The majority of this finance has supported low-carbon urban transport systems in fast-growing middle-income countries. Adaptation funds financed only a handful of explicitly urban projects in the review period. The report highlights the following implications for future climate fund engagement at the urban level: 1) Climate funds must focus on catalysing action by others; 2) Climate funds need to develop appropriate access arrangements for reaching the most vulnerable urban residents; 3) Main-streaming climate risks and mitigation into local governance must remain a priority, but is not a solution by itself; 4) Climate funds can expand their impact by supporting urban project preparation.

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Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad

In the western Indian state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% in 1993-94 to 10% in 2011-12. Trade unions, such as the Self-employed Women’s Association, founded in Ahmedabad in 1972, have played a key role in organising and empowering informal workers. By 2001 Ahmedabad was already above both state and national urban averages in the coverage of drinking water, and progress has continued. The municipal government has introduced specific programmes to improve access to public utilities – water, sanitation and electricity – for slum dwellers irrespective of tenure status. Additionally, the city stands out for its ‘smart growth’ through proactive planning for urban expansion, enabling a compact urban area while allotting spaces to house poor families. However, gaps have remained and relations between communities and the government have become strained in recent years. Significant sections of the population continue to lack access to good quality services, and Ahmedabad has evolved into a city segmented by class, caste and religion. Further, across much of urban India there has been a shift in the conception of development from inclusive growth to the creation of ‘global cities’ marked by capital-intensive projects. As a result, dialogue has decreased, becoming increasingly confrontational, and the availability of public funds has diverted focus away from flexible local programmes built on a collaborative model of development. While urbanisation has been recognised as key to India’s future, the experience of Ahmedabad provides key lessons – both positive and cautionary – relevant to urbanisation both nationally and globally.

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On the path to progress: improving living conditions in Peru’s slum settlements

This study explores the improvements in living conditions in slum settlements located in the outskirts of cities in Peru from 1990 to 2010. This period saw significant progress in access to utilities in these areas. Positive changes were recorded in water piped directly to households, and in access to sanitation (piped sewage systems), the share of slum households with electricity and dwellings made of durable housing materials. These improvements were the result of action at different levels: political will to increase public provision of water, sanitation and electricity (financed with contributions from multilateral banks and donor resources, but increasingly with governments’ own resources); continuous pressure from community organisations; and investments in housing upgrades by households themselves. The case study offers a number of useful lessons for other countries, particularly on the fact that improving the living conditions of existing settlements is a necessary but not sufficient condition to deal with increasing urban populations; urban planning and the provision of affordable housing (ownership and rental) needs to take place in tandem with slum upgrading.

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Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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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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What works in improving the living conditions of slum dwellers: a review of the evidence across four programmes

About 1 billion people currently live in slum settlements – almost a third of the world’s urban population – and this could increase to 3 billion by 2050 (UN DESA, 2013). It is, therefore, timely to review the evidence on what works in improving the living conditions in slum settlements. Our focus is on physical living conditions: that is, access to land, housing and utilities, as these are among the most salient challenges facing the urban poor. They are also core elements of UN-Habitat’s definition of a slum household. In particular, we review the evidence of four different slum-upgrading programmes regarded in the literature as good practice: Rio de Janeiro’s Favela Bairro, the Programa Integral de Mejoramiento de Barrios Subnormales (Integrated Programme for Improvement of Slum Settlements – PRIMED) in Medellín, Colombia, Thailand’s Baan Mankong programme and a community toilets initiative in Mumbai, India. We conclude by highlighting the future challenges that governments will need to address to deal with urbanisation and the implementation of the SDG target on access to housing and slum upgrading. Ultimately, we hope this paper is a useful resource for policy-makers and donors grappling with the challenges posed by urbanisation and contributes to the wider SDG debate, particularly on how to meet target 11.1, as well as Habitat III conversations on a new urban agenda.

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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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Urbanisation, land and property rights

Around one in seven of the world’s population lives in poor quality, usually overcrowded, housing in urban areas. Most of these areas lack provision for safe, sufficient water, sanitation and other needs, and include large numbers of urban dwellers who are malnourished and suffer preventable premature death and disease. However, a significant number of these are not defined as being poor according to standard poverty line measurements. Land can play an important role in providing conditions for maximising the potential for a beneficial process of urbanisation and minimising the negative impacts on the poor and vulnerable. This study aims to analyse the interactions between the process of urbanisation and land tenure arrangements, land governance and tenure security in peri-urban areas, particularly in smaller urban centres, looking particularly at recent experience in Ghana and Tanzania.

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Are we underestimating urban poverty?

Data collection methods and poverty measures have not caught up with the reality of an increasingly urbanised world; as a result, it is increasingly likely that urban poverty is underestimated. This has important implications for targeting interventions and allocating resources in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development over the next 15 years. This report explores the current problems with the definition of 'slum' settlements and data collection in urban contexts and provides recommendations on how to address and improve the identified issues.

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The SDGs at city level: Mumbai's example

This report uses Mumbai as an example for an analysis of performance over time on three SDG targets at slum and settlement levels and provides recommendations for early action on SDG implementation in cities.

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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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Ghana's construction sector and youth employment

Ghana’s construction sector is a growth industry with potential to address youth unemployment. This paper identifies opportunities for young people to access jobs within the sector, as well as barriers preventing their participation. Low-cost housing is found to be the most promising sub-sector for young people to access employment. However, this requires government land and finance policies that create demand for and supply of affordable housing. Bottlenecks faced by young people in accessing jobs in construction include the quality of training, problems accessing land, and corruption and payment delays on government contracts. For young women, the fact that construction is considered ‘man’s work’ is a considerable additional barrier.

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A thirsty future: water strategies for Ethiopia's new development era

This report discusses the costs and benefits of investments in water resources management to sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth, while ensuring that no-one is left behind. Our research shows that investments in infrastructure development to harness the potential of water resources and mitigate against climate risks need to go hand in hand with investments in institutions, the rules of the game, that set out the terms and conditions under which different groups can access and use water. Water scarcity resulting from over-exploitation and pollution risks otherwise reducing the profitability of investments and leading to competition between sectors and users, as it is the case in the Awash River Basin. Only with better, sustainable and inclusive water resources management can Ethiopia can continue to harness its water for the new development era.

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Reforming solid waste management in Phnom Penh

This paper tracks the efforts of an Asia Foundation team working with local stakeholders to support improvements in the solid waste management sector in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The team worked in a flexible way with a range of partners, and with a particular focus on understanding the incentives and politics affecting service delivery. While reform of the sector remains in progress, steps have been taken to introduce more competition and better public sector management of solid waste collection in the city. This case study lays out the real-time decisions and processes which drove the strategy and implementation of this project, providing useful insights into how politically astute and flexible programmes can be successfully implemented. This case emerged from an action research process, led by a researcher from the Overseas Development Institute and conducted over the course of almost two years. By capturing and analysing the experiences of the programme team in Phnom Penh, the paper intends to provide practical insights for others in the development community aiming to implement similar kinds of programming.

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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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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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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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Microcredit for the development of the bottom of the pyramid segment: impact of access to financial services on microcredit clients, institutions and urban sustainability

The focus of microcredit for the bottom of the pyramid segment in urban areas is increasingly becoming an area of focus as development policy-makers work towards improving the lifestyles of urban poor. Previous research has had a keen focus on the impacts of financial services to business outcomes, leaving behind other equally vital aspects of development. In addition, very little of this research has focused on socio-economic and sustainability outcomes in urban areas. Using randomized controlled trials, this paper measures the impacts of microcredit to selected groups of people in Kibera slum in Nairobi city, using a combination of double difference and propensity score matching techniques to evaluate the impacts of these financial services on businesses, households, micro-finance institutions and urban sustainability outcomes. While the paper finds little evidence on urban sustainability outcomes, there is a significant, although small, improvement on business and households outcomes.

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An integrated approach to infrastructure provision in Africa

This document outlines the need for a strategic vision for the infrastructure agenda in Africa and examines the infrastructure agenda in urban and rural settings. It also looks at the financing of the region's infrastructural development in a 2-tiered market, and ends off by setting out the role of the African Development Bank in the strategic vision.

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Urban development strategy of the African Development Bank Group

This strategy builds on the achievements and lessons of experience of past African Development Bank Group efforts in urban development and emphasizes the need for coordinated and purposeful action. The Strategy recognizes that successful urban development requires coherent programs and efficient organization both within the Bank Group and in Regional Member Countries. Through this Strategy, the Bank will ensure that key policy themes, particularly infrastructure development, urban governance, private sector development and cross-cutting issues including gender, empowerment of vulnerable groups, regional integration, urban-rural linkages, environment and now increasingly climate change are taken into account during project design and implementation of urban projects. Moreover, the approach will ensure that the Bank’s policy and operational focus ultimately is on the building of viable, accountable and service-centered institutions at the sub-national levels, notably municipalities.

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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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