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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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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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The unintended consequences of agricultural input intensification: human health implications of agro-chemical use in Sub-Saharan Africa

While agro-chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are often promoted as inputs that increase agricultural productivity by limiting a range of pre-harvest losses, their use may have negative human health and labor productivity implications. We explore the relationship between agro-chemical use and the value of crop output at the plot level and a range of human health outcomes at the household level using nationally representative panel survey data from four Sub-Saharan African countries where more than ten percent of main season cultivators use agro-chemicals. We find that agro-chemicals use is associated with increased value of harvest, with similar magnitudes across three of the four countries under study, but is also associated with increases in costs associated with human illness, including increased health expenditures related to illness and time lost from work due to sickness in recent past. We motivate our empirical work with a simple dynamic optimization model that clearly shows the role that farmer understanding of these feedbacks can play in optimizing the use of agro-chemicals. The central role of information in determining that optimum underscores the role of agricultural and public health extension as modern input intensification proceeds in the region.

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Clean energy development in Egypt

Once an exporter of oil and gas, Egypt is now struggling to meet its own energy needs. The growth in energy consumption is a response to the country’s economic expansion, industrialization, and change in people’s life style. Although all energy forms have been subject to high growth, electricity consumption has increased substantially causing serious concerns over the power sector’s fuel mix, heavier reliance on fuel oil, and an unaffordable burden on the government budget. As a result the government is determined to diversify the energy mix and to improve the efficiency of electricity consumption. It has also recognized that energy diversification and efficiency can impart other benefits such as cleaner environment, transfer of advanced technologies, and possible new areas of manufacturing and services. This report reviews the opportunities and challenges involved in improving energy efficiency, developing renewable energy resources and promoting the local manufacturing of the corresponding equipment in Egypt.The aim of this study is to review the outstanding issues in the development of clean energy in Egypt. Its specific intention is to arrive at recommendations regarding: (a) improving energy efficiency; (b) promoting the development of renewable energy resources; and (c) facilitating the development of local manufacturing of solar and wind power equipment.

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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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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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Urban patterns for a green economy: clustering for competitiveness

Part of a series of four entitled Urban Patterns for a Green Economy, this guide argues that strategic investment in physical infrastructure with the diversification of economies allows cities to play a specialized role in polycentric urban development. Furthermore, it suggests that green economic development can be achieved through the development of green clusters and green jobs. Finally, this guide argues that a number of green economy outcomes may be reached through efficiencies and shared infrastructure, rather than duplication.

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Urban patterns for a green economy: optimizing infrastructure

Part of a series of four entitled Urban Patterns for a Green Economy, this guide proposes that cities can act as agents for change that allow their large populations to live less wastefully. It considers how infrastructure systems can be viewed as an opportunity to shift cities onto a more sustainable path by paying close attention to the resources that pass through them, and the manner in which they support the activities of the city. Each city context differs, based on stage of development, pace of growth and available resources.

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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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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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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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The Millennium Development Goals report 2015

This report presents data and analysis evaluating the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It proves that, with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest countries can make dramatic and unprecedented progress. The report also acknowledges uneven achievements and shortfalls in many areas. The work is not complete, and it must continue in the new development era.

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The future women want: a vision of sustainable development for all

Twenty years ago in Rio de Janiero, UN Member States unanimously agreed that “women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development. Twenty years later, we still have a long way to go. In this publication UN Women highlights the commitments made on gender equality, and explores women's contributions to sustainable development and policy around the world. Focusing on priority areas—safe drinking water and sanitation; food security and sustainable agriculture; sustainable cities; decent work and the green economy; health and education—it details the actions needed to establish a gender-responsive development framework, and ensure an enabling environment for women's full participation in sustainable development.

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Policy and operational messages to support UN Country Teams in integrating human rights into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

The messages in this document are envisaged to provide a common understanding for the UN system on how human rights can be integrated and should inform the planning and programming process as well as policy guidance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The messages focus on: a) how to align the SDGs with the country’s existing human rights commitments; b) how to fulfill the pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ and ‘reach the furthest behind first’; c) how to ensure active and meaningful participation in the preparation of the national SDG action plans; and, d) how to build robust accountability frameworks in the implementation of these national plans.

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Mid-term review of the UN development assistance framework for Malawi (2008-2011)

In pursuit of economic growth and poverty reduction, the Malawi Government has articulated development goals in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS, 2006-2011), to which the UN’s Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF, 2008-2011) is aligned.The Mid-Term Review provides an opportunity for the UN country team to assess collective performance in respect of ‘delivering as one.’ The review has been carried out as a participatory, self-evaluation exercise focusing on UN programs and processes over the past two years; current MGDS-UNDAF alignment; and expected results for UNDAF implementation 2010/2011.

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Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: reference guide to UN country teams

This document is designed as a reference guide for UN Country Teams (UNCTs), under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinators, that wish to support Member States and national stakeholders in adapting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to national contexts (“mainstreaming”) while protecting its integrity. The document covers eight implementation guidance areas that can serve as the basis for UNCT assistance at the national level, sub-national and local levels.

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Country-level needs for SDG implementation in Europe and Central Asia

In view of its interconnectedness, the new agenda of SDGs will require holistic approaches and coherent action by global, regional and country level actors. In order to ensure interlinkages between the regional and country levels, the ECA Regional UNDG Team undertook a consultation with ECA UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) and Country Teams (UNCT) through a survey to identify needs and requirements at country level with regard to SDG implementation. This document presents the finding of the survey as well as conclusions drawn.

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Delivering together facility for sustainable development

With the growing call for the UN development system to go beyond business-as-usual coordination and rise to the challenge to support implementation of the more ambitious and integrated 2030 Agenda, United Nations Development Operations and Coordination Office (UNDOCO) has reviewed the data and practice evidence, as well as the policy and resource mechanisms at its disposal, and established the Delivering Together Facility for Sustainable Development (DTF), to be operational in 2017. The DTF is set up as a flexible funding mechanism to provide seed funds to RCs and UNCTs, to help them leverage joined-up UN development system’s efforts in support of Member States implementing the 2030 Agenda. This document presents the design features, strategic framework, implementation arrangements and fund management of the DTF, which will become operational in 2017.

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Compendium of good practices in training for gender equality

The Compendium of Good Practices in Training for Gender Equality aims to make both an empirical and an analytical contribution to the field of training for gender equality. The Compendium offers in-depth information on 10 different good practices, including detailed outlines of training courses, examples of dealing with challenges and a collection of tools and activities for use in training for gender equality.

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Gender equality and sustainable development: a pathways approach

The challenges of building pathways to sustainability and enhancing gender equality are both urgent. This paper explores why they must be addressed together, and how this might be done. It begins by showing the moral, ethical and practical reasons why gender equality must be integral to sustainable development. Integrating gender equality with sustainable development requires profound conceptual understanding of both concepts and their inter-linkages. Thus the paper puts forward a ‘gendered pathways approach’, as a conceptual framework for addressing the interactions, tensions and trade-offs between different dimensions of gender equality and of sustainability. Finally, the paper addresses the policy and political challenges of transforming pathways towards greater gender equality and sustainability.

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Looking back, leaping forward: moving from MDGs to SDGs in Europe and Central Asia

This report takes stock of the progress achieved in Europe and Central Asia under the MDGs with the aim to chart the elements that are crucial for a successful transition to the SDGs. It draws on the experiences derived from the implementation of the MDGs, but also addresses the new challenges and opportunities for integrated interventions that come with the much more complex 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The report is structured into three parts. First, it takes stock of the progress achieved in the implementation of the MDGs. It aims to identify the main challenges at the beginning of the MDG period, how these were addressed and what has been achieved. The second section places the MDGs in the context of the wider SDG framework by identifying the unfinished agenda under the MDGs and discussing how the areas covered by the MDGs are now reflected in the 2030 Agenda. The final section describes some of the initial steps that governments in the region are taking to implement the 2030 Agenda and the ways in which the regional UN system can support these efforts. It concludes by identifying and assessing a number of risks that may influence SDG achievement and stressing the importance of collaboration for successful implementation.

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Standard operating procedures for countries adopting the 'Delivering as One' approach

Following the implementation of the ‘Delivering as One’ approach in 8 pilot countries, a second generation of “Delivering as One” was called for in 2012 and more than forty countries have formally adopted it. Efforts under 'Delivering as one' have now matured to the point where this set of Standard Operating Procedures is developed. They will enable the United Nations to function more effectively and foster greater collaboration and teamwork. The document is structured according to the core elements of the ‘Delivering As One’ approach: One Programme, Common Budgetary Framework (and One Fund), One Leader, Operating as One and Communicating as One.

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