Rapid urbanization in many developing countries is becoming a significant challenge for governments, particularly local governments to whom citizens turn for ensuring access to basic services and urban governance. Meeting the demand for infrastructure and services, ensuring inclusive territorial governance, and promoting inclusive local economic and social development are essential for inclusive growth of cities in the developing world, yet local governments themselves often lack the fiscal space and authority for development planning. Unless local government are empowered (including financially empowered) to make inclusion a priority in their agendas, and unless urban infrastructure investments are designed with the needs of all citizens in mind (not just the mobile, not just those with spending power, and not just those with formal, regular jobs) cities can become the location of ever widening inequalities and associated increases in extreme poverty and insecurity.
By ensuring that access to local leadership, provision of public services, access to public space, and availability of finance, among other things, to wide segments of the population, including women, urban poor, youth, migrants etc. cities in developing countries can provide greater opportunities for leveling the playing field and for sustainable and equitable development and growth. For instance, improved street lighting, safe transportation, childcare services, vocational training, smooth access to the jobs market and municipal access to concessional finance are examples of solutions that can increase women’s economic empowerment opportunities in developing cities. At the same time informal employment is far more prevalent in developing countries, the significant numbers of men and women in the informal economy, are vulnerable to economic downturns and emergencies. Responses such as social safety nets, job security and benefits are largely absent for these workers.
Join us to hear some examples of how city leaders are promoting inclusion within developing cities and making sure it is locked in as the cities grow. We will also hear from funds and development finance institutions on what steps they are taking to make inclusion a priority in urban investments and projects and what measures are being used to assess this. The Side Event will conclude with a brief discussion with panelists and question and answer with participants.
List of speakers:
Opening remarks: Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, UNCDF
Moderator: David Jackson, Director, Local Development Finance, UNCDF
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