UN Habitat’s CityRAP Tool at Habitat III

Undefined
Mathias Spaliviero explains the CityRAP Tool methodology

UN-Habitat and the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR) presented the City Resilience Action Planning Tool (CityRAP) during the United Nations Habitat III Conference in Quito

The session entitled "The Power of Participatory Resilience Planning in Fast Growing Urban Settlements: Experiences from Africa" was presented by DiMSUR's team and invited panelists during Habitat III, The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador.

DiMSUR's side event was a 1,5 hour panel discussion at ONE UN Pavilion on October 17th. The audience came from a variety of backgrounds: academia, governments, NGOs, UN, and other international organizations.

The panel discussion at Habitat III was an important step to promote DiMSUR's best practices on building resilience in Southern Africa. The event disseminated the lessons from the innovative approach of the CityRAP Tool and was an important opportunity to network and receive feedback from different stakeholders. The CityRAP Tool is a set of training exercises and activities – e.g. local government self-assessments, participatory risk mapping exercises, and cross-sectorial action planning - aimed at developing the capacity of local governments to understand and plan actions that progressively build urban resilience and reduce urban risk. The tool is designed to fit the needs of low-capacity small, intermediate cities and neighborhoods from larger cities in developing countries,

Panel discussion

Firstly, Mathias Spaliviero, Senior Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa (ROAf) and part of the founding team of DiMSUR, introduced the main issues related to urban resilience and risk management faced by developing countries, highlighting the impacts natural and man-made hazards may have in fast growing small and intermediate cities in Africa.

Spaliviero presented the CityRAP tool participatory approach and methodology to the audience. He focused on the key features of the tool: local ownership and engagement, flexibility and adaptability to different realities, mainstreaming local knowledge and solutions.

The second panelist, Shona Paterson from Future Earth Coasts and Urban ARK (Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge, a research and capacity building programme funded by DFID and ESRC) provided a more academic perspective to participatory resilience building. Paterson emphasized the effective results from the CityRAP tool in supporting the process of resilience building in the city of Chokwe, Mozambique. The panelist explained the role of participation and its comparative advantages in cities of limited capacity.

The third panelist was Mr. Daviz Mbepo Simango, mayor of Beira, the third largest city in Mozambique, who told the audience the experience of building resilience through participatory activities from a city perspective. Simango presented cases of cooperation with external partners, such as The Netherlands, to build the resilience of Beira, which is a coastal city extremely vulnerable to the sea level rise.

Finally, the fourth panelist, Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs from The Netherlands, mentioned the partnership between the government of The Netherlands and Beira, referring to the mayor’s previous talk. Ovink also highlighted the complexity of the concept of resilience and resilience building, considering it as an ongoing, dynamic and progressive process. The panelist recognized the CityRAP Tool as a sometimes necessary simplification of the complex resilience concept, seeing it as an entry point to the challenge of how to mainstream urban resilience in settlements with high demand but limited capacity in the developing world.

With moderation by Mr. Claudio Acioly, head of Capacity Building at UN-Habitat, the panel engaged in extensive conversation with the audience. One of the inputs from the audience was on the possibility of inclusion of aspects of climate predictions, modeling and forecast on the tool methodology.

Another question raised was how the CityRAP tool promotes the participation of illiterate people from low capacity cities in Africa. DiMSUR's team members explained that the tool methodology embraces the concept of Focal Points, who are local people, usually from the Municipality staff, that can engage with other locals by speaking the local languages and dialects to develop the participatory mapping and assessments and bridging data gaps, for instance.

The ideas exchanged and the various inputs received during the discussions held in Quito will be taken into account for the consolidation of the second version of the CityRAP tool, currently being concluded the UN-Habitat/DiMSUR team with support from Urban ARK. The improved version was recently tested in a subcity of Addis Ababa and will be the basis of trainings and activities to be conducted in Cape Verte, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique in the upcoming months.

Posted in Uncategorized

UN Habitat’s CityRAP Tool at Habitat III

Undefined
Mathias Spaliviero explains the CityRAP Tool methodology

UN-Habitat and the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR) presented the City Resilience Action Planning Tool (CityRAP) during the United Nations Habitat III Conference in Quito

The session entitled "The Power of Participatory Resilience Planning in Fast Growing Urban Settlements: Experiences from Africa" was presented by DiMSUR's team and invited panelists during Habitat III, The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador.

DiMSUR's side event was a 1,5 hour panel discussion at ONE UN Pavilion on October 17th. The audience came from a variety of backgrounds: academia, governments, NGOs, UN, and other international organizations.

The panel discussion at Habitat III was an important step to promote DiMSUR's best practices on building resilience in Southern Africa. The event disseminated the lessons from the innovative approach of the CityRAP Tool and was an important opportunity to network and receive feedback from different stakeholders. The CityRAP Tool is a set of training exercises and activities – e.g. local government self-assessments, participatory risk mapping exercises, and cross-sectorial action planning - aimed at developing the capacity of local governments to understand and plan actions that progressively build urban resilience and reduce urban risk. The tool is designed to fit the needs of low-capacity small, intermediate cities and neighborhoods from larger cities in developing countries,

Panel discussion

Firstly, Mathias Spaliviero, Senior Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa (ROAf) and part of the founding team of DiMSUR, introduced the main issues related to urban resilience and risk management faced by developing countries, highlighting the impacts natural and man-made hazards may have in fast growing small and intermediate cities in Africa.

Spaliviero presented the CityRAP tool participatory approach and methodology to the audience. He focused on the key features of the tool: local ownership and engagement, flexibility and adaptability to different realities, mainstreaming local knowledge and solutions.

The second panelist, Shona Paterson from Future Earth Coasts and Urban ARK (Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge, a research and capacity building programme funded by DFID and ESRC) provided a more academic perspective to participatory resilience building. Paterson emphasized the effective results from the CityRAP tool in supporting the process of resilience building in the city of Chokwe, Mozambique. The panelist explained the role of participation and its comparative advantages in cities of limited capacity.

The third panelist was Mr. Daviz Mbepo Simango, mayor of Beira, the third largest city in Mozambique, who told the audience the experience of building resilience through participatory activities from a city perspective. Simango presented cases of cooperation with external partners, such as The Netherlands, to build the resilience of Beira, which is a coastal city extremely vulnerable to the sea level rise.

Finally, the fourth panelist, Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs from The Netherlands, mentioned the partnership between the government of The Netherlands and Beira, referring to the mayor’s previous talk. Ovink also highlighted the complexity of the concept of resilience and resilience building, considering it as an ongoing, dynamic and progressive process. The panelist recognized the CityRAP Tool as a sometimes necessary simplification of the complex resilience concept, seeing it as an entry point to the challenge of how to mainstream urban resilience in settlements with high demand but limited capacity in the developing world.

With moderation by Mr. Claudio Acioly, head of Capacity Building at UN-Habitat, the panel engaged in extensive conversation with the audience. One of the inputs from the audience was on the possibility of inclusion of aspects of climate predictions, modeling and forecast on the tool methodology.

Another question raised was how the CityRAP tool promotes the participation of illiterate people from low capacity cities in Africa. DiMSUR's team members explained that the tool methodology embraces the concept of Focal Points, who are local people, usually from the Municipality staff, that can engage with other locals by speaking the local languages and dialects to develop the participatory mapping and assessments and bridging data gaps, for instance.

The ideas exchanged and the various inputs received during the discussions held in Quito will be taken into account for the consolidation of the second version of the CityRAP tool, currently being concluded the UN-Habitat/DiMSUR team with support from Urban ARK. The improved version was recently tested in a subcity of Addis Ababa and will be the basis of trainings and activities to be conducted in Cape Verte, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique in the upcoming months.

Posted in Uncategorized

UN Habitat’s CityRAP Tool at Habitat III

Undefined
Mathias Spaliviero explains the CityRAP Tool methodology

UN-Habitat and the Technical Centre for Disaster Risk Management, Sustainability and Urban Resilience (DiMSUR) presented the City Resilience Action Planning Tool (CityRAP) during the United Nations Habitat III Conference in Quito

The session entitled "The Power of Participatory Resilience Planning in Fast Growing Urban Settlements: Experiences from Africa" was presented by DiMSUR's team and invited panelists during Habitat III, The United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Quito, Ecuador.

DiMSUR's side event was a 1,5 hour panel discussion at ONE UN Pavilion on October 17th. The audience came from a variety of backgrounds: academia, governments, NGOs, UN, and other international organizations.

The panel discussion at Habitat III was an important step to promote DiMSUR's best practices on building resilience in Southern Africa. The event disseminated the lessons from the innovative approach of the CityRAP Tool and was an important opportunity to network and receive feedback from different stakeholders. The CityRAP Tool is a set of training exercises and activities – e.g. local government self-assessments, participatory risk mapping exercises, and cross-sectorial action planning - aimed at developing the capacity of local governments to understand and plan actions that progressively build urban resilience and reduce urban risk. The tool is designed to fit the needs of low-capacity small, intermediate cities and neighborhoods from larger cities in developing countries,

Panel discussion

Firstly, Mathias Spaliviero, Senior Human Settlements Officer at UN-Habitat's Regional Office for Africa (ROAf) and part of the founding team of DiMSUR, introduced the main issues related to urban resilience and risk management faced by developing countries, highlighting the impacts natural and man-made hazards may have in fast growing small and intermediate cities in Africa.

Spaliviero presented the CityRAP tool participatory approach and methodology to the audience. He focused on the key features of the tool: local ownership and engagement, flexibility and adaptability to different realities, mainstreaming local knowledge and solutions.

The second panelist, Shona Paterson from Future Earth Coasts and Urban ARK (Urban Africa: Risk Knowledge, a research and capacity building programme funded by DFID and ESRC) provided a more academic perspective to participatory resilience building. Paterson emphasized the effective results from the CityRAP tool in supporting the process of resilience building in the city of Chokwe, Mozambique. The panelist explained the role of participation and its comparative advantages in cities of limited capacity.

The third panelist was Mr. Daviz Mbepo Simango, mayor of Beira, the third largest city in Mozambique, who told the audience the experience of building resilience through participatory activities from a city perspective. Simango presented cases of cooperation with external partners, such as The Netherlands, to build the resilience of Beira, which is a coastal city extremely vulnerable to the sea level rise.

Finally, the fourth panelist, Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs from The Netherlands, mentioned the partnership between the government of The Netherlands and Beira, referring to the mayor’s previous talk. Ovink also highlighted the complexity of the concept of resilience and resilience building, considering it as an ongoing, dynamic and progressive process. The panelist recognized the CityRAP Tool as a sometimes necessary simplification of the complex resilience concept, seeing it as an entry point to the challenge of how to mainstream urban resilience in settlements with high demand but limited capacity in the developing world.

With moderation by Mr. Claudio Acioly, head of Capacity Building at UN-Habitat, the panel engaged in extensive conversation with the audience. One of the inputs from the audience was on the possibility of inclusion of aspects of climate predictions, modeling and forecast on the tool methodology.

Another question raised was how the CityRAP tool promotes the participation of illiterate people from low capacity cities in Africa. DiMSUR's team members explained that the tool methodology embraces the concept of Focal Points, who are local people, usually from the Municipality staff, that can engage with other locals by speaking the local languages and dialects to develop the participatory mapping and assessments and bridging data gaps, for instance.

The ideas exchanged and the various inputs received during the discussions held in Quito will be taken into account for the consolidation of the second version of the CityRAP tool, currently being concluded the UN-Habitat/DiMSUR team with support from Urban ARK. The improved version was recently tested in a subcity of Addis Ababa and will be the basis of trainings and activities to be conducted in Cape Verte, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique in the upcoming months.

Posted in Uncategorized

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda – Lessons on Understanding Risk and Building Resilience

Undefined
 International Alert and KDI conducting research in Kibera under the Urban ARK programme

A New Urban Agenda

“By 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends.” Draft Quito Declaration On Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements For All (Sept. 2016)

This week Heads of State will formally adopt a ‘New Urban Agenda’ in Quito, Ecuador. This will be the outcome document agreed upon at the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that aims to set the narrative for development in human settlements for the next 10-20 years.

The New Urban Agenda, following on the heels of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, will seek to strengthen the links between urbanization and sustainable development. Most urban growth is after all expected in the developing world; in the expanding cities and informal settlements of Africa and Asia. A significant proportion of this urban expansion is occurring in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Here, the risks of unplanned and poorly managed urbanization resulting in inequitable, exclusionary, fragmented, and violent cities are significant. Cognizant of this, the draft outcome document calls for special attention to cities in countries facing situations of conflict and those affected by natural and man-made disasters.

In 2015 and 2016, International Alert and KDI have been working together under the ESRC-DFID funded programme Urban ARK to examine the interaction of environmental and conflict risks in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, and the impact of three major housing and infrastructure initiatives on building future resilience.

What lessons do these projects hold for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda? How can we strengthen urban resilience in contexts where conflicts, environmental risks, and disasters collide?

Compounding Risks in Kibera

Kibera, located in the centre of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is one of the largest informal settlements in Africa. Residents of Kibera face many challenges, often including poverty, unemployment, insufficient water and sanitation infrastructure, poor housing and high rates of crime and insecurity. Kibera was also a hotspot of the post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008.

With the Ngong River and major tributaries running through the settlement, riverine flooding is a significant risk, particularly for those living closest to the river banks. Due to poor drainage and inadequate solid waste management, Kibera residents living away from the river banks are also subject to localised flooding. Global climate change is already aggravating the flood risk residents face across the city as the intensity of rainfall events increases in line with projections for East Africa.

New infrastructure and services developed in the last two years under a multi-sector program delivered by the Ministry of Devolution and the National Youth Service (NYS) have already contributed positively to improving the living conditions in Kibera. Roads, power lines, health services, water and sanitation blocks, urban agriculture initiatives, and police posts have emerged. For the first time, people can easily catch a matatu, boda or Uber into the heart of Kibera to get from work to home, or bring supplies to their businesses.

The Kenyan government along with the World Bank and UN-HABITAT, have also undertaken major housing efforts. Two projects are notable in this regard; Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP) and the Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan (Railway Project) that introduce multi-story housing to the largely single-story settlement.

These three projects will go a long way in determining the future development pathways and resilience of Kibera residents. Despite some successes, there have also been many challenges. Indeed, some of these initiatives are creating new and renewed tensions due to a lack of effective consultation and engagement with affected populations.

Building resilience: Lessons on implementation from slum upgrading and development efforts

The successes and failures of these projects point to specific lessons for city and national level actors implementing development and slum upgrading initiatives. These lessons are relevant not only in Nairobi but also in other rapidly urbanising centres.

  1. Projects that are integrated and multi-sector in nature have a stronger potential to effectively address multiple risks, be it environmental or conflict risks, compared to single-sector projects. Of the three projects, only the NYS project is truly multi-sectoral in design, addressing infrastructure, basic service provision, employment and the causes of insecurity. Implementation challenges have however, hindered the project from reaching its full potential.
  2. Where the social contract is already weak, projects need to be particularly sensitive to the urban political context or risk facing obstruction. In the opposition stronghold of Gatwekera in Kibera, low levels of trust in government-led projects resulted in youth being incited to oppose the NYS projects. They set fire to ablution blocks and resisted the extension of the sewer line into the area.
  3. In such fragile contexts, projects needs to strengthen the social contract in order to be effective. This requires meaningful consultation, transparency, and equity. In the Railway project, stringent criteria for eligibility, community-led enumeration, dialogue, and consultation built trust and helped mitigate the risks of opposition and conflict from local residents. By contrast, lack of transparency in housing allocation and limited buy-in, led to structure owners opposing KENSUP via lawsuits. This lack of transparency and trust delayed project implementation and undermined relations between the government and project beneficiaries.
  4. In addition to strengthening the social contract, projects that build social capital have positive outcomes for resilience. Social capital and networks are important to Kibera residents, who rely on them to access information, livelihood, and business opportunities. The relocation process under KENSUP disrupted people’s access to information and networks by moving residents significantly further away from their homes in Kibera. These residents struggled to continue their income generating activities at the same level, undermining their resilience.
  5. Effective action for climate change adaptation needs to be specific to the social, economic, and physical context at a local scale, as risks vary significantly from one area to the next. For example, planning for the NYS sewer line failed to take into account the variation in river levels through the settlement; this led to the flooding and failure of the sewer line at various points. Readily available local knowledge on flood levels or simple flood mapping were not utilised to inform good design in the rush to deliver the project. Opportunities to enable local facilities to connect to the sewer were missed and residents made illegal connections that have contributed to the blockages.
  6. Micro-scale and local improvements of physical and social resilience can reduce risk in and of themselves-if designed properly, but they can also amplify the effects of larger infrastructural interventions to build social cohesion and contract (i.e. by plugging info formal government infrastructure). For example, localised public space projects delivered by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) have connected to formal water and sewerage infrastructure and allowed for the municipal adoption of pedestrian access, creating an interface and interaction between the informal and formal cities.

Looking past Quito – achieving “participation” key to implementation of the New Urban Agenda

With world leaders gathering in Quito this week to adopt a formative New Urban Agenda, city authorities and national governments in rapidly urbanising centres are making planning and infrastructure decisions that will lock us into development pathways for the next 30-50 years. The language of participation is rightly central to the Quito Declaration. While the modalities of incorporating grounded perspectives on local needs, priorities, and risks are certainly complex, our research confirms that meaningful participation and consultation is key to building the social contract and cohesion, and hence resilience, in fragile urban contexts. Finding workable and affordable modes of public consultation are critical to avoiding conflict and to creating responsive and flexible resilience development initiatives.

 

*************************************************************************************************

International Alert and KDI will be publishing more detailed information on this research funded under the ESRC-DFID programme Urban ARK in the coming months. If you have any questions or queries about this piece or want to connect with us in Quito please contact Shreya Mitra (smitra@international-alert.org) Joe Mulligan (joe@kounkuey.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda – Lessons on Understanding Risk and Building Resilience

Undefined
 International Alert and KDI conducting research in Kibera under the Urban ARK programme

A New Urban Agenda

“By 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends.” Draft Quito Declaration On Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements For All (Sept. 2016)

This week Heads of State will formally adopt a ‘New Urban Agenda’ in Quito, Ecuador. This will be the outcome document agreed upon at the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that aims to set the narrative for development in human settlements for the next 10-20 years.

The New Urban Agenda, following on the heels of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, will seek to strengthen the links between urbanization and sustainable development. Most urban growth is after all expected in the developing world; in the expanding cities and informal settlements of Africa and Asia. A significant proportion of this urban expansion is occurring in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Here, the risks of unplanned and poorly managed urbanization resulting in inequitable, exclusionary, fragmented, and violent cities are significant. Cognizant of this, the draft outcome document calls for special attention to cities in countries facing situations of conflict and those affected by natural and man-made disasters.

In 2015 and 2016, International Alert and KDI have been working together under the ESRC-DFID funded programme Urban ARK to examine the interaction of environmental and conflict risks in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, and the impact of three major housing and infrastructure initiatives on building future resilience.

What lessons do these projects hold for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda? How can we strengthen urban resilience in contexts where conflicts, environmental risks, and disasters collide?

Compounding Risks in Kibera

Kibera, located in the centre of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is one of the largest informal settlements in Africa. Residents of Kibera face many challenges, often including poverty, unemployment, insufficient water and sanitation infrastructure, poor housing and high rates of crime and insecurity. Kibera was also a hotspot of the post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008.

With the Ngong River and major tributaries running through the settlement, riverine flooding is a significant risk, particularly for those living closest to the river banks. Due to poor drainage and inadequate solid waste management, Kibera residents living away from the river banks are also subject to localised flooding. Global climate change is already aggravating the flood risk residents face across the city as the intensity of rainfall events increases in line with projections for East Africa.

New infrastructure and services developed in the last two years under a multi-sector program delivered by the Ministry of Devolution and the National Youth Service (NYS) have already contributed positively to improving the living conditions in Kibera. Roads, power lines, health services, water and sanitation blocks, urban agriculture initiatives, and police posts have emerged. For the first time, people can easily catch a matatu, boda or Uber into the heart of Kibera to get from work to home, or bring supplies to their businesses.

The Kenyan government along with the World Bank and UN-HABITAT, have also undertaken major housing efforts. Two projects are notable in this regard; Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP) and the Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan (Railway Project) that introduce multi-story housing to the largely single-story settlement.

These three projects will go a long way in determining the future development pathways and resilience of Kibera residents. Despite some successes, there have also been many challenges. Indeed, some of these initiatives are creating new and renewed tensions due to a lack of effective consultation and engagement with affected populations.

Building resilience: Lessons on implementation from slum upgrading and development efforts

The successes and failures of these projects point to specific lessons for city and national level actors implementing development and slum upgrading initiatives. These lessons are relevant not only in Nairobi but also in other rapidly urbanising centres.

  1. Projects that are integrated and multi-sector in nature have a stronger potential to effectively address multiple risks, be it environmental or conflict risks, compared to single-sector projects. Of the three projects, only the NYS project is truly multi-sectoral in design, addressing infrastructure, basic service provision, employment and the causes of insecurity. Implementation challenges have however, hindered the project from reaching its full potential.
  2. Where the social contract is already weak, projects need to be particularly sensitive to the urban political context or risk facing obstruction. In the opposition stronghold of Gatwekera in Kibera, low levels of trust in government-led projects resulted in youth being incited to oppose the NYS projects. They set fire to ablution blocks and resisted the extension of the sewer line into the area.
  3. In such fragile contexts, projects needs to strengthen the social contract in order to be effective. This requires meaningful consultation, transparency, and equity. In the Railway project, stringent criteria for eligibility, community-led enumeration, dialogue, and consultation built trust and helped mitigate the risks of opposition and conflict from local residents. By contrast, lack of transparency in housing allocation and limited buy-in, led to structure owners opposing KENSUP via lawsuits. This lack of transparency and trust delayed project implementation and undermined relations between the government and project beneficiaries.
  4. In addition to strengthening the social contract, projects that build social capital have positive outcomes for resilience. Social capital and networks are important to Kibera residents, who rely on them to access information, livelihood, and business opportunities. The relocation process under KENSUP disrupted people’s access to information and networks by moving residents significantly further away from their homes in Kibera. These residents struggled to continue their income generating activities at the same level, undermining their resilience.
  5. Effective action for climate change adaptation needs to be specific to the social, economic, and physical context at a local scale, as risks vary significantly from one area to the next. For example, planning for the NYS sewer line failed to take into account the variation in river levels through the settlement; this led to the flooding and failure of the sewer line at various points. Readily available local knowledge on flood levels or simple flood mapping were not utilised to inform good design in the rush to deliver the project. Opportunities to enable local facilities to connect to the sewer were missed and residents made illegal connections that have contributed to the blockages.
  6. Micro-scale and local improvements of physical and social resilience can reduce risk in and of themselves-if designed properly, but they can also amplify the effects of larger infrastructural interventions to build social cohesion and contract (i.e. by plugging info formal government infrastructure). For example, localised public space projects delivered by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) have connected to formal water and sewerage infrastructure and allowed for the municipal adoption of pedestrian access, creating an interface and interaction between the informal and formal cities.

Looking past Quito – achieving “participation” key to implementation of the New Urban Agenda

With world leaders gathering in Quito this week to adopt a formative New Urban Agenda, city authorities and national governments in rapidly urbanising centres are making planning and infrastructure decisions that will lock us into development pathways for the next 30-50 years. The language of participation is rightly central to the Quito Declaration. While the modalities of incorporating grounded perspectives on local needs, priorities, and risks are certainly complex, our research confirms that meaningful participation and consultation is key to building the social contract and cohesion, and hence resilience, in fragile urban contexts. Finding workable and affordable modes of public consultation are critical to avoiding conflict and to creating responsive and flexible resilience development initiatives.

 

*************************************************************************************************

International Alert and KDI will be publishing more detailed information on this research funded under the ESRC-DFID programme Urban ARK in the coming months. If you have any questions or queries about this piece or want to connect with us in Quito please contact Shreya Mitra (smitra@international-alert.org) Joe Mulligan (joe@kounkuey.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda – Lessons on Understanding Risk and Building Resilience

Undefined
 International Alert and KDI conducting research in Kibera under the Urban ARK programme

A New Urban Agenda

“By 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double, making urbanization one of the 21st century’s most transformative trends.” Draft Quito Declaration On Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements For All (Sept. 2016)

This week Heads of State will formally adopt a ‘New Urban Agenda’ in Quito, Ecuador. This will be the outcome document agreed upon at the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) that aims to set the narrative for development in human settlements for the next 10-20 years.

The New Urban Agenda, following on the heels of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, will seek to strengthen the links between urbanization and sustainable development. Most urban growth is after all expected in the developing world; in the expanding cities and informal settlements of Africa and Asia. A significant proportion of this urban expansion is occurring in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. Here, the risks of unplanned and poorly managed urbanization resulting in inequitable, exclusionary, fragmented, and violent cities are significant. Cognizant of this, the draft outcome document calls for special attention to cities in countries facing situations of conflict and those affected by natural and man-made disasters.

In 2015 and 2016, International Alert and KDI have been working together under the ESRC-DFID funded programme Urban ARK to examine the interaction of environmental and conflict risks in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest informal settlement, and the impact of three major housing and infrastructure initiatives on building future resilience.

What lessons do these projects hold for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda? How can we strengthen urban resilience in contexts where conflicts, environmental risks, and disasters collide?

Compounding Risks in Kibera

Kibera, located in the centre of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, is one of the largest informal settlements in Africa. Residents of Kibera face many challenges, often including poverty, unemployment, insufficient water and sanitation infrastructure, poor housing and high rates of crime and insecurity. Kibera was also a hotspot of the post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008.

With the Ngong River and major tributaries running through the settlement, riverine flooding is a significant risk, particularly for those living closest to the river banks. Due to poor drainage and inadequate solid waste management, Kibera residents living away from the river banks are also subject to localised flooding. Global climate change is already aggravating the flood risk residents face across the city as the intensity of rainfall events increases in line with projections for East Africa.

New infrastructure and services developed in the last two years under a multi-sector program delivered by the Ministry of Devolution and the National Youth Service (NYS) have already contributed positively to improving the living conditions in Kibera. Roads, power lines, health services, water and sanitation blocks, urban agriculture initiatives, and police posts have emerged. For the first time, people can easily catch a matatu, boda or Uber into the heart of Kibera to get from work to home, or bring supplies to their businesses.

The Kenyan government along with the World Bank and UN-HABITAT, have also undertaken major housing efforts. Two projects are notable in this regard; Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP) and the Nairobi Railway Relocation Action Plan (Railway Project) that introduce multi-story housing to the largely single-story settlement.

These three projects will go a long way in determining the future development pathways and resilience of Kibera residents. Despite some successes, there have also been many challenges. Indeed, some of these initiatives are creating new and renewed tensions due to a lack of effective consultation and engagement with affected populations.

Building resilience: Lessons on implementation from slum upgrading and development efforts

The successes and failures of these projects point to specific lessons for city and national level actors implementing development and slum upgrading initiatives. These lessons are relevant not only in Nairobi but also in other rapidly urbanising centres.

  1. Projects that are integrated and multi-sector in nature have a stronger potential to effectively address multiple risks, be it environmental or conflict risks, compared to single-sector projects. Of the three projects, only the NYS project is truly multi-sectoral in design, addressing infrastructure, basic service provision, employment and the causes of insecurity. Implementation challenges have however, hindered the project from reaching its full potential.
  2. Where the social contract is already weak, projects need to be particularly sensitive to the urban political context or risk facing obstruction. In the opposition stronghold of Gatwekera in Kibera, low levels of trust in government-led projects resulted in youth being incited to oppose the NYS projects. They set fire to ablution blocks and resisted the extension of the sewer line into the area.
  3. In such fragile contexts, projects needs to strengthen the social contract in order to be effective. This requires meaningful consultation, transparency, and equity. In the Railway project, stringent criteria for eligibility, community-led enumeration, dialogue, and consultation built trust and helped mitigate the risks of opposition and conflict from local residents. By contrast, lack of transparency in housing allocation and limited buy-in, led to structure owners opposing KENSUP via lawsuits. This lack of transparency and trust delayed project implementation and undermined relations between the government and project beneficiaries.
  4. In addition to strengthening the social contract, projects that build social capital have positive outcomes for resilience. Social capital and networks are important to Kibera residents, who rely on them to access information, livelihood, and business opportunities. The relocation process under KENSUP disrupted people’s access to information and networks by moving residents significantly further away from their homes in Kibera. These residents struggled to continue their income generating activities at the same level, undermining their resilience.
  5. Effective action for climate change adaptation needs to be specific to the social, economic, and physical context at a local scale, as risks vary significantly from one area to the next. For example, planning for the NYS sewer line failed to take into account the variation in river levels through the settlement; this led to the flooding and failure of the sewer line at various points. Readily available local knowledge on flood levels or simple flood mapping were not utilised to inform good design in the rush to deliver the project. Opportunities to enable local facilities to connect to the sewer were missed and residents made illegal connections that have contributed to the blockages.
  6. Micro-scale and local improvements of physical and social resilience can reduce risk in and of themselves-if designed properly, but they can also amplify the effects of larger infrastructural interventions to build social cohesion and contract (i.e. by plugging info formal government infrastructure). For example, localised public space projects delivered by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) have connected to formal water and sewerage infrastructure and allowed for the municipal adoption of pedestrian access, creating an interface and interaction between the informal and formal cities.

Looking past Quito – achieving “participation” key to implementation of the New Urban Agenda

With world leaders gathering in Quito this week to adopt a formative New Urban Agenda, city authorities and national governments in rapidly urbanising centres are making planning and infrastructure decisions that will lock us into development pathways for the next 30-50 years. The language of participation is rightly central to the Quito Declaration. While the modalities of incorporating grounded perspectives on local needs, priorities, and risks are certainly complex, our research confirms that meaningful participation and consultation is key to building the social contract and cohesion, and hence resilience, in fragile urban contexts. Finding workable and affordable modes of public consultation are critical to avoiding conflict and to creating responsive and flexible resilience development initiatives.

 

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International Alert and KDI will be publishing more detailed information on this research funded under the ESRC-DFID programme Urban ARK in the coming months. If you have any questions or queries about this piece or want to connect with us in Quito please contact Shreya Mitra (smitra@international-alert.org) Joe Mulligan (joe@kounkuey.org)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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