All over the world, cities are grappling with the pandemic's social and economic impacts. Carmen Vogt, Philip Koch, and Lukas Prinz present some inspiring examples from Latin America that showcase how cities can build back better.
Municipal & Climate Finance
To learn more about the three levels of action required to improve municipal finance and ultimately build climate-neutral cities, take a look at this short explanatory film by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
A newly proposed tax reform could quintuple Freetown’s budget for the delivery of much-needed urban services. Yet, a political stalemate may endanger the city’s push for more transparency and progress. Braima Koroma, Dr Joseph Macarthy and Yasmina Yusuf from the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre spotlight the country’s current state of decentralisation.
To those not willing – or able – to spend money, many public spaces are not as public as they pretend to be. This has to change, argues Tuna Taşan-Kok, making the case for new coalitions in urban development.
Delegates at COP25 in Madrid reached an agreement, without the robust language and ambitions that were wished to be seen in the approved texts. This leaves subnational and urban leaders responsible for implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), making local climate activities the messengers of hope.
The climate summit in Madrid represents a unique opportunity for urban communities to take inspiration from each other, to build cities that are better prepared to tackle climate change, and to obtain investments. National delegates will need to increasingly confide in local authorities and provide them with more resources if they want to develop prompt and effective responses to the climate crisis.
Looking at Subnational Governments from a Global Perspective: The New and Unique Findings of the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG-WOFI)
The SNG-WOFI initiative collects comparable data on national, subnational, regional, and municipal government finance flows in order to enable informed and targeted policy-making. Following are the latest key findings of the Observatory as presented at its international conference on June 17, 2019 in Paris, France, summarised for URBANET by Isabelle Chatry, Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD.
Enabling participatory democracy is the goal of South Africa's online platform Grassroot, where community members get together to change their municipalities for the better – with considerable success, as Katlego Mohlabane, outreach and campaigns coordinator at Grassroot, illustrates with examples from Mnandini and Mzondi.
With the sectors for development and finance closely intertwined, a municipality's financing mechanism of choice significantly influences its development path. Khady Sarr, Programme Director of the Dakar Municipal Finance Programme, outlines several models and explains the advantages of bond loans – for municipalities and investors alike.
Many people around the globe struggle with finance management and debt. Michael Ochieng Nyawino describes why it is important to teach everyone financial literacy skills to tackle the problem.
Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations play a key role for housing security in Kenya. Davina Wood explains how they work and discusses benefits and current challenges.
Revenue from building rights, or land value capture, plays an important role for municipal finance. Martim O. Smolka and Camila Maleronka report on the specific challenges and achievements in the city of São Paulo.
Urban land offers governments in developing countries a vital opportunity for self-financing development. While authorities often see these taxes as administratively burdensome and politically impossible, this doesn’t have to be the case.
About 75 per cent of the infrastructure that needs to be in place by 2050 does not exist today. Getting such an immense scale of infrastructure development right will be critical to whether or not the world locks into a high- or low-carbon growth path. The newly established City Finance Lab tries to contribute innovative, replicable and scalable solutions to reach this ambitious goal.
Housing has become a policy issue that interests not only housing departments and local construction authorities, but Central Banks and financial players as well. Kecia Rust from the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) explains why housing has become an investment opportunity, and the role that policy makers play.