UN-Habitat III: Regional conference on municipal finance, Mexico City

Thu, 03/10/2016 - 13:13

In October 2016, a global urbanisation strategy for the next 20 years will be adopted at the UN-Habitat III conference in Ecuador. In preparation, work has been ongoing around the world to design and propose policies on 10 major issues that the world will face in the coming age of massive urban growth. 

From 9th to the 11th of March, Mexico City is hosting a regional meeting to discuss how best to finance urban development and the new urban agenda. Policy papers designed by various constituent groups and stakeholders on topics from inclusivity (The Right to the City and Cities for All) to housing provision (Housing Policies) have now been released to coincide with the conference. Of particular interest to Public Finance for WASH is Policy Paper 5: Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal Systems.

Policy Paper 5 identifies multiple opportunities for the development of more robust and efficient local financing systems, including: 

  • More effective governance systems with better political and institutional frameworks for resource collection,
  • Increase internal funding sources through national and local reforms that increase revenue,
  • Improve financial and asset management for better project implementation and more efficient management of government expenditure,
  • Promote financial pooling of urban infrastructure projects between two or more local governments,
  • Encourage access to internal sources of financing as well as local revenues.

It is very encouraging that local revenue generation and effective resource expenditure and management are seen as key components of Habitat III's 'New Urban Agenda'. The global cost of urban infrastructure will soon reach US$57 billion (according to the Mexico City conference's concept note), a price that will of course include improving and building sewerage, water treatment centres, faecal management systems and other WASH infrastructure. It is therefore incredibly important that these discussions in Mexico City acknowledge the importance of sustainable and equitable funding for cities, and carry that message on to Habitat III itself.

For more information, read Marco Kamiya's blog on new solutions to close the municipal finance gap, as well as other articles on Citiscope.