Addis agreement weak on urbanisation

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda is being hailed as a major achievement that will help the international community finalise the new Post-2015 Development Agenda. But some charge it does not go far enough on the issue of urbanisation.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development wrapped up last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, producing the so-called Addis Ababa Action Agenda – a framework aimed at financing the coming decade and a half of global development.

But as Elias Gebreselassie and Carey L. Biron write in Cityscope, there is concern among civil society and some local authorities that the agreement pays weak attention to urbanisation, leaving a huge hole that will have to be filled by the Habitat III conference in 2016.

Speaking on behalf of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, the mayor of Victoria in the Seychelles, said that financing has to be given a more prominent place in the development agenda at national and international levels in order to avoid the problems associated with urbanisation.

“We need to double or triple urban investments over the next 15 to 20 years to avoid continuing the trend of a world which is already home to one billion slum dwellers with limited or no access to basic services,” she said.

More than 50 mayors, including from Harare, Johannesburg and Rabat, attended the summit to push for municipal financing to get a higher priority, but some argue this did not happen.

Felix Dodds, a special advisor to the Communitas Coalition for Sustainable Cities and Regions in the New U. N. Development Agenda, said that little was done to advance the role that urban financing might play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals due to “the lack of any real engagement with experts on urban financing and with local governments as a whole.”

All eyes are now on next year’s Habitat III conference, which is expected to develop a new 20-year global strategy on urbanisation. Marco Kamiya, an urban economist at UN-Habitat – the lead agency for next year’s conference – said that the issue of financing to support urban expansion plans will be central to the accord’s success.


Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe


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