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Urban Poverty Research Workshop Recap

On March 15th, in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Lab, USAID, the World Bank and Cities Alliance, hosted the concluding workshop of the 2015 Urban Poverty Essay Competition. Three students traveled to Washington, to present their research related to the poor living in cities in the developing world, and were joined by three expert commentators.

The grand prize winner, Stephanie Butcher, presented her work on a partnership between the water utility and private citizens to support small scale water provision and access for slum communities in Kisumu, Kenya. The paper focused on the success of delegating responsibility to residents, allowing greater flexibility for pricing, payment and location of water sources.

Ei-Lyn Chia presented her work on the use of community development associations and other social housing mechanisms to encourage development in the degraded urban center of Sao Paulo Brazil.

Jason Scott presented his work on the effect of digital technologies on activism and social inclusion within the Complexo, a favela outside of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

All three panelists highlighted specific interventions that aim to create a more equitable and inclusive urban fabric. Common themes throughout the workshop were the importance of community inclusion, finding the correct incentives that encourage successful public and private partnerships, and ensuring that an intervention addresses actual need rather than simply shifting it. Representatives from USAID, the InterAmerican Development Bank and the World Bank provided expert commentary on the papers, and IHC CEO Judith Hermanson provided concluding remarks.

The webcast of the event is available here. In the meantime, read the papers from the three winners, in addition to other finalists in the published book here.

Special Bulletin on Habitat III

March 16, 2016
Habitat III Timeline of Events
March 16th 
The City We Need
Final proposal submitted for approval
March 16th -18th
Regional meeting: Europe
Prague, Czech Republic
March 19th
General Assembly of Partners Meeting
Prague, Czech Republic
April 4th-5th
Thematic meeting: Public space
Barcelona, Spain
April 7-8th 
Thematic meeting: Informal settlements
Pretoria, South Africa
April 18th-20th
Regional meeting: LAC
Toluca, Mexico
April 25th-29th
Open-ended Informal Consultative Meetings
New York
Early May
New Urban Agenda ‘Zero draft’ document due
May 16th - 117th 
Local Authorities Informal Hearings
New York
June 6th - 7th 
Civil Society Informal Hearings
New York
July 11th - 20th
SDG High-Level Political Forum, first review of implementation of SDGs
New York
July (TBD)
General Assembly of Partners meeting
Jakarta
July 25th - 27th 
Third meeting of the Habitat III Preparatory Committee
Surabaya, Indonesia
October (TBD)
General Assembly of Partners meeting
Quito, Ecuador
October 17th - 20th
Habitat III conference

It has been a busy spring, as preparations continue for the upcoming Habitat III conference taking place in Quito, Ecuador in October of this year. The planning and engagement of such a significant conference is immense, and has been made significantly more complex by the tremendous and positive efforts to enable civil society and non-state actors to have a meaningful say in the process.

This Special IHC Update reports on the road map to Quito as well as the current status of several parallel processes feeding into the planning and outcomes of Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda.
Policies, Products and Other Input into Habitat III Preparations:
Habitat III Regional Meeting for Europe and North America
This week, national government representatives and many civil society organizations are meeting in Prague for a Habitat III regional meeting for Europe and North America. In addition to the official member state meetings and negotiations, many civil society organizations will be holding side events focusing on topics such as urban planning, resiliency, local governance, and the role of new research and learning.
Several key documents will be released this week as part of the meetings.
  1. The City We Need 2.0. This document sets out a vision of the city of the future and has been drafted by a sub-committee of the World Urban Campaign, including IHC. It incorporates a year’s worth of “Urban Thinker’s Campuses,” events hosted by WUC members focusing on a variety of topics related to cities and urbanization, each of which made recommendations to WUC. The TCWN 2.0 paper distills the lessons learned from all 26 UTCs and has crafted recommendations for a “new urban paradigm for the 21st century.” It consists of 10 principles of a successful and thriving city, as well as 10 drivers of change that will affect the success of the 10 principles. The document recognizes the central role that adequate housing, land rights and equitable delivery of services play in ensuring the creation of inclusive and sustainable cities, among other elements. The steering committee of the World Urban Campaign is meeting today March 16th in Prague where it is likely to officially adopt the TCWN2.0 document. If it is adopted as expected, TCWN 2.0 will represent the formal input from the World Urban Campaign into the General Assembly of Partners and the New Urban Agenda, which will be an outcome of Habitat III. Read the draft document here.
  1. General Assembly of Partners: Partnerships for the New Urban Agenda. The GAP, a temporary working group of the World Urban Campaign, was created with the hope that a unified civil society voice going into Habitat III would help amplify its voice in a conference that is ultimately in the hands of national governments. The GAP will be debuting this week its framework of recommendations focusing on “the day after” Habitat III and how any agreements or global targets might be operationalized and implemented. The document recommends the creation of four new bodies:  (1) an Intergovernmental Panel on Sustainable Urbanization, (2) a United Nations Advisory Committee on Sustainable Urbanization, (3) a Partners Lab for Urban Sustainability and (4) a Partners’ Dashboard for Sustainable Urbanization. The first two bodies would be focused on UN institutions and ensuring continued global leadership on cities. The latter two would harness the implementing power of donors, the private sector and civil society, and attempt to create more robust and meaningful partnerships and learning across sectors. Read more about the Gap document here.
UN Habitat Policy Unit Papers
 
Parallel to the efforts of the GAP and the World Urban Campaign, the official UN Policy Units formed of 200 experts from around the world have released comprehensive policy papers on 10 related topic areas. These papers have been through extensive review and revision, and are expected to form the basis of the official outcome document of Habitat III, the New Urban Agenda.
IHC was particularly interested in the Policy Paper focused on housing. The 60+ page document is dense and well-reasoned, setting forth many principles of inclusive growth, adequate housing, and slum improvement that IHC has long advocated for. We were particularly interested to see a major focus on an integrated housing framework. The paper underscores that housing does not exist in a vacuum and that any housing plans must be integrated into new and existing plans for transportation, livelihoods, basic services and infrastructure.   This has been a key point in IHC’s advocacy, so we are glad that this policy paper holds a similar view.
The policy unit papers are ambitious, and the housing paper ends with concrete recommendations for monitoring and evaluation of success at a municipal and national level. As with the Sustainable Development Goals, the challenge after Habitat III and the expected adoption of a New Urban Agenda will be to both build capacity and hold nations and cities accountable for achieving the goals. Read the housing policy paper here. Find the other nine papers here.

IHC Participates in Workshop on Integrating Humanitarian Assistance

IHC recently participated in a workshop hosted by the Shelter Working Group at InterAction. The goal of the half day event was to discuss the potential of integrated programing in humanitarian response.

Global humanitarian response is often divided into organized clusters, so that after a disaster those working to provide one type of service can coordinate and deploy more efficiently.  However, support is growing for the idea of taking a spatial or “neighborhood” approach that views the needs of one group or neighborhood as a whole, encouraging joint planning and design across clusters. The workshop explored this approach, asking participants to discuss the challenges and opportunities it presents, as well as next steps to encourage greater integration.

Chuck Stechel, Senior Shelter Settlements and Hazard Mitigation Advisor at USAID’s Office of Disaster Assistance (OFDA), opened the session with a presentation of OFDA’s “Settlements” approach to shelter assistance, and then asked participants to discuss and share their experiences with integrating sectors.

There was agreement throughout the group on that while technical expertise is vital, a broader vision and the skills to manage the scope of a neighborhood approach are often lacking in both proposal and implementing teams.

Especially in urban settings, participants noted that it is no longer enough to simply provide shelter, if there is no capacity to upgrade, legal basis to build, or national interest in continuing support once emergency response efforts cease.

More than anything, a shift in culture, both by donors and practitioners is necessary, including shifting how success is evaluated. Shelter does not exist in a vacuum, and ensuring that programs transition from emergency response to long-term development is equally important as the initial program itself.

The workshop was well attended by humanitarian implementing organizations, technical advisors and several representatives from OFDA. It provided the Working Group and OFDA with a basis of opinion as both entities work to shape understanding of spatial approaches and improve global practice.

IHC was glad to hear urbanization and cities being recognized as unique settings with unique challenges to the humanitarian community. IHC has long advocated for multi-sector integrated program design in both humanitarian and development assistance, and is glad to see these issues being discussed broadly. The Working Group will be sharing outcomes and next steps from the workshop in the coming weeks.

Senior Technical Advisors Join IHC Team

IHC is delighted to announce the appointment of two distinguished urban experts to its council of Senior Technical Advisors:  Roger Williams and Thomas Kingsley.  They both bring to IHC impressive US and international expertise.  IHC’s Senior Technical Advisors serve IHC through their deep subject matter expertise and experience addressing challenges of equitable urban development.  They assist IHC as it seeks to advance and share practical policies for greater inclusion, equity and prosperity within cities.  

Roger Williams is the founder of Rogelio Williams & Associates, a domestic and international consulting firm specializing in advising on a wide range of issues affecting urban areas, including financial and other strategies for comprehensive community development and robust citizen engagment.  Previously, he was a Senior Fellow/Director for Neighborhood Development at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Vice President at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Senior Vice President at First Union Bank and the Dime Savings Bank of NY. Mr Williams served on the IHC Board of Directors from 2007 to 2014.
Thomas Kingsley is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute where previously he served for 11 years as director of the Center for Public Finance and Housing.  He previously served as director of the Rand Corporation’s Housing and Urban Policy Program, Assistant Administrator of the New York City Housing and Development Administration and founder and director. of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, which among other things enables understanding of inequality.
IHC is proud to welcome them and is grateful for their service.

 

ICMA Guest Blog on South Africa-Florida Climate Partnership

How Local Governments are transcending their Borders to Fight Climate Change:  The story of Durban and Southeast Florida

Guest Post by Jessica Johnston
Senior Program Manager,  International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

The Durban  ̶  Southeast ­Florida Climate Change Partnership began in 2013 when CityLinks, a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), connected Broward County and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with Durban, South Africa, to address common climate change challenges including sea level rise, flooding, and storm water management, as well as community and municipal engagement.

Durban, a leader in eco-system based adaptation, was introduced to ICMA through the Durban Adaptation Charter (DAC). The DAC was launched at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 held in the City of Durban (eThekwini Municipality), South Africa in December 2011. The DAC commits signatories to ten principles that will assist their communities to respond to and cope with climate change risks thereby reducing vulnerability. Since then, the DAC has grown to over 1,100 local government signatories around the world, the majority of which represent communities in the global south.

Although Durban was successfully addressing many climate challenges in their own back yard, they recognized that climate impacts do not pay attention to political boundaries. Finding an innovative way to work with surrounding municipalities on shared climate challenges was critical to creating sustainable and effective adaptation strategies.

Knowing that Durban was interested in looking at innovative governance models around climate change, ICMA reached out to its members in Southeast Florida that were involved in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. The Compact was formed in 2009 when Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties joined forces to work cohesively on climate change. The Compact calls for the counties involved to work cooperatively to advocate for state and federal policies and funding, dedicate staff time and resources to create a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Action Plan, and meet each year to measure progress and identify concerning issues.

Over the course of the partnership CityLinks facilitated exchange visits between Southeast Florida and Durban to see if and how the compact model might work in South Africa. During a trip to Southeast Florida, municipal staff from Durban took an in-depth look at the technical and policy solutions Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are implementing to address climate change. The delegation also met with key community members to better understand the level of citizen engagement the Compact required. In addition to the nuts and bolts of the Compact, the delegation toured Southeast Florida to see how they are preparing for climate change through storm water management solutions, ecosystem restoration, coastline management, and public/private sector engagement.

As a result of the partnership Fort Lauderdale and Broward County became the first U.S. signatories to the DAC in November 2013. In true partnership fashion, the team in Durban took the compact model back home. The Central KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Compact, now in its second year of operation, has brought together the municipalities around Durban in a consortium that allows for them to work collectively toward regional climate resilience.

To learn more about ICMA’s work in Durban and the CityLinks program, visit the CityLinks website and the Notes from CityLinks blog, follow us on Twitter at @ICMACityLinks, like us on Facebook, and join the climate change discussion in the Climate Preparedness, Adaptation, and Resilience group on the Knowledge Network. Visit ICMA International’s site for additional information on ICMA’s other global projects.

Judith Hermanson Comments on Informal Settlements and Inequality for CitiScope

IHC CEO Judith Hermanson authored a commentary that was featured in Citiscope this week. The article focuses on the challenge and potential of informal settlements as drivers for more equitable urban development. As part of Citiscope’s “Toward Habitat III” series, it discusses the opportunity that the global community now has in this regard. With 860 million people worldwide living in slums and informal settlements, she suggests a new “urban lens” and a comprehensive approach drawing together the strengths of civil society, the private sector and governments.
She argues that with the advent of Global Goal 11 focused on the resilience, safety sustainability and inclusiveness of cities, the new global urban strategy that will result from Habitat III should reflect a practical policy-led programmatic path to achieve those results at a city level, supported by national governments and the global community.
The article ends recommends some tangible steps and ends, reiterating that there is a tremendous opportunity for the New Urban Agenda to focus on fundamental social and economic transformation, simply by intentionally weaving the human and social capital of the slums into the fabric of the city.
Read the article here.

New IHC Contact Details

The IHC is updating our communications hardware and part of that update unfortunately includes a change of phone number. New office contact information can always be found on the bottom of this page, but in the future the office may be reached at 202-239-4401. IHC staff emails will remain the same. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

IHC Releases 4th and Final Rental Housing Case Study

The IHC released a short paper this week, the fourth and last case study in a series focused on the importance of rental housing for the urban poor. Following an an introductory piece and papers discussing the use of natural disasters, dysfunctional housing markets and the causes of housing shortages, the fourth paper focuses on policy changes to improve housing opportunities around the world.
Read the case study here, and find the full set of papers here.

Observing Urban October

October 30, 2015
The IHC salutes and thanks all of the many organizations and governments that have observed Urban October, a month dedicated by the United Nations to draw attention to cities and urban spaces. For more information about all of the many activities that have taken place over the past month consider viewing the official Urban October website here, or following the twitter hashtag #urbanoctober.

United Nations Approves Historic Sustainable Development Goals

At the end of September, the United Nations formally approved the Sustainable Development Goals, forming an ambitious plan to end poverty and address the critical environmental issues of our time. The process to approving these goals was long, and included an unprecedented level of engagement from civil society and the private sector. The IHC is proud to have been part of the coalition advocating for the inclusion of Goal 11 to “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” We look forward to continuing our work of ensuring that the goal remains on development agendas worldwide.

Join the IHC!

While the IHC and our partners are thrilled to see that cities are getting more attention globally, even greater challenges lie ahead to ensure that the urban poor will be integrally included into the agenda of cities worldwide.  Among the challenges that IHC will be embracing is that of addressing the needs of slum dwellers and others living in urban poverty.

An inclusive city by definition includes the poor, and they have a key role to play in defining how they themselves are included. In the coming months we expect to expand our efforts to promote the education of decision makers, knowledge sharing among peers, and collective advocacy around these important issues.  We invite your participation and input.  Please share your ideas with us at info@intlhc.org.

SDG Outcomes Depend on the Indicators

While the language of SDG 11 and the underlying targets are established, work to ensure that the correct measurement indicators are in place is continuing.  These are critical to accurately monitor global and national progress toward achieving the goals. As part of our advocacy efforts, the IHC partnered with Habitat for Humanity International to submit comments on the indicators that would monitor the target most important to us, ensuring “access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums.” Success will be measured entirely against these indicators so it is critically important to start the process by measuring the right things. You can view our full comments here.

New Opportunities for the Urban Poor and for Cities Worldwide!

IHC is very excited by the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the underlying agenda to eliminate poverty.  We see SDG 11 to foster inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities as fundamental to their achievement and will be actively supporting it.

As the expected passage of the new Sustainable Development Goals nears, IHC joins with many organizations, nonprofits and civil society around the world gearing up to support the ambitious new global targets for sustainability and development.

SDG 11 is comprehensive and reflects the complex dimensions of cities. It also represents a sea change in global understanding of the importance of urbanization and guiding the growth of cities in an inclusive and responsible manner. The IHC has long advocated that greater attention be given to cities and particularly the needs of the urban poor, and this goal presents a new opportunity to focus these efforts.

IHC Welcomes New President and CEO


The IHC is pleased to announce some exciting changes in leadership. Barbara McMurray, President and CEO of the IHC, stepped down from her position effective June 8th, due to an upcoming move to Florida. Barbara was a strong and effective CEO. We are grateful for her many efforts in support of the mission of the IHC and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Looking forward, the IHC is very pleased to announce that Dr. Judith Hermanson will be joining the organization as the new President and CEO. Many of you know and have worked with her over the years.

Judith has more than 30 years of international experience in housing and urban development, civic engagement and organizational management. Most recently she served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). In this capacity she was responsible for developing and executing PADF’s five-year strategic plan and for oversight of organizational and program operations. For 17 years, Judith was the Senior Vice President of CHF International (now Global Communities). She worked on a diverse portfolio, and while there was awarded the NAHRO John D. Lange International Award for the achievement of demonstrable results in international development, specifically for her work in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

She was a tenured professor of public administration at Northern Illinois University, where she also was Founding Director of the NGOLD Center; was the Director of the Office of Policy and Program Evaluation in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs and Regulatory Functions, at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development; established the Peace Corps Africa Region Office of Programs and Training; and served overseas as an Associate Peace Corps Director in Uganda and the Philippines.

Judith brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the position of President and CEO, and the IHC Staff and Board of Directors are excited to welcome her to the organization.

Judith will be transitioning into her new role over the course of the summer and will take over all duties in the fall.

IHC Series on Rental Housing

The IHC Released a new short paper this week, the first in a four part series focused on the importance of rental housing for the urban poor. Access to safe and affordable shelter is at the core of successful development and without a safe, healthy and affordable place to live, health, education, literacy, civic engagement and employment opportunities are all difficult to achieve.

In looking at the demographics worldwide, the IHC believes that rental housing must be a key policy priority. Unfortunately, this is a sector that has been virtually ignored in the developing world, with decision makers lacking understanding to the point of bias against the topic. Yet for those who do not want to or cannot own a home, rental housing may be the only option and it is the private sector that provides most of these units. The challenge for the international housing community is how to create opportunities to build and improve quality, affordable, private rental housing. This series will seek to address that challenge.

Read the full paper here.

 

IHC Co-Sponsors Congressional Staff Briefing

The IHC joined the water and sanitation NGO community and corporate sponsors Proctor and Gamble and Giorgio Armani in hosting a Congressional Staff round table in the Russell Senate Office Building on April 9. The event highlighted the importance of clean water, basic sanitation and hygiene, how the private sector is supporting those programs, and the role of U.S. government foreign assistance can play. Bob Dubinsky, IHC board chairman, explained the importance of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act to bring clean water and sanitation to urban areas, particularly slums and informal settlements of the urban poor. Read about urban WASH here.

 

IHC Publishes 2nd Paper on Gender and Property Rights

January 2015

This week the IHC officially published a new paper focusing on practical steps to expand the rights of women to own land and property in the developing world.  The paper expands on a 2012 paper to present a background on the issue as well as specific ideas on how to address the challenges. The paper also gives short case studies of successful programs from around the world. The paper was written by IHC Board member and former President and CEO, Susan Corts Hill with assistance from Matthew Seamon, a summer legal fellow at the IHC. Read the paper here.

Your Donation Makes a Difference!

Today 863 million people live in slums that lack decent housing and access to clean water and basic sanitation. Almost half of city dwellers in Africa, Asia and Latin America have suffered from at least one disease caused by lack of safe water and sanitation.

The IHC remains committed to increasing the time and money spent on providing lasting water and sanitation solutions to slum dwellers worldwide, and sharing best practices to make our community most efficient.

But we need your help! This holiday season, join our campaign, share with your friends and family, and contribute to a great cause. All proceeds will go directly to IHC programming and are fully tax-deductible.

Read more and donate to the campaign here.

Paul Simon Water for the World Act Moves in Congress

December, 2014

The past several weeks have been exciting for those who have long advocated for the passing of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act. After several delays earlier this year, the bill was marked up and passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee late in November, with advance agreement both by the administration and Senate leaders. This agreement was the crucial sticking point holding the legislation from moving forward, but final negotiations allowed for an identical bill to be introduced into the Senate as well. Markup by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for Thursday December 4th. While these are encouraging steps, there is still work to be done to ensure the final passage of the bill. Should it pass through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the full House and Senate will need to approve the bill and then have it signed by President Obama, all before the end of the year. The IHC remains committed to ensuring that these steps succeed. Continue to check back for more updates.

IHC Applauds Sustainable Cities Goal in Open Working Group Recommendations

July 2014

A new global development agenda is currently being negotiated at the United Nations. This new framework is expected to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were agreed upon by the UN in 2000 and are set to expire in 2015. These MDGs have been broadly successful in creating a global blueprint of goals and targets to meet the needs of the world’s poorest.

The IHC has been an active supporter of an urban-focused Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). In the past two years The IHC and Habitat for Humanity met and provided materials to the U.S. member of the High Level Panel, a group recruited by the UN to provide expertise to the process, and made important contributions to the Communitas paper discussion of the importance of housing to urban growth and development. The IHC also partnered with the Woodrow Wilson Center to organize roundtable discussions by donors and urban experts about the importance of an urban SDG and what indicators and methodology might be used to measure progress.

The IHC is therefore very pleased to learn that the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development (OWG), a group of member states charged with making recommendations on the post-2015 development agenda, has included an urban goal in their final recommendations released this week.

A wide coalition of organizations has come together to support an urban goal, and the IHC is very pleased to see that such a goal has made it into the official recommendations. We are particularly happy that the very first target under the goal to “‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” is to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums,” by 2030.

While the inclusion of this goal and target is a major victory, there is much more work do be done. There are still 14 months to go until the General Assembly meets to negotiate the final agreement In September 2015, and many more opportunities for such a critical goal to be weakened or eliminated.

The IHC expects to remain highly involved and will continue to share new information as the process continues.

Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act Introduced in House and Senate

July 2013

The International Housing Coalition would like to congratulate Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) on the introduction of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R. 2638; S. 1271). The bill is a significant step toward ensuring that U.S. foreign assistance programs are more effective, transparent, and accountable.

The Act strengthens critical U.S. development programs by directing U.S. agencies involved in foreign assistance to employ more consistent and transparent monitoring and evaluation guidelines across all foreign assistance programs, as well as to publish the results of these evaluations online for public access. This builds on recent results-oriented reforms included in President Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development and the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. The bill also echoes the recent U.S. commitment to participate in the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a global campaign to create transparency in the records of how aid money is spent and ensure that aid money reaches its intended recipients.

An earlier version of the bill passed the House on a unanimous vote in the previous Congress but was not taken up in the Senate. We strongly encourage the House and Senate to enact this legislation during the 113th Congress.

Read more comments and reactions from the Brookings Institution, OxFam, and InterAction.

High Level Panel Releases Post-2015 Development Report

June 2013

Last week the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda delivered final recommendations for the post-2015 development goals to the United Nations in New York. The report presents a potential road map for the next 15 years of international development cooperation.

The paper discusses two major sets of framing topics: five cross-cutting Priority Transformative Shifts and 12 Illustrative Goals and Targets, with the Goals representing the means in which the Shifts are achieved.

While we are disappointed that there is no direct mention of urban slums or housing, we are pleased to see the right to own land and property, as well as urban access to water and sanitation and disaster risk reduction mentioned at the target level. See our most recent blog post here for more information about the report and other reactions from the development community.

IHC Releases FY 2012 Annual Report

The FY 2012 Annual Report is now available online. The report highlights the activities of the fiscal year, running from October 2011 through September 2012. The IHC published a paper and set of case studies, co-sponsored another successful graduate student essay competition and launched a blog. We also strengthened our advocacy program through meetings and events with members of Congress, the Administration, and many advocacy partners. The full report is available here.

IHC Publishes New Report on Housing Associations in Eastern and Central Europe

January 2013

The IHC has released a new publication, Homeowners’ Associations in Central and Eastern Europe: Opportunities and Challenges for the Real Estate Market Two Decades After Housing Privatization, which complements the IHC’s recent paper Homeowners’ Associations in the Former Soviet Union: Stalled on the Road to Reform.

This paper discusses the similarities and differences between the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union and the rest of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and their successes and failures in attempting to privatize their historically public housing stock. The paper looks carefully at four countries in CEE (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia) and highlights lessons learned that can be applied to the region.

The paper was written by IHC consultant Carol Rabenhorst, with funding from the Leonard P. Reaume Foundation. The full paper is available here.

Rep. Berman Introduces Global Partnerships Act

December 2012

The International Housing Coalition would like to congratulate Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) on introducing the Global Partnerships Act of 2012. The bill is a significant step toward setting a new framework for effective, transparent, and accountable United States foreign assistance.

The Global Partnerships Act offers a comprehensive update to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. This outdated law governs the major aspects of US foreign assistance and needs to be improved. Introducing the Global Partnerships Act is the first step in ensuring this vital update.

For the past year, the IHC has been very involved in the drafting of this bill and has offered extensive comments on the draft legislation through written comments and listening sessions.   The IHC is very happy that improving access to safe water, sanitation, and housing is one of the bill’s eight stated goals for development assistance.

The bill recognizes that access to adequate water, sanitation, and housing is critical to improving slums and reducing poverty. With that in mind, within Chapter 6, the bill requires the creation of a global strategy on water, sanitation, and housing, and would authorize the use of funds for assistance to water, sanitation and housing projects.

The IHC is pleased to see such focus and dedication to these critical issues. Information on the bill is available here, where the full text will be available soon.

IHC Launches New Blog

May 2012

The IHC recently unveiled a new blog, discussing shelter, land and property issues around the world. The blog will feature analysis of current events, event coverage, literature reviews, guest posts, and more. We invite all of our readers to join the discussion by commenting on and sharing information and opinions provided on our blog. It can be viewed on our website here.

IHC Publishes Report on Housing Associations in the Former Soviet Union

April 2012

During the Communist era most of the urban housing stock in countries in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was publicly built, owned and managed. Since 1989 these countries have either sold or given away the publicly owned multi-family housing stock. Unfortunately, efforts to set up private condominium associations (or homeowner associations) to maintain and operate multi-family dwellings have met with limited success, leading to serious declines in the common space, utilities and structural stability of larger buildings.

This paper discusses the historical context of such associations and the challenges they face, followed by solutions and steps forward in repairing housing stock in the region. It argues that while HOAs can provide tangible immediate benefits for residents, ultimate success is directly linked to local and national governments’ renewed commitment to reform. The full paper can be found here.

IHC Participates in World Water Day 2012

March 2012

The IHC, in partnership with a broad coalition, attended a day long advocacy and lobbying event in Washington D.C. on Thursday in recognition of World Water Day 2012. March 22nd is designated by the UN each year as World Water Day, and events were held all over the world to bring more attention to the global need for clean water and improved sanitation. More than 100 people gathered to meet with members of Congress and their staff, primarily to advocate for the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2011(S. 641 in the Senate and H.R. 1634 in the House). A companion bill to the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, this bill would continue to elevate the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene programs within US foreign assistance, and designate high-level water experts within both USAID and the State Department.

The IHC has been involved over the past 6 years in monitoring the funding designated to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs by the Water for the Poor Act, especially with regards to funding in urban areas. Adequate shelter is intrinsically linked to water and sanitation services, and with the density and complexity of urban slums, it is only more important that these issues are addressed together in cities. We expect to remain involved as this new bill travels through the House and Senate.

IHC Releases Urban Poverty Essay Competition Call for Papers

January 2012

To encourage a new generation of urban policy makers and promote early career research, USAID’s Urban Programs Team, International Housing Coalition (IHC), World Bank, Woodrow Wilson Center’s Comparative Urban Studies Project (CUSP), and Cities Alliance are co-sponsoring a third annual paper competition. The competition seeks paper submissions for an upcoming policy workshop and paper competition on urban poverty in the developing world. Winning papers will be published and selected authors will present their papers in a policy workshop to be held in Washington, D.C. in October 2012. The grand prize winner will also present at the World Urban Forum in September, 2012 in Naples, Italy. The full call for papers is available here

2011 Annual Report

January 2012

The IHC 2011 Annual Report is now available online. The report details the work of the IHC for fiscal year 2011, running from October 2010 through September 2011. The IHC went through many organizational changes, including the hiring of a new CEO, Research and Policy Associate and bringing on our first intern. We successfully published and distributed four new research papers, on a wide variety of subjects, and actively participated in policy formation and advocacy. We look forward to a successful 2012! A full version or the 2011 Annual Report is available here.

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