IHC Newsletter
In This Issue
IHC Water and Sanitation Activities
World Urban Forum IV Rescheduled
Dubinsky Participates in the Leadership Forum
IHC Supports Increased Staffing for USAID
The IHC Advocate for Changes in the USAID Program Structure
IHC Completes its Strategic Plan for FY 2008-2010
IHC Publishes it FY 2007 Annual Report
IHC Staff Addition
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Volume 2, Issue 1 April 2008
IHC Water and Sanitation Activities

IHC Advocates for the Poor in Africa

 

The IHC has been actively involved in advocating over the past year for increased funding for water and sanitation for the poor. Congress approved $300 million in funding for water and sanitation in furtherance of the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act. Of this funding $125 million must be spent in Sub Saharan Africa. The IHC is now involved with partner water and sanitation advocacy organizations to ensure that the funds are spent as Congress intended. The IHC has met with the USAID Water Team and other USAID officials and policy makers in the State Department to discuss the importance of urban water and sanitation investments. It submitted a plan to USAID Assistant Administrator Jacqueline Schafer suggesting how the $300 million might get spent in specific regions and countries. That plan can be downloaded below. The IHC plans to continue to monitor how USAID allocates the funding with the objective of making sure that a significant fraction of the funds is used to provide clean water and better sanitation to the urban poor and slum dwellers. 


The IHC has also begun to discuss with other water and sanitation groups the level of funding that will be supported in the FY 2009 foreign assistance appropriations bill. The general consensus is that Congress should be asked to fund water and sanitation for the poor at a higher level in FY 2009 than in FY 2008. To download the IHC recommended FY 2008 water and sanitation plan click here.

World Urban Forum IV Rescheduled
New Date November 3-7, 2008

UN Habitat has recently posted a notice on its website that World Urban Forum IV will now take place November 3-7, 2008. The site remains the same, Nanjing, China. The IHC plans to play an active role in the conference. The IHC submitted three proposals to sponsor networking sessions on the topics of: 1) how urban land markets function, 2) model approaches to designing urban water and sanitation projects and 3) how to organize and establish an effective housing advocacy organization in a developing country. The IHC expects to hear shortly if these proposals are approved. The IHC also helped a number of other organizations develop proposals for housing related sessions.

Dubinsky Participates in the Leadership Forum
Presents Paper on MCC Economic Rates of Return Methodology

IHC CEO Bob Dubinsky was a panelist at the Leadership Forum on Pension Fund and Endowment Investments in Domestic Emerging Markets Organized by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies on March 28, 2008. The panel discussed the methodology for measuring economic rates of return on investments. Dubinsky presented the conclusions of an IHC-sponsored paper that critiqued the economic rate of return methodology adopted by the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. foreign assistance organization, in evaluating proposals from developing counties. He pointed out that urban investments may have higher rates of return than acknowledged by the MCC because of the effects of agglomeration. Click here to download the IHC MCC paper, "Urban Investments and Rates of Return: Assessing MCC's Approach to Project Evaluation."

IHC Supports Increased Staffing for USAID


IHC Recommends USAID Hire Urban and Water Experts

USAID's FY 2009 budget request includes $92.1 million to implement the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI), which will result in the hiring of 300 addition USAID Foreign Service officers. From FY 1995 until FY 2007 funding for USAID-managed programs increased by 40% while permanent Foreign Service officer staffing decreased by 24%. The IHC supports the DLI but also thinks that USAID needs to hire more staff with experience and expertise in urban issues and water and sanitation. The IHC position was communicated to Henrietta Fore, Director of Foreign Assistance, in a recent letter. To download the IHC letter to H. Fore click here.  

The IHC Advocate for Changes in the USAID Program Structure
Proposes Addition of a "Housing Element"


USAID operating guidelines, the Foreign Assistance Standardized Program Structure and Definitions,  define a methodology and program structure for the design and assessment of USAID programs. USAID missions must follow the guidelines in developing their assistance programs. For the past two years the IHC has been in discussion with USAID about the limitations of the current program structure and the lack of recognition that is gives to housing and related urban investments. The guidelines never explicitly recognize housing as an important developmental activity and they ignore the important linkages between housing and USAID's five assistance objectives. The IHC also believes the structure is overly rigid, encouraging narrowly focused programs, at the expense of comprehensive and innovative program approaches. In response to a request for comments from the State Department, the IHC submitted its views on the operating guidelines and recommended that a "housing element" be added to the program structure. Click here to download the IHC comments.

IHC Completes its Strategic Plan for FY 2008-2010
Three Principal Goals Identified
 
In March the IHC completed its Strategic Plan for FY 2008-2010. Three principal goals were identified:
 
Goal #1: To have the IHC recognized as having the expertise, stature and ability to influence policy and funding in support of "Housing for All", with priority given to the developing world's slums.

Goal #2: To transform the IHC into a sustainable and effective coalition and organization that advocates for improved housing conditions for the world's poor, by strengthening relationships among members and with key institutions.

Goal #3: To increase IHC resources and optimize the use of these resources.

To obtain a copy of the Plan email:
Dubinsky@Intlhc.org
 
IHC Publishes its FY 2007 Annual Report.
Download it Below

The IHC published its FY 2008 annual report in January 2008. The report highlights the IHC accomplishments of the year, lists its members, summarizes recommendations from its report on housing issues in Africa and provides a summary financial report. Click here to download the annual report

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IHC Staff Addition
Peter Feiden joins IHC

Peter Feiden a former USAID housing officer, project manager at the International City/County Management Association and consultant has joined the staff of the IHC. He will focus his attention of selected strategic initiative and IHC policy development. His phone is 202-408-8507 and his email is Feiden@Intlhc.org