IHC Newsletter
In This Issue
ROCKEFELLER-FUNDED IHC WHITE PAPER COMPLETED
IHC AND PARTNERS SPONSOR RESEARCH COMPETITION
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
IHC CELEBRATES WORLD HABITAT DAY BY HOSTING SEMINAR
2009 REPORT ON THE SIMON WATER FOR THE POOR ACT
IHC CONTRIBUTES TO UK STUDY
NEW IHC BOARD MEMBER
BECOME AN IHC MEMBER
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Volume 3, Issue 4 December 2009
ROCKEFELLER-FUNDED IHC WHITE PAPER COMPLETED
CHALLENGE OF AN URBAN WORLD NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

The IHC has published a Rockefeller Foundation-funded White Paper entitled, "The Challenge of an Urban World: An Opportunity for U.S. Foreign Assistance." This paper describes the rapid urbanization taking place across the world, particularly in lower-income countries, and examines the challenges and opportunities this trend poses for economic growth, global and national security, poverty alleviation and human development.

The authors, Raymond J. Struyk and Stephen W. Giddings, highlight a number of promising projects and approaches being piloted around the world and cull from them best practices for addressing urbanization, urban planning, and slum upgrading. Based on these best practices they then make recommendations to increase the effectiveness of U.S. Foreign Assistance programs in overcoming the challenges of urbanization.

This paper was distributed at several events in Washington, DC celebrating World Habitat Day and we hope that it will help to generate continued dialogue on these important issues

To download a copy of the paper and the accompanying recommendations, please visit our Publications page: http://www.intlhc.org/newsletter/publications.php. If you would like to request a hard copy, please email Nicole Weir: Weir@Intlhc.org.

IHC AND PARTNERS SPONSOR RESEARCH COMPETITION
WINNING AUTHOR RECEIVES FUNDING TO ATTEND WORLD URBAN FORUM
 
In November, the IHC, in partnership with USAID, the World Bank, Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Cities Alliance, initiated a competition for original research on topics related to the theme of the 2010 World Urban Forum (WUF V), "The Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide."
 
The competition was open to students currently pursuing postgraduate degrees from both domestic and international universities. Contestants were asked to submit policy-based, solutions-oriented papers that critically examine aspects of urbanization, slum formation and growth, shelter and urban development, taking into account the cross-sectoral nature of these issues. Nearly 175 students from around the world submitted abstracts from a wide variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, including urban planning, architecture, economics, political science, geography, public policy and management, sociology, anthropology, and demography. The IHC and its partners are currently in the process of reviewing and rating submissions and will ask 15 finalists to submit full papers. Of these finalists, five will be selected to participate in a policy workshop in Washington, DC in early February, where they will have the opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from experts in slum improvement and urban development. One of these five will be awarded an honorarium from the IHC to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to participate in WUF V in late March, 2010. Additionally, approximately ten of the finalists will have their papers published electronically by the World Bank.

Through this competition, the IHC and its partners hope to engage the next generation of scholars in fields related to shelter, slums, and urban development and cultivate new, energetic advocates for these critical issues.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE


FOREIGN ASSISTANCE LEGISLATION 

The IHC is supporting the following legislation:

New U.S. Foreign Assistance Act. A new foreign assistance act is being drafted by the House Foreign Relations Committee to replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and is expected to be introduced in the spring. The IHC has met with Committee staff on several occasions and has suggested that the Act should recognize urbanization as a cross cutting development theme and highlight the importance of urban investments and slum improvement to poverty alleviation.

In the interim, Committee Chairman Howard Berman has introduced H.R. 2139, the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 which would direct the President to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to further the U.S. foreign policy objectives of promoting global development and improving the monitoring, evaluation, and transparency of aid programs. To date 100 members of Congress have cosponsored the bill.

SLUM Assistance Act (H.R. 1702). Representatives Brad Miller and David Price from North Carolina have introduced the Shelter, Land, and Urban Management (SLUM) Assistance Act of 2009 (H.R. 1702) along with Michael Castle, Jesse Jackson Jr, Gwen Moore and Keith Ellison. The Act calls upon the President to develop an affordable housing and sustainable development strategy which would establish and implement programs that foster sustainable urban development and expand access to basic affordable urban housing and essential urban services and infrastructure for the poor. It does not, however, authorize any additional funding. To date 23 Members of the House have cosponsored the bill. No companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.

Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S.1524). On July 28, Senators John Kerry, Dick Luger, Bob Menendez, and Bob Corker, along with original co-sponsors Ben Cardin and Jim Risch, introduced the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009. Elements of the act include: the creation of positions for a new Deputy Administrator and an Assistant Administrator of Policy and Strategic Planning at USAID and the reestablishment of a Bureau for Policy and Strategic Planning; the creation of an Independent Council on Research and Evaluation (CORE) to evaluate the impact of U.S. foreign assistance programs and multilateral assistance programs receiving U.S. funding; and the requirement that USAID mission directors be made responsible for the coordination of all U.S. development and humanitarian assistance in the field.

Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (S.624). Senator Richard Durbin, along with Senators Corker and Murray, has introduced the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (S.624). The legislation would place water at the forefront of U.S. development priorities, with a goal of providing 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to clean water and sanitation by 2015. It would target underdeveloped countries, foster global cooperation on research and technology, provide technical assistance and capacity building, provide seed money to deploy water and sanitation technologies, and strengthen the capacity of USAID and State to implement water and sanitation projects. To date 27 Senators have signed on to the bill and 69 Representatives have cosponsored a companion bill (H.R. 2030) introduced by Representative Blumenauer in the House. Twenty-three Senators, including seven Republicans, have cosponsored this legislation.      

IHC CELEBRATES WORLD HABITAT DAY BY HOSTING SEMINAR
DISCUSSES URBANIZATION, SLUMS & FUTURE OF U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE

Monday, October 5, 2009 was World Habitat Day. World Habitat Day is intended to highlight the importance of decent shelter for all and, for the first time, was held in Washington, DC with Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Under Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNHABITAT, Anna Tibaijuka, serving as official hosts. Speakers at the October 5 celebration at the National Building Museum included Melody Barnes and Valarie Jarrett from the White House and President Obama voiced his support via video message. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, moderated the event.

The IHC co-hosted two World Habitat Day events: 
On October 5, the IHC and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) held a luncheon in honor of the Honorable David H. Stevens, FHA Commissioner at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Peter Kimm, board chairman of the IHC, and Charles McMillan, President of NAR welcomed the guests. FHA Commissioner Stevens commented on current HUD initiatives.

On October 7, the IHC organized a seminar at the Peterson Institute in Washington, D.C to draw attention to the issues of urbanization, slums and housing. Following opening remarks by Anna Tibaijuka of UNHABITAT and Peter Kimm, IHC Board Chairman, Neal Peirce, a well-known writer and reporter on urban affairs, moderated a panel discussion on these issues and the role U.S. foreign assistance. The panel included Billy Cobbett, Manager of the Cities Alliance, Bob Buckley, Managing Director for Program Initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation, Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction and Abba Joshi Ghani, Manager Urban Development at the World Bank. The seminar concluded with a presentation by Steven Feldstein from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the Congressional perspective on foreign assistance reform and the issue of urbanization. David Devlin Foltz of the Aspen Institute facilitated the event. Co-hosts included Habitat for Humanity International, UN HABITAT, the Cities Alliance, InterAction, the Aspen Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation.

There was general agreement among the panelists that U.S. foreign assistance must give greater attention to urbanization because it is a force that is rapidly reshaping the developing world. They noted that while urbanization does generate difficult problems, urbanization can also be the facilitator of economic growth and poverty alleviation. Among the many observations, they stressed that to reap the benefits of urbanization, country governments and aid organizations alike must: promote better city management, invest more public resources in urban areas, and recognize that slum dwellers are entitled to the same basic services and rights as other citizens.

The new Rockefeller-funded IHC White Paper, "The Challenge of an Urban World: An Opportunity for U.S. Foreign Assistance" was distributed to the audience. If you would like a copy of the report, please send a request to Nicole Weir: weir@Intlhc.org.

2009 REPORT ON THE SIMON WATER FOR THE POOR ACT
STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES ANNUAL REPORT ON WATER FOR THE POOR ACT 
 
In June, the State Department's Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science released the 2009 Report to Congress on the implementation of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act. The Act, signed into law on December 1, 2005, makes access to safe water and basic sanitation for the poor a specific policy objective of U.S. foreign assistance. The Report can be downloaded at www.State.gov.

From the perspective of the IHC, the Report is disappointing in its failure to adequately highlight the water and sanitation needs of the urban poor. The Water for the Poor Act requires that funds be distributed in a balanced manner between urban, peri-urban and rural areas, yet details about the exact amount of funding being used to bring water and sanitation to slums remain unclear. In addition, the Act requires USAID to develop a strategy to implement the Act; this strategy still has not been developed. Finally, according to data in the report, much of the progress made in 2008 to increase access to water and sanitation in the developing world occurred in a small number of countries. Two countries, Jordan and Pakistan, account for over half of all progress made in improved water access, and Jordan alone accounts for 66 percent of all progress in access to improved sanitation.
IHC CONTRIBUTES TO UK STUDY
IHC SUBMITS EVIDENCE TO HOUSE OF COMMONS
 
The IHC, in conjunction with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) (an IHC member), submitted "evidence" to International Development Committee of the British House of Commons that examined the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and the relevance of its mission and priorities. The Committee issued its report, "Urbanization and Poverty," in October and recommended that UK foreign assistance give more attention to poverty, slums and Sub Saharan Africa. The report noted, "Africa is the world's fastest urbanizing region and it has the highest proportion of slum dwellers. Without a new and comprehensive approach to urban development in Africa, a number of cities could face a humanitarian crisis in as little as five year's time, given the huge expansion of their urban populations. Addressing urban poverty offers the opportunity to tackle wider development issues such as: unemployment and crime, social exclusion, population growth, climate change and the environment."
NEW IHC BOARD MEMBER
CALVIN LINDBERG CANADIAN REALTOR JOINS THE IHC BOARD
 
Calvin (Cal) Lindberg has joined the IHC board. Lindberg, a realtor from Vancouver Canada, served as president of the Canadian Real Estate Association in 2008. He has more than 20 years experience in residential real estate. Pierre Beauchamp, CEO of CREA serves on the IHC management committee.
BECOME AN IHC MEMBER
FIND OUT ABOUT IHC MEMBERSHIP AT WWW.INTLHC.ORG
 
Support the activities of the IHC and become a member of its coalition. Dues are $200 a year. Join online or by mail.

Contact Information:

The International Housing Corporation
10 G Street NE, Suite 710
Washington, D.C. 20002
www.intlhc.org

Bob Dubinsky, Director, 202-408-8506
Dubinsky@intlhc.org
Fax 202-248-5099