Again very useful and important questions for the teams in Brussels and Bangladesh!
Handholding support would specifically include back-up technical support by the Project team (Cities Alliance and the partners - United Cities Local Governments Asia Pacific for local governments and Asian Coalition for Housing Rights for the slum dweller federation) to the city stakeholders to supplement their capacity to discuss and prepare a city resilience plan, and implement community driven projects to address the priority city shocks and stresses under those plans. The handholding support is in variance to the consultancy approach –the former is a form of capacity building through on-the-job training to lead the process and achieve the deliverables while latter is focused only on the deliverable.
Regarding the second question - The primary outputs during the 18 months:
- Shared understanding in the city(ies) of resilience issues and what it means operationally for slum communities within a city wide perspective. In terms of city, we define this in functional terms so it does not stop at the administrative boundaries. This is very important for addressing resilience challenges. - Strengthened capacity of communities to prepare settlement improvement plans to address both chronic resilience issues and climate change shocks. - Dynamic City Urban Forum setup and consultation processes installed and institutionalized among the city stakeholders (slum dwellers, middle class, local government, private sector, etc.) - Enhanced capacity of city stakeholders in preparation of a participatory city resilience plan - Participatory city resilience plan integrated with city wide development strategy, sector plans, budget and statutory spatial plan. - Increased financial support to deliver against the resilience plan in the long term through continued negotiated development support between the local government and organized slum dweller associations through integration of cities into World Bank national slum upgrading programme and DFID/UNDP national urban programme (both which commence design in earnest in 2016).
The review questions from the experts has really helped us refine the project further with our partners in Bangladesh!
The project has a narrow remit to strengthen the quality of dialogue between slum dwellers and the Pourashava in 3 secondary cities via the mechanism of a Municipal Development Forum. The proposed activity and its focus on resilient slum communities has been prepared in the perspective of high slum concentration in the 3 selected secondary towns in Bangladesh. The project, however, avoids exclusive approach to developing resilient slum communities and proposes to engage with multiple city stakeholders, including the local government, to integrate the communities-driven slums resilience plan within a city development strategy. The proposed city urban forum, in each of the 3 selected towns, will provide the platform for collaboration between multi-stakeholders, integration of slums resilience plan with city development strategy and negotiation for city action to address challenges faced by slum communities. The project is proposed to be linked to the national programmes for urban poverty reduction and pro-poor slums integration project, and the city urban forum would provide the platform for positioning local governments in centric role for implementation of the national programmes in the selected secondary towns.
Global experience illustrates that such dialogues tend to mature over time. Typically the dialogue is catalyzed by very local issues, which soon start to find connections with the functioning of the city as a whole. The dialogue is useful for slum dwellers as they find common purpose and for officials as they learn about neglected parts of the city but most of all they seek partnerships between slum dweller organizations and government officials.
We fully appreciate understand that there cannot be a cookie cutter approach. The Cities Alliance has learnt a great deal about community organization and public community dialogue over the years in multiple contexts in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These lessons include ensuring that both sides of the dialogue receive support in understanding each other. In this light the project will monitor progress and adapt the method and process to ensure the best possible fit to the local context.
A. The project proposes a cyclical approach, adopting a step-by-step approach from ‘Identify’ stage to ‘invest stage’. Investments and learning in initial cycle of activities would influence priority setting in ‘identify and agree’ stages in subsequent project cycles.
B. Community development Committees, created under the UPPR Programme from DFID/UNDP in each of the slum settlements in the 3 selected towns, are proposed to be strengthened though introduction and capacity development around the concepts of resilience and handholding support to become the platform for community engagement.
C. Incentives for local government participation and leadership in city urban forums include strengthening the quality and responsiveness of service delivery and other support to often hard to reach and “invisible” communities. The proposed linkage between the project and national programmes also provides the local governments with a delivery platform to attract international and domestic climate finance as well as influence the implementation of large international programmes from the World Bank and DFID/UNDP in their towns.
How does our idea connect to the broader system of the city where you plan to implement?
Each and every slum is part of the functioning of the city. Slums however by virtue of exclusion tend to be the most susceptible to climate related shocks and stresses. The city forums will bring these issues to the table and will explore ways in which the services, environmental, economic and community systems can better include the needs of the urban poor and explore how city governance can provide a better platform for voice for and partnership with the urban poor.
Rather than being a separate standalone forum and resilient plan, we will refine the process so that the outputs of the forum dialogue and planning processes will be integrated into existing city wide development strategies and budgets to ensure alignment into the broader planning and investment system.
Cities Alliance experience in Uganda, Ghana, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Viet Nam, in particular, has demonstrated the contribution of organized slum-dwellers engagement at the local level in formulation of resilient city wide action plans which also promote inclusive cities. The city urban forums, with participation of various population segments along with various other stakeholders, have catalysed the participation of marginalised population segments in planning, strategy formulation, design, investment and implementation of programmes.
The city urban forum have provided slum-dwellers federations with a shared platform to participate in city governance and to negotiate with other stakeholders to address their concerns which positively impact not only their quality of life but also cities’ resilience. Chronic stresses addressed through our experience in other city forums include security of tenure of slum settlements, access to urban basic services, mobilization of community savings and harnessing income generating opportunities. The planning oriented forums also promote community driven risk informed planning from exposure to acute shocks which reduce the sensitivity of the urban poor and promotes their adaptive capacity to climate induced disasters and reduction of the socio, economic and environmental impacts of natural disasters.
All of these factors have been critical in developing slum communities’ resilience to chronic stress factors such as dilapidated housing, lack of access to water and sanitation facilities, poor storm water drainage, poor street-lighting impacting safety, among others. Also, the climate change risks faced by slum-dwellers are built into the city resilience plans to address climate change shocks such as flooding, landslides and sea level rise which impact the livelihoods, health and mobility of communities.
The city level responses include interventions under slum upgrading programmes such as reduced use of traditional carbon based fuels, incorporating disaster risk reduction in land use planning and improved housing construction during upgrading (use of resilient building materials such as bamboo), facilitated by de facto tenure security.