• urban legislation
  • Urban Planning
  • urban-economy
  • urban-basic-services
  • housing-and-slum-upgrading
  • risk-reduction-rehabilitation
  • research-capacity-development

Urban Basic Services

Urban basic services emphasis is placed on strengthening policies and institutional frameworks for expanding equitable access to urban basic services, especially for the poor. Policy and technical support is provided to partner countries and local authorities in the areas of water and sanitation, urban waste management, urban mobility and urban energy.

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The main objective is to increase equitable access to urban basic services and the standard of living of the urban poor.

A key focus of Urban basic services area is the strengthening of policies and institutional frameworks for increasing equitable access to urban basic services and improving the standard of living of the urban poor. Policy and technical assistance is provided to partner cities and regional and national authorities as follows: first, to rehabilitate and expand urban infrastructure and services to keep pace with growing demand; second, to ensure institutional efficiency and effectiveness in service provision; and third to provide adequate levels of service for the urban poor. It also takes into account the needs and priorities of women, men and vulnerable groups in decision-making and the implementation of projects, and addresses the gender imbalances and inequalities in the provision of sustainable water and sanitation, urban infrastructure, energy, transport and waste management. The strategies for achieving the results in the four programmatic clusters of urban mobility and, urban energy, water and sanitation, urban waste management are as follows:

  • Promoting sustainable mobility options with a particular emphasis on the needs of the urban poor in developing countries. The central task is to encourage transport policies and investments that contribute to improved urban productivity, reduce energy consumption and promote better living and working conditions for urban residents. Focus is placed on three strategic areas: global advocacy; knowledge dissemination and technical assistance in the development of national policy frameworks; and investment strategies for enabling sustainable urban mobility;
  • Increasing access to modern, clean and reliable energy services for the urban poor. Emphasis also lies on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy technologies by promoting renewable energy technologies and mainstreaming energy efficiency measures into housing policies, building codes and building practices. Key activities include demonstration projects, advocacy and raising awareness of the importance of energy for sustainable and equitable development and participatory engagement in policy and legislation;
  • Supporting efforts by Governments in developing countries in their pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation. This is achieved through city-level demonstration projects, institutional strengthening of service providers and engagement in national policy and reform processes. Focus is also placed on advocacy and support for water and sanitation-related political processes, events to raise the profile of pro-poor urban water and sanitation issues and their integration into sector policy and practice;
  • Enhancing the capacity of local actors in solid waste and wastewater management. Support is provided for pilot demonstration projects, including technical assistance in setting-up community-based solid waste management systems;
  • Catalysing the flow of investment into urban basic services by forging strategic partnerships with regional development banks and bilateral donors. UN-Habitat provides pre-investment resources and the development banks will provide resources for the capital-intensive components of the interventions. The catalytic role is also achieved through city-level model demonstration projects, institutional strengthening of service providers and engagement in national policy and reform processes. Furthermore, it engages in advocacy efforts with other development partners with financial resources to replicate and scale up successful model projects.


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