Chapter 17: The Cross-Cutting Issues of Human Rights, Gender Equality, and Youth

This chapter was prepared by a multidisciplinary team composed of Taib  Boyce, Sonja  Ghaderi, Brian Olunga, Javan Ombado, Rocio Armillas-Tiseyra, Judith Mulwa, Douglas Ragan, Imogen Howells, and Hazel Kuria

Introduction

Urbanization reflects transformations in national economies—most notably growing numbers of people moving away from working directly with natural resources and towards industry and services.1 Indeed, 70 to 80 per cent of economic activity is generated in cities.2 Thus, urbanization is associated with increasing prosperity and enjoyment of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights for men and women.3 In this sense, urbanization is also associated with the right to an adequate standard of living.4

However, urbanization does not necessarily translate into an adequate standard of living for all. In some countries, it is generally associated with inequality, exclusion and segregation, a spike in urban poverty rates, growth of slums, and unequal access to the services and benefits of urbanization. The challenges of urbanization, such as rising inequalities, inadequate housing conditions, and the proliferation of slums, are symptoms of a larger deficit of the realization of human rights in cities. Only when all dimensions of the right to adequate housing and other human rights are respected will urbanization realize its full transformational potential.

The cross-cutting issues of human rights, gender equality, and youth are key to wealth and employment creation in cities and towns that realize their full potential as drivers of economic development, and where all residents can contribute to urban life. In view of the 2030 Agenda’s call to “leave no one behind” and “reach the furthest behind first,” these cross-cutting social safeguards seek to ensure inclusion of all urban residents as contributors to urban life and the urban economy.

  • 1. IIED and UNFPA, Urbanization, Gender and Urban Poverty: Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in the City (n.p., IIED & UNFPA, 2012).
  • 2. World Bank, Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities-Now: Priorities for City Leaders (Washington, World Bank, 2013).
  • 3. Refers to the level of wealth, comfort, and material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class in a certain geographic location.
  • 4. IIED and UNFPA, Urbanization, Gender and Urban Poverty: Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in the City (n.p., IIED & UNFPA, 2012).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Urban Economy

Via the 2030 Agenda, the UN member states have declared their vision of “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination; of respect for race, ethnicity and cultural diversity.”5 Strong emphasis is put on the importance of promoting gender equality, as well as establish-ing specific targets directed towards women’s and girls’ empowerment in the pursuit of gender equality. Youth-responsive approaches are also highlighted throughout the agenda.

Many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are of relevance for city leaders engaging in urban financing policies and interventions (see Box 1). The agenda and its goals emphasize that development should focus on and prioritize marginalized, disadvantaged, and excluded groups, in an effort to reach the furthest behind first. Those most often left behind in urbanization processes include, but are not limited to, the urban poor, residents of slums and informal settlements, homeless persons, people experiencing—or under the threat of—forced evictions, children, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities,  refugees,  migrants  and  displaced persons, indigenous peoples, persons with HIV/AIDS, persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and women. Many persons will experience intersecting forms of marginalization and disadvantage as a result of overlaps in their identities, e.g., young poor women or indigenous youth with disabilities.

  • 5. United Nations, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (New York, United Nations, 2015), para. 8.

Urbanization is associated with increasing prosperity and enjoyment of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights for men and women.

Box
1
:
Some of the Sustainable Development Goals relevant for city leaders

Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender equality

  • Target 5.1: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life
  • Target 5.9: Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Sustainable Development Goal 9: Infrastructure and industrialization

  • Target 9.1: Develop quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-be-ing, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all
  • Target 9.4: Upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities 

Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

  • Target 11.1: Ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums

  • Target 11.3: Enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated, and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
  • Target 11.a: Support positive economic, social, and environ-mental links between urban, peri-urban, and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
  • Target 11.c: Support least-developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustain-able and resilient buildings utilizing local materials

Sustainable Development Goal 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions

  • Target 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
  • Target 16.5: Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
  • Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels

Human rights

Human rights are universal legal guarantees that protect individuals, and to a certain extent groups, from interference with their freedoms. Human rights are inherent to all human beings and are designed to protect the human values of freedom, equality, and dignity. They are grounded in international norms and standards and are legally binding for states upon ratification of human rights treaties.

What human rights are relevant for city leaders?

Human rights relevant in the context of urban economy include, but are not limited to:

  • the right to an adequate standard of living;6
  • the right to adequate housing;7
  • the right to water and sanitation;8
  • the right to work;9
  • the right to health;10
  • the right to education;11
  • the right to access to information;12
  • the right to hold property;13 and
  • land rights.14
  • 6. Enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 25 and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Article 11.
  • 7. UDHR Article 25 and ICESCR Article 11.
  • 8. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 15 on the Right to Water (Geneva, United Nations, 2002).
  • 9. ICESCR Article 6.
  • 10. UDHR Article 25 and ICESCR Article 12.
  • 11. UDHR Article 26(1), ICESCR Article 13, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Article 28, 29.
  • 12. UDHR Article 19, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 19(2).
  • 13. UDHR Article 17.
  • 14. For further reading on land rights, consult UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), pp. 43–48.

Financing for development

“Financing for development must satisfy the demands of all persons to have their most basic needs met in a world that does not lack the means, but has failed to demonstrate the will, to make human rights a reality for all.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The added value of a Human Rights– Based Approach to municipal finance

The Human Rights–Based Approach (HRBA) is composed of programming principles that can be used by city leaders to seek to ensure that their decision-making contributes to sustainable and inclusive urbanization processes.15 HRBA seeks to address capacity gaps of decision-makers such as city leaders, mayors, local government officials, and ministry officials so they can fulfil their human rights duties, and so urban residents can enjoy their human rights entitlements.

The benefits of a Human Rights–Based Approach include the following:

  • Financial policies take into account the knowledge and experiences of all urban residents with increased potential for success, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Tax policies can be developed in a way that promotes equality and combats exclusion.
  • Financing schemes include and yield benefits for all, including urban residents who might be left behind in urban processes.
  • The participation of both decision-makers and urban residents in the decision-making process enables holistic analyses of financial challenges.
  • It provides communities ownership and under-standing of the intervention, which builds trust. This increases the chances of acceptance of the process and outcomes, and successful completion of the intervention.

The duties of city leaders in the protection and promotion of human rights

A human right can be understood as a relation-ship between individuals or a group who has human rights entitlements, and decision-makers and others with corresponding human rights duties or obligations (see Figure A). Urban residents with human rights entitlements are in this way “rights-holders.” Rights-holders include those living in slums and informal settlements without security of tenure and availability of services, as well as those living in formal settlements. Rights-holders include people of different sexes and ages. People in situations of vulnerability are also rights-holders, including the urban poor, persons experiencing (or under the threat of) forced evictions, homeless persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, minorities, refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons, persons with HIV/AIDS, and persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.

Those with corresponding duties, such as city leaders, mayors, local government officials, national government officials, and ministry officials, are “duty-bearers.” Human rights do not only entail obligations for the state at the national level, but also at the local and municipal levels. In particular, city leaders deal with human rights issues on an everyday basis as a result of their close proximity to urban residents.16

Human rights obligations of municipal governments follow the classical tripartite typology of states’ human rights obligations, namely, the duty to respect, the duty to protect, and the duty to fulfil.

  • 15. For further reading on the Human Rights–Based Approach, consult UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015).
  • 16. Human Rights Council, Role of Local Government in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – Final report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (New York, Human Rights Council, 2015).
Figure
A
:
The relationship between decision-makers (duty-bearers) and urban residents (rights-holders)
Figure A

The duty/obligation to respect means that city leaders should refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms of all persons within their jurisdiction. For example:

  • Specific barriers to women’s access to finance must be eliminated, and women and girls must have equal access to financial services, and the right to own land and other assets.17
  • City leaders need to ensure that taxes and fees are not beyond people’s capacity to pay and will not have adverse impacts on their ability to enjoy their human rights to adequate housing, water and sanitation, education, etc.18
  • City leaders need to assess how financial instruments affect various groups. For example, if property valuation undervalues expensive properties systematically, it can place an undue burden on poor urban residents in comparison to higher-income households.

The duty/obligation to protect requires measures to ensure that third parties do not violate the rights and freedoms of the individual. For example:

  • City leaders are required to ensure that businesses do no harm to the individual. In working together, city leaders and businesses should subject public–private partnerships to human rights safeguards and due diligence, including human rights impact assessments.19
  • People should have access to fair judicial proceedings regarding the payment of taxes and fees.

The duty/obligation to fulfil requires the adoption of appropriate legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial, promotional, and other measures towards the full realization of human rights. Also, city leaders should strive to ensure universal and transparent access to affordable and appropriate  financial services across income levels, genders, geographical divisions, ages, and other groups.20 For example:

  • City leaders need to ensure that adequate local revenue generation can be spent on the progressive realization of housing, water, sanitation, etc.

The added value of participatory budgeting processes

The distribution of public spending can promote the realization of human rights, and city leaders need to assess how financial instruments affect various groups so as to ensure that certain individuals or groups are not affected adversely. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is working with participatory approaches to promote inclusive and transparent budgeting processes, where the communities themselves set priorities together with decision-makers (see Case Study 1).

Participatory budgeting processes add value in these ways:

  • The lived experiences by the community members inform the process and increase the relevance of public spending or development of the financial instrument, and identification of cost- and time-saving strategies.
  • The processes build trust and increase sense of ownership, which increases the likelihood that decisions on tax collection, financial instruments, and public spending will be accepted by the targeted communities.
  • The processes increase the likelihood that the communities will protect and take care of the products built or installed.
  • 17. OHCHR, Key Messages on Human Rights and Financing for Development (New York, OHCHR, 2015). Available from http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/MDGs/Post2015/HRAndFinancingForDe….
  • 18. Affordability is a human rights standard, and defines the core content of human rights. Facilities, goods, and services must be affordable and expenses must not dis-proportionally burden poorer households. See UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 11.
  • 19. OHCHR, Key Messages on Human Rights and Financing for Development (New York, OHCHR, 2015). Available from http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/MDGs/Post2015/HRAndFinancingForDe….
  • 20. UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 7.

Case study
1
:
UN-Habitat local participatory budgeting in Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Senegal

UN-Habitat’s programme “Capacity Building for Local Participatory Planning, Budgeting, and Gender Mainstreaming,” carried out in collaboration with the Government of Spain, focused on developing capacities of local councilors, municipal staff, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and local training institutions to carry out strategic planning and budget-ing in a participatory manner. The programme combined and applied a number of participatory planning tools and governance methods in a sequential manner to best serve the needs identified in eight municipalities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Senegal. To ensure a gender perspective, gender considerations were mainstreamed in decision-making and implementation, with a focus of enhancing the capacities and roles of women in the processes.

Participatory budgeting committees were put in place, and the participation of residents of the municipality was ensured, as was the representation of women. Through the committees, a participatory planning and budgeting process was established to contribute to preparation, participatory budgeting formulation, resource mobilization and budget adoption, budget execution, monitoring, and evaluation. In this way, strategic projects were selected by the residents and local decision-makers, who promoted infrastructure and public space projects, and the progressive realization of the human rights to water and sanitation, work, and adequate housing.

The benefits from the participatory budgeting process included the following:

  • Gender inclusivity and sensitivity to local cultural practices was achieved.
  • Co-funding from the participating municipalities was triggered.
  • Participating municipalities contributed towards the execution of the projects.
  • Local counterparts assumed a high level of ownership.
  • Accountability of local and national policy-makers was reinforced.
  • The programme contributed to democracy and decentralization.21
  • 21. UN-Habitat Regional Office for Africa, Research and Capacity Development Branch, Capacity Building for Local Participatory Planning, Budgeting and Gender Mainstream-ing Programme: DRC, Mozambique, Senegal – Final Report (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2012).

How human rights principles can benefit financial processes

To ensure that financial policies contribute to inclusive and sustainable cities and towns where human rights are realized for all, human rights principles should guide all phases of the policy process. Human rights principles—such as interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, and accountability and rule of law—represent the procedural safeguards to ensure that financial processes integrate a human rights perspective. According to the Human Rights–Based Approach, equal attention needs to be paid to both processes and outcomes.

Human rights principles add value to municipal financial processes in the following ways:

  • By acknowledging human rights, city leaders contribute to the sustained, positive changes in the life and standard of living of urban residents. Through the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing, for example, local deci-sion-makers can also promote the right to an adequate standard of living, the health of urban residents (the right to health), their ability to contribute to economic life and work (the right to work), children’s capacity to study and live close to schools (the right to education), and so on.22
  • Taking into account and catering to the differences and specific needs of groups that generally face particular challenges and disadvantages, city leaders can promote equality and non-discrimination by carrying out assessments to ensure that policies do not have unintended discriminatory effects.23
  • Having ensured that the people who are targeted by financial policies have been participating in a free, meaningful, and active manner can increase the chances for financial policies to be relevant and produce sustainable results in the long term.24
  • Transparent financial processes where accountabilities are clear and rule of law is respected can ensure more clarity in revenue and expenditure assignments, promote efficient use of economic resources, and be important in combatting corruption.25

One major way local governments can promote these human rights principles is through their inclusion in the local legislative framework (see Case Study 2). The establishment of such local human rights mechanisms gives visibility to the role of local authorities in human rights protection. In order for them to effectively discharge their functions, these should be provided with sufficient human and financial resources and be accessible to everyone within the respective locality.26

  • 22. The human rights principle of interdependence implies that the realization of each human right contributes to the realization of a person’s dignity through the satisfaction of her or his developmental, physical, and spiritual needs. The human rights principle of interrelatedness means that the fulfillment of one right often depends, wholly or in part, upon the fulfillment of other rights. UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 10.
  • 23. The human rights principles of equality and non-dis-crimination mean that individuals are equal as human beings by virtue of the inherent dignity of each human person, and that every individual is entitled to enjoy human rights without discrimination of any kind, such as discrimination due to race, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, disability, property, birth, or other status. UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 10.
  • 24. The human rights principles of participation and inclusion imply that all stakeholders, duty-bearers, and rights-holders, including slum dwellers and other urban residents in vulnerable situations, should be given the opportunity to participate in activities and interventions that affect them. UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 10.
  • 25. The human rights principle of accountability requires that duty-bearers, including city leaders, mayors, and local government officials, be answerable for the observance of human rights. Rule of law means that all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. UN-Habitat, Programmatic Guidance Note on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2015), p. 10.
  • 26. Human Rights Council, Role of Local Government in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – Final report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (New York, Human Rights Council, 2015), para. 37.

Case study
2
:
Municipal Code of Guatemala

The Municipal Code of Guatemala establishes the obligation of local government to convene different social sectors of the municipality to participate in the development and institutionalization of municipal public policies and plans for urban and rural development. It also stipulates the preservation and promotion of rights of communities to their cultural identification according to their values, languages, traditions, and customs. The code also authorizes the establishment of commissions for compliance.27

  • 27. Human Rights Council, Role of Local Government in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – Final report of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (New York, Human Rights Council, 2015), para. 41.
An outdoor market in Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Gender equality

Within the current urban environment, women face unique challenges due to gender-based discrimination. For example, urban settlements are associated with increased incidence of public space gender-based violence (GBV) and challenges in mobility due to gender-neutral urban planning, which fails to acknowledge and accommodate the informal and care economies.28 Specifically, urban poverty has distinctive gendered dimensions, aggravated by the gendered-division of labour, poor representation in urban governance, and unequal access to public spaces.29

Therefore, urbanization’s potential to deliver sustain-able development and an adequate standard of living for all depends on an intersectional approach that recognizes that the urban poor, and especially women, face daunting challenges in the form of environmental hazards, inadequate shelter, insufficient provision of water and sanitation, and limited access to services, resulting in the overall challenge that their human rights are violated or at risk of being violated.30 In order to meet these challenges, city leaders will have to draw on tools for socially inclusive urbanization, which recognize the participation and rights of all.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE), and gender mainstreaming

The implementation of sound and inclusive municipal finance will define the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in cities and the New Urban Agenda (NUA). In short, transparent, effective municipal finance will be the source for financing for SDG 11 and the NUA.32 In the same vein, it is paramount to recognize that women’s livelihoods are key drivers of the urban economy, and essential to effective finance and implementation of sustainable urban growth.

  • 28. Vienna City Council, Gender Mainstreaming in Urban Planning and Urban Development (Vienna, Vienna City Council, 2013).
  • 29. UN-Habitat, State of Women in Cities 2012/13 (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2013).
  • 30. UNFPA, State of the World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth (New York, UNFPA, 2007).
  • 32. UN-Habitat, World Cities Report 2016 (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2016).

Women’s crucial role

“The subordinate role of women … enables the minimal maintenance of [the city’s] housing, transport and public facilities … because women guarantee unpaid transportation, because they repair their homes, because they make meals when these are no canteens … because they look after others’ children when there are no nurseries. … [I]f women who ‘do nothing’ ever stopped to do ’only that’, the whole urban structure as we know it would become completely incapable of maintaining its functions.”31

  • 31. M. Castells, City, Class and Power (London, Macmillan, 1978), pp. 177–178.

At its core, GEWE is about behavioral change and an overarching long-term development goal. Empowerment relies on a woman’s ability to plan and control her own life. Therefore, in order to become empowered, women must not only have equal capabilities (i.e., education and health) and equal rights and access to resources and opportunities (i.e., land and employment), they must also have the agency to deploy those rights and capabilities and to be included in societal decision-making processes (i.e., through leadership and participation at the institutional levels).33

Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing the implications for women and men of planned actions in all areas, and at all levels (for a specific example, see Case Study 3). Therefore, all activities should be defined so that gender differences can be diagnosed; gender-neutrality is never the case.34 Gender mainstreaming is the main international approach to promoting equality between men and women.35

  • 33. UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women, “Gender Equality, UN Conference and You” [training module]. Available from http://www.unicef.org/gender/training/content/scoIn-dex.html.
  • 34. ECOSOC Resolution 1997/2.
  • 35. D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).

Its objective is to make women’s and men’s needs and experiences an integral dimension of the design, execution, budgetary process, and audit of policies and programmes in all political, economic, and societal spheres.36 In order for this to be achieved, women’s participation at all levels of decision-making must be broadened and fulfilled, in line with SDG 5.5. In the long term, gender mainstreaming aims to transform discriminatory social institutions, laws, cultural norms, and community practices, such as those limiting women’s access to property rights or restricting their access to public space.

Finally, there is a continued need to complement gender mainstreaming with targeted interventions for women’s empowerment, particularly where there are instances of persistent discrimination against women and inequality between women and men. Hence, gender mainstreaming does not replace the need for targeted, women-specific policies and programmes or positive legislation.38

  • 36. GA Resolution S-23/3 (2000) annex, paragraph 73[c].
  • 38. ECOSOC Resolution 1997/2

Case study
3
:
Mainstreaming gender in Ethiopia

In 1993, in Ethiopia, a National Women’s Affairs Policy was adopted. The policy established Women Focal Points in each ministry at federal and state levels. The main purpose of these focal points is to mainstream gender into the activities of each sector and authority, which includes engendering the budget. There is also a Women’s Affairs Committee in parliament that is one of nine standing committees. The role of this committee is to ensure that every piece of legislation passed by parliament has incorporated the proper gender balance. In addition, the committee tries to monitor how effective the activities of various ministries and agencies are in gradually ensuring real gender equality.37

  • 37. Case study available in D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Under-standing and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).

Urban poverty has distinctive gendered dimensions, aggravated by the gendered-division of labour, poor representation in urban governance, and unequal access to public spaces.

Supporting gender mainstreaming to mitigate gender-neutral macroeconomic analysis

Gender mainstreaming requires sufficient human and financial resources.39 If these are not made available, gender-responsive policies cannot trans-late to on-the-ground realities. For this reason, gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) is essential to ensure that human and financial resources are available for gender mainstreaming and empowerment activities. As a point of departure, it is paramount to take into account that macroeconomic analysis is oftentimes gender-neutral for the following reasons:

  • Economic institutions carry and transmit gender biases: Often, economic institutions ignore male biases in employment legislation, property rights, and inheritance laws, all of which restrict and determine the economic activity of women.
  • The cost of reproducing and maintaining the labour force is invisible because economic analysis does not consider unpaid labour: Women are disproportionately burdened with care-work responsibilities; although it is unpaid, it is vital for maintaining and reproducing the labour force.
  • Gender relations play an important role in the division of labour and the distribution of employment, income, wealth, and productive inputs: There are a number of occupations dominated by one of the genders, and regardless of education or skill level required, occupations dominated by women usually have lower earnings than those dominated by men.40

In order to remedy these gender-neutral dimensions in macroeconomic analysis, there are three import-ant phases to consider in gender mainstreaming in budgets:41

  • Raise awareness and understanding of gender and impacts of budgets.
  • Ensure governments are accountable for upholding commitments to gender budgets and policy.
  • Amend and reform budgets and policy to promote gender equality.

The feminization of urban poverty and gender dimension of labour markets

It goes without saying that urbanization engenders changes in national economies, with growing numbers of people moving away from employment in the primary sector and towards the secondary and tertiary sectors.42 As noted previously, at present, 70 to 80 per cent of economic production is generated in cities.43

However, urbanization does not necessarily translate into an adequate standard of living for all. In some countries, it is generally associated with inequality, exclusion, segregation, increased urban poverty rates, slum proliferation, and unequal access to the services and benefits of urbanization. Currently, 54 per cent of the world’s population resides in urban settlements.44 This is expected to rise to 66 per cent by 2050 and surpass the six billion mark by 2045.45 Since urban economies are heavily associated with the secondary and tertiary sectors, wage labour dominates the means for meeting essential needs. There-fore, urban poverty has a distinctive gender dimension, as it puts a disproportionate burden on those members of communities and households responsible for unpaid care-work: predominately women.46 Consequently, combined with unequal rights to adequate housing, to minimum economic welfare, to vote, and to freedom of movement in public spaces, efforts to balance paid work and unpaid care-work disproportionately affect women, and in some case, even girls.47

This reality raises concerns about the growing feminization of urban poverty48 and the inability of national and local governments to provide services to all the residents of their growing cities. Consequently, women’s poverty is directly related to the absence of economic opportunities and autonomy; lack of access to economic resources, land ownership, and inheritance; lack of access to education and support services; and their minimal participation in deci-sion-making processes.49 In this sense, SDG 1, SDG 5, and SDG 11 are inextricably linked.

As a result of the disproportionate burden of care-work, women are vulnerable to time-poverty, and this can cause a crowding of flexible work economies (i.e., home-based, flexible working hours), which are predominantly associated with the informal sector. In short, women’s care-work responsibilities—the result of gendered division of labour—can cause women to crowd the informal sector in search of flexible work arrangements. Indeed, addressing and engaging the informal sector is oftentimes a challenge for local authorities; therefore, engaging with women’s grass-roots organizations and civil society organizations is paramount.

In light of women’s position in the urban economy, and their relative position in the reality of urban poverty, it is fundamental that urban finance managers consider GEWE as paramount in strategic plans and budgets, thus bringing together SDG 1.4 (“[to] ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources…”), 5.a (“[to] undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws”), and SDG 11 (“[to] make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”).

Transparent municipal institutions via GRB: Achieving SDGs 1, 5, and 16 in cities

Recent trends in municipal finance have led to increased recognition of the different needs of men and women in financing and budgeting. These trends include decentralization policies to ensure more efficient public service delivery;50 greater emphasis on land property taxation to raise revenue and implement urban development; growing popularity of public–private partnerships; and increasing demands for accountability and transparency of local governance, including increased implementation of trans-parent participatory budgeting methods.51

Institutional transparency denotes the availability and accessibility of information to citizens on all decisions and actions made by government; as such, budgets are an ideal area to focus on governance and accountability.52 The inclusion of a gender perspective in decision-making enhances the legitimacy of governance, in line with SDG 16.7 (“[to] ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”) and 16.b (“[to] promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development”). It enriches political processes by contributing new skills, styles, and visions (see Case Study 4).

  • 39. D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).
  • 40. D. Elson and N. Cagatay, Engendering Macro-Economic Policy and Budgets for Sustainable Human Development (New York, Human Development Report Office, 1999).
  • 41. Rhonda Sharp, Moving Forward: Multiple Strategies and Guiding Goals (New York, UNIFEM, 2002).
  • 42. IIED and UNFPA, Urbanization, Gender and Urban Poverty: Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in the City (n.p., IIED & UNFPA, 2012).
  • 43. World Bank, Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities-Now: Priorities for City Leaders (Washington, World Bank, 2013).
  • 44. UN-Habitat, World Cities Report (WCR): Emerging Futures (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2016).
  • 45. UNDESA, World Urbanization Prospects (New York, UN DESA, 2014).
  • 46. IIED and UNFPA, Urbanization, Gender and Urban Poverty: Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in the City (n.p., IIED & UNFPA, 2012).
  • 47. IIED and UNFPA, Urbanization, Gender and Urban Poverty: Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in the City (n.p., IIED & UNFPA, 2012).
  • 48. S. Chant and C. McIlwaine, Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South: Towards a Feminised Urban Future (New York, Routledge, 2016).
  • 49. Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Strategic Objectives and Actions: A. Women and Poverty, 49–51.
  • 50. G.K. Ingram and Y. Hong, Land Policies and their Outcomes (Cambridge, Mass., Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2007).
  • 51. UN-Habitat, Guide to Municipal Finance (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2009).
  • 52. D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).

Case study
4
:
Including women in decision-making processes

In Bacolod city in the Philippines, the NGO Development Through Active Women Networking (DAWN) Foundation first helped women stand for and fight local elections. As a result of DAWN’s activities, the number of women councilors increased. The executive director of DAWN was one of the new councilors. She and her colleagues recognized the importance of budgets, and worked together with gender activists from two other cities in a GRB initiative. Soon after the research was finished, a leading member of DAWN (who was one of the budget researchers) became the city administrator—the top official in local government. She and her colleagues in DAWN and the administration are now working to implement the gender-sensitive policies and budgets that they advocated in their research.53

  • 53. Case study available in D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).
Women fetching water in Bandiagara, Mali

As a means to promote transparency, GRB initiatives are able to provide a way of assessing the impact of government revenue and expenditure on women and men, girls and boys. Therefore, these initiatives can help to improve economic governance and financial management, while providing feedback to government on whether it is meeting the needs of different groups. For those outside government, GRB can be used to encourage transparency, accountability, and people’s ownership of the development process. Fundamentally, GRB initiatives provide information that allows for better decision-making on how policies and priorities should be revised to achieve SDG 5.54

Moreover, GRB initiatives align with a number of international agendas and agreements, and can ensure the fulfillment of SDG 16.6 (“[to] develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels”). For local authorities in particular, GRB initiatives can also become a means of meeting SDG 1.4, 5.5, and 5.a, as well as SDG 11.3. In addition, these initiatives align with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination 

Against Women (CEDAW, promulgated in 1979)55 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (promulgated in 1995).56

It is important to note that GRB initiatives are not about dividing government money 50–50 between the genders. Instead, they look at the full government budget from a gender perspective to assess how it will address the different needs of women and men, girls and boys, and different groups of women and men, girls and boys.57 Specifically, GRB entails the adoption of precise goals, indicators of achievement, data collection, and effective auditing. GRB initiatives have a number of tools for application to ensure effective budgeting (see Figure B)59; these can be implemented on a stand-alone basis, or integrated into the entire budgetary process. A gender analysis of budget revenues and expenditures can be conducted at the budget preparation phase, to assess baselines and set goals; in the budget monitoring phase; and at the budget audit and evaluation the budget phase.58

For in-depth examples of using GRB in municipal finance, see Case Studies 5, 6, and 7.

  • 54. D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).
  • 55. To view countries that have ratified the Convention, see: https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-8….
  • 56. Supported by GA Resolution S-23/3 (2000) annex, paragraph 73[c].
  • 57. D. Budlender and G. Hewitt, Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets (London, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2003).
  • 59. Adapted from HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Gender in Municipal Plans and Budgets: Manual with Practical Guidelines on Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting at Local Level, Based on Experiences with Municipalities in Kosovo (Vernier, Switzerland, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, 2012).
  • 58. Austrian Development Cooperation, Making Budgets Gender-Sensitive: A Checklist for Programme-Based Aid (Vienna, Austrian Development Cooperation, 2009).
Youth training by UN-Habitat in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Figure
B
:
Applying GBR in municipal finance, and expected outcomes
Figure B

Case study
5
:
Strengthening local councils in Cameroon to respond to women’s and girls’ needs

In Cameroon, UN Women provided support to a local civil society organization, Municipal Development Counseling Group (MUDEC), for institutionalizing GRB in local councils. Building on previous work, the project provided support to improve the technical capacities of local councils to integrate gender priorities into the planning and budgeting processes. MUDEC also contributed to developing the capacities of women’s groups to monitor and enforce output-based budgets in councils.

As a result of these efforts, municipal decisions bearing on increasing financing for gender equality have been adopted in 10 out of the 16 targeted councils. The project facilitated the creation and functioning of women foundations for inclusive governance (WOFIG) and gender committees in 16 councils. At least three WOFIG members in each council area were elected as councilors during the 30 September 2013 local elections.

In addition, seven WOFIG members were elected as alternate members of the National Assembly (MPs). These members now play a key role in local decision-making, especially on the allocation of resources and budgets.

To strengthen accountability and transparency towards gender equality in targeted councils, data on allocations for gender equality was collected and widely disseminated to ensure that the local administrators openly commit to increase the levels of financing for gender equality. Support was provided to WOFIG members to strengthen linkages with the gender committees for continuous lobbying on increasing accountability for financing gender equality. The project also facilitated gender public hearings and other engagement forums (face-to-face discussions) between the electorate and the elected within the project area.60

Source:
UN Women, “Strengthening Local Councils in Cameroon to Respond to Women and Girls Needs,” 2014, available from http://gender-financing.unwomen.org/en/highlights/local-governance-in-cameroon.

Case study
6
:
CSOs in Serbia demand gender responsive local plans and budgets

Women-led civil society organizations (CSOs) play a crucial role in gender responsive budget-ing processes, and this fact has been the motivating force behind the project led by Association Fenomena in Serbia. Association Fenomena led an initiative in 2013 that contributes to strengthening the role and engagement of women’s organizations from less-developed areas in Serbia to influence local policies and advocate for local GRB processes. It worked with eight women’s CSOs from seven towns/ municipalities in western, central, and southern Serbia (Novi Pazar, Kraljevo, Kragujevac, Užice, Kruševac, Niš, and Leskovac).

The targeted municipalities focused on a wide range of sectors and issues that pertain to women’s needs and demands. For example, in Prijepolje and Novi Pazar, the focus was on gender analysis of funds allocated to sports to address women’s needs and to assess whether women and men benefit equally from current budget allocations. In Kraljevo, a gender analysis of the municipal budget assessed aspects of transparency in budgeting processes, including budget preparation, implementation, and reporting. In Kragujevac, a gender analysis of budget allocations for welfare services addressed the needs of survivors of violence against women (VAW).

Leveraging the existing potential and experience of Serbia’s women-led CSOs, Fenomena brought a common agenda to influence local policy and GRB processes more effectively at the targeted sub-national level. The approach also account-ed for the need to develop the capacities of the network to demand and monitor financing for gender equality as a common concern of western, central, and southern Serbia.

These efforts contribute to increased account-ability of the local government in targeted areas to increase financing for gender equality by promoting gender-responsive planning and budgeting. The project strengthened advocacy skills of women’s organizations on gender responsive investments and financing in their respective municipalities. The project built crucial partnerships among local actors and strengthened networks of women organizations from targeted towns and municipalities. It brought together local authority representatives including finance officers; local gender equality council representatives; and stakeholders from the national level, such as the ministries of Finance and Labour, Employment and Social Policy, and the Gender Equality Directorate.61

Source:
UN Women, “CSOs in Serbia Demand for Gender Responsive Local Plans and Budgets,” 2014, available from http://gender-financing.unwomen.org/en/highlights/csos-in- serbia-demand-for-gender-responsive-local-plans-and-budgets.

Case study
7
:
Morocco’s successful experience with implementing gender responsive budgets

Morocco has a long history of gender responsive budgeting work with sustained, high-level political will to address gender equality. Since the adoption of a new finance law in January 2014, the needs of women and girls are increasingly being reflected in how governments spend, and gender priorities are integrated throughout the budgeting process.

Ongoing efforts have resulted in GRB being progressively anchored in Morocco’s budget reform process. Experience with results-based and gender-responsive public finance management for more than 10 years in Morocco resulted in the adoption of the new organic law of finance, by the Council of Government, which legally institutionalizes gender equality throughout budget processes. Taking the GRB processes a step forward, the new legislation explicitly mentions that gender equality must be taken into account in the definition of objectives, results, and indicators of performance of the line budgets. The new organic law also institutionalizes a gender report as an official document that is part of the annual finance bill—an important achievement.

Annually, Morocco produces a gender report that contains information on the work conduct-ed by each sector disaggregated by gender (where data allows), which has become an important accountability and monitoring tool, advancing implementation of GRB from one year to the next. By 2012, a total of 27 departments joined the report, corresponding to more than 80 per cent of the state’s overall budget. The report is successful in requiring reporting from more traditional sectors (for GRB), such as health and education, as well as non-traditional sectors, such as ministries of infrastructure and transport.

The Department of Literacy now conducts budget planning of its programmes based on its “targets,” which are largely women, who now constitute 85 per cent of the beneficiaries of such literacy programmes in Morocco. This approach, which began in 2009, has allowed the department to better adapt to the needs of its beneficiaries. As a result, several different programmes are also being developed accord-ing to age (15–24, 25–45, and 45+), as well as employment status (employee or looking for employment).

Another breakthrough was the inclusion of provisions in favor of gender equality in the country’s new constitution in July 2011. Article 19 explicitly enshrines gender equality in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights. The new constitution also introduces the principle of gender equality in fact through several articles that mention the commitment of governments to work towards the creation of conditions to allow the achievement of gender equality and equal representation of women and men in all areas, and access to decision-making bodies.62

Youth

Youth63 as a cross-cutting issue is fundamental to ensuring sustainable urbanization in cities for several reasons. First, youth constitute the majority of the population in a number of cities. Urbanization, as represented in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 11,64 is the engine that propels the world towards economic and social prosperity in the 21st century, and youth are its engineers. The “youth bulge,” a manifestation of reductions in infant mortality simultaneously with high fertility rates, creates a stage of development where a majority of a country’s population are children and young adults. Most developing countries now have more people under the age of 25 today than ever, totaling nearly three billion, or almost half of the total global population; 1.8 billion of that total are between age 12 and 24. They represent a group of change agents—the most active and dynamic, yet the most volatile and vulnerable segment of the population.

Most of these youth live in cities and towns; the cities of the developing world account for over 90 per cent of the world’s urban growth, and youth account for a large percentage of those inhabitants. It is estimated that as many as 60 per cent of all urban dwellers will be under age 18 by 2030.65 Based on these statistics, youth is evidently an untapped economic resource and needs to be viewed and treated as an asset and driver of safe, resilient, and sustainable cities.

Municipal finance for and by youth

Municipal finance can be defined as a model for financing the process of urbanization in a sustainable way in cities. Contrary to challenges that cities face, the new model of urbanization hopes to create cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. As a result, local authorities should embrace urbanization as not only an outcome of development, but also a formidable engine to achieve development in cities.

Youth can play a key role in realizing this promise; in many instances they have risen above the challenges facing developing cities and provided urban solutions that could improve the social, economic, and environmental conditions of cities. However, this is only the case in inclusive cities66 that provide youth with equal opportunities. It is important to mobilize their talent for the benefit of society as a whole.

However, the fundamental problem confronting most local authorities, especially those managing cities in developing countries, is the widening gap between the availability of financial resources and municipal spending needs. One of the main reasons for this increasing fiscal gap is the rapid growth of urban populations, which creates an ever-increasing demand for public services, new public infra-structure, and its maintenance.

This therefore creates a rift between different parts of urban centers in developing countries, hence creating a mix of relatively wealthy areas and poor areas, leading to growing disparities in the level of service and provision across the city. Due to having low or no income, among other challenges, the majority of youth live in informal settlements. Informal settlements67 are inviting to the urban poor and especially youth, as they offer affordable but substandard housing and mostly lack basic services. Consequently, informal settlements host most of cities’ social injustices but are also laboratories of innovation, as residents seek solutions to their urban challenges. If these solutions are discovered, analyzed, up-scaled, and replicated in the city context, they would not only be models of generating revenue for municipalities, but also models of expenditure in providing services to city inhabitants.

Role of youth in financing of cities

Youth in informal settlements

Municipal revenue is mostly untapped among the urban poor, especially youth, who are trapped in an informal and “illegal” world—in slums that are not reflected on maps, where waste is not collected, where taxes are not paid, and where public services are not provided. Officially, they do not exist. Although they may reside within the administrative boundary of a town or city, their local authority may well be a slumlord, mafia leader, or cartel member rather than city council staff, who often no longer attempt to assert their jurisdiction or even enter the informal settlements. As illegal or unrecognized residents, many youth living in informal settlements have no property rights, nor security of tenure, but instead make whatever arrangements they can in an informal, unregulated, and in some respects, expensive parallel market. This forms local governance structures in cities (see Case Study 8).

  • 63. Youth does not have a defined age. Youth is defined differently in different countries, organizations, and contexts. The UN defines youth as between the ages of 15–32 years.
  • 64. Sustainable Development Goal 11: “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
  • 65. UN DESA, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision (New York, UN DESA, 2014); Douglas Ragan, Cities of Youth, Cities of Prosperity (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2012).
  • 66. An inclusive city promotes a model of interaction that upholds the rights of every inhabitant.
  • 67. UN-Habitat defines informal settlement as characterized by inadequate access to safe water, inadequate access to sanitation and other infrastructure, poor structural quality of housing, overcrowding, and insecure residential status.
Youths in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Case study
8
:
The profitability of slum business

Nairobi City houses Kibera, the biggest slum in Africa. The city is one of the most important economic hubs of the continent and contributes 60 per cent of Kenya’s GDP (which had an annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent in 2016).68 Youth and children constitute a large proportion of Kenya’s population, with those between 15 and 34 years accounting for 7.9 million, of whom 2.6 million live in urban areas (32.3 per cent). Of this latter group, some 49 per cent live in poverty in urban areas, and youth in this group live in slum communities.69

This is a case study of the top services offered in informal settlements in Nairobi. The study discusses income generated from the housing sector, provision of basic infrastructure services, and private service providers.

Housing sector

Informal rental housing in Nairobi is dominated by large-scale landlordism.70 In Kibera, six per cent of all landlords own 25 per cent of all rooms.71 This indicates a high degree of ownership concentration. Furthermore, increasing densities in Nairobi’s slums suggest that structure owners, bypass-ing official regulations, maximize their income by constructing an increasing number of units on plots.72 As a consequence, densities in Nairobi’s slums have reached 250 units per hectare.73 Additionally, the rampant illegal construction of extensions in plots and the resulting problems of providing basic services have turned many of the formerly planned low-cost estates in Nairobi into slums. Particularly in light of the poor quality of housing, rents are high: Slum households pay on average a monthly rent of 790 Ksh (US$11), accounting for 12 per cent of the average monthly income.74 If Kenya’s Rent Restriction Act were applied effectively in Nairobi’s slums, “rents would decrease by 70 percent.”75 This “high cost low quality trap”76 allows landlords to make a 100 per cent (tax-free) return on rental investment in only three years.77

Provision of basic infrastructure services in Nairobi’s slums

Access to basic public services in Nairobi’s slums is far lower than Nairobi-level data suggests.78 Less than one-fifth of slum households have access to piped water (i.e., private in-house connections or yard taps).79 The vast majority of slum dwellers rely on water kiosks to buy water from private providers. By comparison, studies reporting data for Nairobi as a whole place the proportion of households with access to piped water at 71 per cent.80 The inequality in access to basic services also applies to electricity connections: One in five households in Nairobi’s slums (22 per cent) is connected to electricity and uses it as a lighting fuel. In contrast, in the city as a whole, 52 per cent have electricity connections.81 Despite the negative externalities of garbage, less than one in 100 slum households (0.9 per cent) is served by a publicly provided collection system. The vast majority of the households in informal settlements dispose of solid waste by dumping, burning, or burying it. On the level of Nairobi province, six per cent of the households are at least infrequently served by a publicly provided garbage collection system.82

Private service providers

Water kiosk owners, in particular, can earn high revenues. Like many other cities, Nairobi’s public network provides water below full-cost-recovery prices, justifying this by the importance of access to water for the poor. Slum households pay on average Ksh 100/m3 (US$1.33/m3) at water kiosks.83 This is eight times the price of the lowest tariff block for domestic connections.84 Thus slum households pay full-cost-recovery-level prices in contrast to residents of higher-income areas and water kiosk owners who obtain water from the public network. The exploitation of high rents is also possible because of the concentration of sales within a small number of kiosks.85 This suggests that public officials who control the entry to the water market restrict access to their clients and take the opportunity to extract bribes. In part the profits of kiosk owners are negated by the high costs of installing kiosks.86 Additionally, public officials capture some of the profit. Water vendors report that at least a quarter of their initial investment is in the form of bribes to facilitate a connection. Further-more, they are required to make on-going unofficial payments to utility officials in order to stay in business.87

However, the high price of water is also the result of rent seeking. Water vendors have reportedly taken advantage of temporary water shortages to make rapid profits. Usually these shortages are due to general problems at the utility. Nevertheless, artificial shortages are sometimes created through collusion with utility officials.88

Lessons learned

Informal settlements have a high degree of untapped potential for achieving city goals. This includes legal and financial regulations of service delivery mechanisms in the housing sector and provision of basic infrastructure services. This emphasizes the urgency of mapping informal settlements in efforts to bridge the fiscal gap while also ensuring social safeguards are met in cities.

In this regard, city leaders are encouraged to adopt youth-led innovative solutions, which can help meet basic necessities more efficiently. Despite cities having limited influence over some basic services due to privatization, city leaders need to create an enabling environment for private–public partnerships while also encouraging private investment in infrastructure and public services to achieve their existing goals.

  • 68. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Economic Survey (Nairobi, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2016).
  • 69. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Economic Survey (Nairobi, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2016).
  • 70. P. Amis, “Squatters or Tenants: The Commercialization of Unauthorized Housing in Nairobi,” World Development, vol. 12, no. 1, 1984, p. 88; P. Syagga, W. Mitullah, and S. Karirah-Gitau. Nairobi Situation Analyses Supplementary Study: A Rapid Economic Appraisal of Rents in Slums and Informal Settlements (Nairobi, Government of Kenya and UN-Habitat, 2001), p. 93.
  • 71. P. Amis, A Shanty Town of Tenants: The Commercialization of Unauthorized Housing in Nairobi 1960-1980 (Canterbury, University of Kent, 1983), p. 206.
  • 72. P. Syagga, W. Mitullah, and S. Karirah-Gitau, Nairobi Situation Analyses Supplementary Study: A Rapid Economic Appraisal of Rents in Slums and Informal Settlements (Nairobi, Government of Kenya and UN-Habitat, 2001), p. 96.
  • 73. P. Syagga, W. Mitullah, and S. Karirah-Gitau, Nairobi Situation Analyses Supplementary Study: A Rapid Economic Appraisal of Rents in Slums and Informal Settlements (Nairobi, Government of Kenya and UN-Habitat, 2001), p. 21.
  • 74. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), p.37.
  • 75. P. Syagga, W. Mitullah, and S. Karirah-Gitau, Nairobi Situation Analyses Supplementary Study: A Rapid Economic Appraisal of Rents in Slums and Informal Settlements (Nairobi, Government of Kenya and UN-Habitat, 2001), p. 5.
  • 76. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), p. 43.
  • 77. M. Huchzermeyer, “Slum Upgrading in Nairobi Within the Housing and Basic Services Market: A Housing Rights Concern,” Journal of Asian and African Studies (2008), p.30.
  • 78. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), pp. 49–53.
  • 79. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), p. 50.
  • 80. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and M. Kariuki, “Universal (Non)service? Water Markets, Household Demand and the Poor in Urban Kenya,” Urban Studies, vol. 42, no. 8 (2005), p. 1252.
  • 81. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), p. 51.
  • 82. Central Bureau of Statistics Kenya, Demographic and Health Survey. Available from http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pub_details.cfm?ID=462&ctry_id=20&SrchTp… (accessed 25 August 2008).
  • 83. S. Gulyani, D. Talukdar, and C. Potter, Inside Informality: Poverty, Jobs, Housing and Services in Nairobi’s Slums (Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2006), p. 50.
  • 84. S. Mehrotra, Rogues No More? Water Kiosk Operators Achieve Credibility in Kibera (Nairobi, World Bank, 2005), p. 6.
  • 85. S. Mehrotra, Rogues No More? Water Kiosk Operators Achieve Credibility in Kibera (Nairobi, World Bank, 2005), p. 7.
  • 86. S. Mehrotra, Rogues No More? Water Kiosk Operators Achieve Credibility in Kibera (Nairobi, World Bank, 2005), p. 5.
  • 87. S. Mehrotra, Rogues No More? Water Kiosk Operators Achieve Credibility in Kibera (Nairobi, World Bank, 2005), p. 7.
  • 88. S. Mehrotra, Rogues No More? Water Kiosk Operators Achieve Credibility in Kibera (Nairobi, World Bank, 2005), p. 7.

Youth as a force of innovation and production

Youth are at the forefront of change for a society, and their innovative ideas and energy can be a force for social and economic change. In cities, the youth are best positioned to take advantage of the economic benefits of urbanization, as cities create a pool of ideas, talent, and activities that drive innovation and social change. The sheer scale of cities increases the number of opportunities and creates an urban advantage that makes wealth generation and the pursuit of economic opportunities easier. By tapping into the economies of scale of cities, the inherent potential of youth can be leveraged to generate wealth and jobs. Youth today are migrating to cities because they provide the opportunities and resources for upward mobility that are not available in rural areas. The current challenge is to try and direct the economic power of cities to serve the needs of youth and ensure that the dividends from economic growth are equitably distributed.

Innovations result from entrepreneurship, and cities have all the essential elements for launch-ing a successful enterprise: a dense network of consumers and labor, a surplus of goods and services, infrastructure, and institutions.

There are significant benefits to promoting entrepreneurship among youth beyond the creation of economic opportunities for the unemployed. From a social perspective, entrepreneurship addresses some of the socio–psychological problems and criminal activity that result from unemployment. Entrepreneurship also re-integrates marginalized and disaffected youth into the economic main-stream of their cities; youth who were previously forced into the margins of society gain a sense of meaning, self-worth, and belonging.

From an economic perspective, youth entrepreneurs are dynamic; they learn and adapt quickly. As a result, they deliver a large number of independent experiments on how to do business. In areas with higher startup rates and entrepreneurial culture, economic resources are used more efficiently and economic growth is higher.

It is therefore essential to foster the creation of small and growing businesses, which create economic value and spur growth. Supporting youth, the fastest-growing and most dynamic population, to become entrepreneurs is the best means of achieving this goal. See Case Study 9 for an example of youth-led entrepreneur-ship that addresses a pressing urban challenge: collecting revenues.

Case study
9
:
MatQ, an innovative revenue collection system for Nairobi authorities

The Innovation Marketplace is aimed at harnessing three key dynamics in our world today: the growing number of young urban citizens, information and communications technology (ICT) proliferation, and the devolution process. UN-Habitat, in consultations with local authorities of participating counties, youth groups, and the private sector, identified collection of revenue from the public transport system as one of the most pressing urban challenges facing Kiambu County, Kenya. Various urban challenges were formulated into challenge statements, which were used to inform a two-day innovation “hackathon.” The “hackathon” aimed at getting youth and local government representatives to work together to identify ICT innovations to support local governance.

MatQ, a digital queue management and revenue collection system, was selected as the winning innovation. The innovation aims to improve the transport system for Kiambu County, which is crucial given the millions of residents residing in the county but working in Nairobi. MatQ provides an accountable revenue collection system for the local authority, in contrast to the ineffective analog terminal management and fee collection vulnerable to manipulation by route managers and drivers. The operationalization of the system involves the following: A Matatu (a privately owned public service vehicle) checks in its designated terminal and the route manager, through the system, queues it. Depending on the number of check-ins, each Matatu is supposed to pay a fee to the route manager (as stipulated in the municipality’s by-laws) and remit the amount collected to the respective Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO).89 The SACCO in turn remits tax to the local authority. Through the app, the Kiambu residents are able to locate their favorite Matatus, book seats, and view their locations in real time.

Lessons learned

Cities need to provide public services more efficiently while at the same time supporting sustainable and long-term economic growth. The latest thinking suggests that the best way to do this is by becoming “smart.” This generally means using new technology (mainly information and communication technologies) and data to improve service delivery and address various economic, social, and environmental challenges.

MatQ illustrates the innovative power of youth and can be defined as a smart mechanism that can be leveraged to improve efficiency of financial flows, strengthen accountability systems, and improve service delivery in municipalities. Such interventions could potentially transform how city inhabitants live, play, and do business. City authorities benefit most when they integrate such initiatives within their existing economic development and public service plans and identify how new technologies can help them achieve their goals.

  • 89. A Savings and Credit Cooperative Society (SACCO) is a member-owned financial cooperative whose primary objective is to mobilize savings and afford members access to loans (productive and provident) on competitive terms as a way of enhancing their socio-economic well-being.

Need for youth empowerment as an enabler of municipal financing

Evidently, it is imperative for local authorities and other relevant stakeholders to consider the needs of young people with an aim to not only generate revenue and expenditure in their municipalities, but also to empower them as enablers of financing. Young people have raw entrepreneurial talent, but launch-ing and building a successful business that can add economic value requires technical skills, knowledge, networks, and resources that many youth do not have access to. It is therefore essential to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes a thriving entrepreneurial culture that can drive innovation, production, and employment. There are three essential elements to creating this ecosystem: strengthening education-al systems with a focus on entrepreneurship training; developing a supportive and enabling environment that makes it easier to launch a business, particularly via financing businesses owned and operated by youth; and strengthening accountability within systems.

Access to credit and capital alone is far from sufficient to leverage the opportunities of youth-owned businesses. Youth entrepreneurs must develop the skills to run modern, sustainable businesses that can compete and grow in a competitive environment. Formal training in such areas as business plan development, management, financial management, and opportunity identification and capitalization provide the foundation for launching and growing successful enterprises. Education programs also need to focus on transferable and marketable entrepreneurial skills that can be directed towards the creation of new and small businesses that leverage the benefits of the urban economy.

It is also essential to create an enabling environment with rules, policies, and regulations that make it easier for youth to launch businesses. These policies should include implementing legislation to encourage young entrepreneurs to become involved in social and economic development and increasing the ease of doing business through easier business registration and set-up processes. A youth-centric regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation and experimentation with low discovery costs is essential.

In addition, youth entrepreneurs lack the collateral to obtain loans and are usually unable to obtain anything more than microfinance loans, which may not be sufficient to meet the needs of a new and growing business. The lack of long-term business histories, which are often required by risk-averse creditors seeking to make loans or investments, acts as a further significant barrier keeping youth from launch-ing businesses. Access to financing for youth entrepreneurs needs to be expanded, and government-sup-ported capital is needed to supplement private sources of funding. Investing capital in new and innovative youth-owned businesses could also have a multiplier effect on development.

Transparent and accountable municipalities through youth mainstreaming

Governance determines how efficiently costs are shared throughout the metropolitan area, how service delivery is coordinated across local government boundaries, how effectively local residents and businesses can access governments and influence their decisions, how accountable local governments are to their citizens, and how responsive they are to their demands. It is therefore evident that for a city to succeed economically and socially, youth should be mainstreamed. In other words, owing to their multi-disciplinary and trans-sectoral nature, youth should be considered and integrated into all programmes and initiatives (see Figure C).

Figure
C
:
Youth mainstreaming
Figure C

This means building social accountability mechanisms at city levels where citizens and civil society, particularly the poorest and most marginalized, play a decisive and formal role in the monitoring and accountability system. This relates well with the youth in cities. In doing so, leaders will be giving a voice to those traditionally excluded from development processes whilst strengthening government’s own monitoring efforts, especially when addressing gaps in the implementation of policy affecting youth. To achieve institutionalized youth mainstreaming, city leaders should consider practices that are youth specific and that address and are responsive to specific youth needs (see Box 2) in achieving transparent and accountable mechanisms.

Youth entrepreneurs lack the collateral to obtain loans and are usually unable to obtain anything more than microfinance loans, which may not be sufficient to meet the needs of a new and growing business.

Box
2
:
Youth-specific practices for achieving institutionalized youth mainstreaming

  • Enact policies and practices that support youths’ ability to realize their duties, rights, and access to services as citizens.
  • Ensure effective legal and judicial systems address youth status and protections under the law.
  • Ensure public expenditures reflect governments’ explicit youth goals and target high-quality services for all citizens.
  • Design structures and implement process-es that ensure the effective participation of youth in governance, and that ensure political decision-making processes include youth in critical numbers in key institutions (e.g., parliaments and local governments).
  • Ensure delivery of services in key sectors enhances participatory and transparent decision-making, institutional accountability, and responsiveness to youth-specific needs.
  • Set up youth-specific monitoring and evaluation systems.

Conclusion

The implementation of sound and inclusive municipal finance is crucial for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in cities and the NUA. Transparent, effective municipal finance will be the source for financing for SDG 11 and the NUA.90 In the same vein, it is para-mount to recognize that cities’ often-marginalized groups are key drivers of the urban economy, and are essential for effective finance and implementation of sustainable urban growth.

Urbanization offers the potential to improve people’s lives but, with inadequate urban management, based on inaccurate or biased perceptions, opportunity can become mischance.91 In order to fulfil the potential of urbanization, is it paramount to pursue socially inclusive strategies that reduce alienation and exclusion and pave the way for empowerment and engagement of all social groups, particularly the most marginalized. These efforts will be the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda as it promotes the right and ability of every individual to influence and/or participate in the decisions that affect their lives.92

Human rights are inherent to all human beings and are designed to protect the human values of freedom, equality, and dignity. City leaders can address capacity gaps and ensure that their deci-sion-making contributes to sustainable and inclusive urbanization processes by applying the Human Rights–Based Approach (HRBA).

A participatory approach to the distribution of public spending has benefits such as increased relevance of financial instruments, increased sense of public ownership, and increased likelihood that communities will protect and maintain products built or installed. Municipal finance should be transparent, participatory, and human rights–based. Financing strategies, fiscal policies, tax systems, subsidies, development plans, and budgets should benefit the poorest and most marginalized, and should be the product of transparent and participatory processes. They should also be supported by laws that protect human rights, including in the economic sphere, and by public institutions that are non-discriminatory, inclusive, participatory, and accountable for financial policies and strategies.

It is also paramount to recognize that women’s livelihoods are key drivers of the urban economy, and are essential to the implementation of sustainable urban growth. Women’s participation in the labour force is proportionally higher in urban centers, as compared with rural areas. Therefore, developing a productive and inclusive urban economy supports national growth and financing mechanisms.

  • 90. UN-Habitat, World Cities Report 2016 (Nairobi, UN-Habitat, 2016).
  • 91. UNFPA, State of the World Population 2007: Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth (New York, UNFPA, 2007).
  • 92. M. Kaldor, Our Global Institutions Are Not Fit for Purpose. It’s Time for Reform (London, World Economic Forum, 2016).
Suburbs around Quito, Ecuador

As a means to promote transparency and people’s ownership of the development process, GRB initiatives provide a way of assessing the impact of government revenue and expenditure on women and men, girls and boys. These initiatives can help to improve economic governance and financial management, and provide feedback and data to government on whether it is meeting the needs of different groups. As a result, GRB initiatives provide information that allows for better decision-making on how policies and priorities should be revised in order to achieve SDG 1, 5, 11, and 1693 and fulfil the commitments of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979)94 and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995).95

Moreover, it is evident that youth are a valuable asset in achieving resilient and sustainable cities. Investing in youth will help finance the ever-increasing demand for public services, new public infrastructure, and its maintenance. Cities’ economic and social growth is buttressed by young people’s ability to provide sustainable solutions to existing urban challenges. In this regard, empowering young people to hold governments accountable is one of the most important means of implementation of an agenda that “leaves no one behind.”

If the above recommendations are taken into consideration by city leaders, then municipal governments will not only invest in revenue-generating systems and solutions, but also improve the living conditions of all city inhabitants through the three arms of the NUA: urban regulations, urban planning, and urban finance.

It is crucial for city leaders to craft policies that are informed by a commitment to human rights, gender equality, and youth empowerment. Doing so will help fulfil the 2030 Agenda and ensure the inclusion of all urban residents as contributors and beneficiaries of urban life and the urban economy.