Cities Alliance Welcomes DFID, UNICEF and the Ford Foundation to the Partnership

The Cities Alliance’s greatest asset is its unique blend of members, and our three new members highlight that diversity.

With strengthening the partnership one of the three main thematic areas in our new MTS, the Cities Alliance is delighted to announce that three new members have joined the partnership. The UK Department of International Development (DFID) has reengaged with the Cities Alliance, while UNICEF and the Ford Foundation have joined as associate members.

“The Cities Alliance’s greatest asset is its unique blend of members, and our three new members highlight that diversity,” said Cities Alliance Director William Cobbett. “Each one brings distinctive strengths that will help us all achieve our goals of sustainable cities and poverty reduction”.  

The official aid agency for the UK government, DFID has worked closely with the Cities Alliance in the past on successful projects such as the Slum Upgrading Facility (SUF) and the Community Led Infrastructure Financing Facility (CLIFF). It is currently placing a stronger focus on urban development in its programmes, in particular on how cities can reduce poverty as they grow and transform, and was attracted by the opportunity for knowledge sharing within the Cities Alliance.

“If we’re bothered about reducing poverty, we have to be bothered with cities,” said Tony Burdon, Head of Growth and Resilience at DFID. “The Cities Alliance is a big player in that space, and there is a lot we can learn from Cities Alliance members and partners.” Burdon noted that DFID is especially interested in the Cities Alliance’s activities on resilience and climate change.

One of the largest independent philanthropic organisations in the world, the Ford Foundation has been uniquely committed to promoting social justice for over 75 years. Through its Just Cities campaign, the foundation supports civil society organisations, social movement groups, practitioners, researchers, public and private sector partners, and other stakeholders to realise equitable, sustainable, and prosperous Global South cities. It focuses on the areas that are driving metropolitan growth, such as urban planning, housing and transportation infrastructure, and seeks to make that growth more socially inclusive.

UNICEF also brings a fresh voice to the Cities Alliance partnership. As the United Nations Children’s Fund, it is active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees.  With almost half of the world’s children living in urban areas – many in abject poverty – UNICEF is devoting more attention to issues surrounding poverty and inequality in cities. In its 2012 flagship report, The State of the World’s Children: Children in an Urban World, UNICEF called for more focused, accurate data to identify disparities among children in urban areas, and greater recognition of community-based efforts to tackle urban poverty – both areas the Cities Alliance is actively supporting.