[29 October 2015] -- Cities Alliance is delighted to announce that four new members have joined the partnership, including our first member in the Universities, Research Centres and Knowledge Networks category.
They are: AVSI Foundation, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as an Associate Member.
AVSI Foundation is an international not-for-profit NGO based in Milan, Italy. Its mission is to promote the dignity of the person through development cooperation activities according to the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
The Cities Alliance has had a relationship with AVSI for over 15 years. The foundation played a leading role in pioneering integrated slum upgrading programmes in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, which have been replicated in Mozambique with support from Cities Alliance.
AVSI’s main activity areas are education and social development, urban upgrading, healthcare, labour, agriculture, food security and water, energy and environment, humanitarian emergency, migrants and refugees.
It is involved in 107 cooperation projects in 30 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI is the world’s leading network of over 1,000 cities, towns and metropolises committed to building a sustainable future. It offers tools and services, advocacy, and knowledge resources on a range of topics: resilient city, smart city, and happy, healthy, inclusive communities.
ICLEI is essentially a network of networks. It facilitates city-to-city cooperation and thematic networks that bring together cities on key sustainability issues including water quality and quantity, renewable energy, and urban disaster risk reduction. It also helps build a network of leaders by connecting leaders of its respective member institutions with strategic alliances.
Cities Alliance has had an informal relationship with ICLEI for several years. Recently, the two organisations have begun to engage more concretely; ICLEI is a partner in our Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities, and the Cities Alliance was a supporting partner of ICLEI’s major Resilient Cities conference in June 2015.
ICLEI and Cities Alliance also collaborated in supporting global advocacy efforts on behalf of a standalone goal for cities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which resulted in the adoption of SDG 11 to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) is based at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It offers postgraduate education and training, advisory services and applied research in the field of urban management, housing and urban planning aimed at reducing poverty and improving the quality of life in cities.
IHS has worked with Cities Alliance for a number of years. It has trained hundreds of urban professionals in Ethiopia and Ghana, and was instrumental in establishing the Urban Management Course at the Ethiopian Civil Service University – the first course of its kind in Africa. Most recently, the institute participated in the Future Cities Africa Global Workshop held in Brussels in June 2015.
The institute is the first Cities Alliance member in the category of Universities, Research Centres and Knowledge Networks.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP is active in more than 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. It helps countries develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.
This is UNDP’s second time engaging with the Cities Alliance; it was an Associate Member from 1999 to 2003. The organisation’s current global Strategic Plan (2014-2017) identified urbanisation as one of the major trends influencing development, and it is becoming a greater area of focus. UNDP is developing a corporate strategy on urbanisation and refining the kind of support they offer to cities and local governments to make their development more sustainable and inclusive.
Cities Alliance and UNDP work on many of the same issues, so a partnership makes sense. A particularly important area of collaboration is the upcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016. UNDP is working closely with UN-Habitat, the Habitat III Secretariat, and the UN Task Team to support the conference, both in terms of the immediate logistical arrangements in Quito as well as the broader global mobilisation and momentum-building that is needed to make the process a success.