City Development Strategies in the Philippines: An Enabling Platform for Good Governance and Improving Service Delivery



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Scaling Up Participation of mayors and city officials are very effective in promoting CDS as planning and urban governance tool. Through workshops and other events, where CDS cities share their CDS experiences, more cities are indicating keen interest to go through the CDS process. The potential for covering the majority number of Philippine cities and expand the coverage of CDS is very high and a follow up project in this respect should be considered. Leadership Participation of city mayors in the CDS activities is crucial for success of CDS in each of the cities. Most cities under the project have mayors who participated in various workshops, training activities and knowledge sharing events. Also, it is important for new mayors and city officials to be oriented with the CDS. This is to help them appreciate and understand the process to ensure continuity of their cities’ CDS. Participation The CDS promotes wide stakeholder participation in city planning. The cities realize the benefit of bringing key stakeholders together in most aspects of city government operations. The result is easier forging of a consensus of development priorities and enlistment of support in implementing policies and programmes. Funding Institutions, Resources and CDS Funding institutions prefer to consider projects of cities that have undergone some form of city planning. The CDS is well-regarded by the funding institutions (eg. bilateral institutions) operating in the Philippines. CDS cities, therefore, are given better chances of obtaining support from these agencies, especially those that strive to develop project proposals emanating from their CDS. In fact, many CDS cities enjoy numerous assistance including grants for city programmes. Officials and staff of these CDS cities likewise get invited to attend various trainings from these funding agencies. Projects for which some resources are allocated by cities themselves are more likely to be implemented successfully. A stake by cities in programs is an important ingredient to realizing projects. For instance, cities themselves generating funding for the preparation of pre-investment studies are more likely to get funding for the implementation of these projects. In cases where cities are unable to do so, LCP can direct these cities to funding windows offering help for such pre-investment work. Harmonization of CDS with National Planning System The CDS approach should not be pursued in isolation. It is best carried out bearing in mind the overall planning system of the country. Cities that prepared CDS are still required to prepare the mandatory land use and development plans. Cities find this to be redundant and clamour for harmonizing planning processes that are facilitating for their development objectives. Thus, the efforts at integrating the CDS process into the national planning system will maximize the benefits of CDS and institutionalizing it will ensure that the cities will sustain the process. Partnership with Academic Institutions Partnering with academic institution is also vital in the institutionalization process. Because the capacity building efforts are supported through projects, sustaining such activities could be compromised when projects end. By engaging universities (in the Philippines case, making them ‘CDS Learning Center’), there is greater likelihood that the continuous training of city officials and staff is achieved. Capacity Building For CDS cities, the specific areas for capacity building include housing, financial management, disaster risk mitigation, transport planning and traffic management, urban environmental management and solid waste management.


Building on previous successful CDS1 and CDS2 initiatives in the Philippines, this project supported the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) to institutionalise CDS process across all cities in the country. The main objective was to enhance the strategic planning, governance and resource mobilization capabilities of Philippine cities. Around 15 cities participated and formulated their development strategies and 10 cities updated their strategies according to the new CDS methodology designed under the project. The project helped initiating dialogues on harmonizing and institutionalizing CDS processes in local and national planning frameworks. As a result, CDS was recognized as an effective tool for local development planning by cities as well as the national government of the Philippines.
The main objective is to enhance the strategic planning, governance and resource mobilization capabilities of Philippine cities as a contribution to economic growth and urban poverty reduction. It is expected that the previous successful CDS experiences (CDS1 and CDS2) will be expanded and consolidated in the country towards institutionalizing the participatory CDS approach in the national development planning agenda.
1) Strengthen CDS as an effective platform for promoting good governance and improving pro-poor service delivery;   2) Facilitate stronger urban poor involvement in the CDS process; 3) Strengthen outreach, networking and advocacy impact of CDSEA;  4) Enhance existing CDS Knowledg 1. Consolidating and Expanding CDS i) Business process re-engineering (BPR) of CDS methodology to strengthen the existing process as an effective platform for promoting good governance and improving pro-poor service delivery. ii) Up-scaling poverty-focused strategies to facilitate stronger urban poor involvement in the process. iii) Promote transparency across the entire CDS program iv) Based on the BPR, develop a well-structured Learning Program that will enhance the existing CDS Knowledge Sharing Network. v) Strengthen the outreach networking and advocacy impact of the CDSEA – online knowledge sharing platform vi) Develop tools required for enhancing the stakeholder’s participation 2. Facilitating LGU’s access to a broader range of financing options. i) Enhance local resource mobilization of CDS cities by strengthening the Capital Investment. ii) Strengthen the CIP and financial planning realized during the CDS exercise promote transparency and information disclosure using relevant e-governance tools, and expand knowledge on the local finance market. iii) Deliver workshops on transport and housing 3. Institutionalizing CDS in the Philippines and integrating the CDS into the national development process i) Strengthening the Mayor’s Consultative Committee (MCC) through conducting advocacy for integrating CDS into the national urban agenda 4. Provide operations support to LCP to implement capacity building activities for cities i) In the short-term, improve the operational capacity of LCP by establishing highly professional business operating unit that will implement the MCC’s CDS National Framework. ii) In the medium-term, build the capacity of the LCP secretariat. e Sharing Network;  5) Enhance local resource mobilisation of CDS cities;  6) Integrate CDS into national development planning; 7) Provide operations support to LCP to implement capacity building activities for cities.
Expected Impacts and Results
i) The business process engineering led to an enhanced CDS methodology, which was applied in developing the CDS of cities participating in the project. The cities are applying a set of benchmarks that allows a raking of cities. ii) A clear financial framework for cities is developed and capital investment plans are enhanced. iii) A business operating unit is established within LCP and the operational capacity of the League of Cities is strengthened. iv) As part of the institutionalization process, LCP has partnered with local academic institutions in order to establish the CDS Learning Centers that will help carry on the CDS activities beyond the project period