Investing in Sustainable Cities

Reporting from Habitat III, Quito

After going through the accreditation process to access the Habitat III conference, we hadan exciting and full day of events waiting ahead. The first Side Event in which I Am My City participated on Monday 17th October was key for our views for developing and financing projects that will provide sustainable cities. As cities are emerging as very important players in sustainability and growth discussions, the urban SDG11 includes specific sustainability targets for urbanization, ensuring provision of basic services to all, the efficient use of natural resources and the reduction of the carbon footprint, among others. To reach the targets of SDG11 it is vital to think how to finance projects and develop  cities more sustainably.

The side event Investing in Sustainable Cities: Challenges and Opportunities was organized by the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) a consortium of 23 national, bilateral and regional development banks from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America aiming to mobilize a wide range of resources at both international and domestic levels, through the promotion of public-private partnerships and the advancement of joint financing endeavors, providing partial risk coverage and other cost reduction mechanisms to help attract private capital to sustainable urban projects.

It was really interesting to listen that there is a large funding gap in the urban development sector. Global demand for infrastructure development is enormous, exceeding some US$ 5 trillion annually under current growth projections. This large funding gap cannot be met by public spending alone. This is the reason why the consortium works on financing projects for urban planning and effective land use, service delivery, infrastructure management and the promotion of clean and sustainable technologies, however, always under the umbrella of inclusive urbanization.

The key quote of the event has to do with the importance of local interventions:

“Cities are more accountable for their own development when the funds for are raised locally, rather than at the national level”

Let’s close this post by reading this statement twice.