Resilient and inclusive urban development

Project description

Title: Resilient and inclusive urban development (RIUD)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the special initiative ‘Energy and Climate Fund (EKF)’ sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Country: Bangladesh
Lead executing agency: Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives (MLGRD&C)
Overall term: 2015 to 2018

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Context
Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. It also has one of the highest rates of urbanisation in Asia, with an urban population that is expected to double to about 112 million by 2050. A significant factor in this will be rural-to-urban migration prompted by climate change. It is anticipated that the impacts of climate change will adversely affect people’s livelihoods and social support networks, while degrading natural habitats and agricultural land. The first, and in most cases final destination for the new urban poor in Bangladesh are the slums.

Due to the informal character of housing and life in the slums, with a lack of basic infrastructure and services, and only limited access to social, economic or political decision-making processes, the people who live there are ill-equipped to cope with the effects of climate change. The limited capacities of the city corporations and municipalities to respond effectively to this rapid urbanisation further increases the vulnerability to climate-related disasters and stress factors of the populations in urban settlements, both formal and informal. At the same time, decision-makers in the city administrations are still poorly informed about the dangers of unplanned urbanisation in combination with climate change, and the local government institutions are underfinanced for the task of building the resilience of their populations.

Objective
Selected cities are implementing measures, on their own initiative and with the active involvement of the poor population, to increase adaptive capacities in slum settlements.

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Approach
The project supports the administrations of two municipalities (Sirajganj and Satkhira) and three city corporations (Barisal, Khulna and Rajshahi). In each city it works closely with key stakeholders as well as the affected populations (slum dwellers, public representatives, city officials, civil society organisations and NGOs) to design and implement appropriate activities in two areas:

  • Support for community-based adaptation measures in selected poor areas. The project is cooperating with local citizens and community groups in an effort to enhance the decision-making and implementation capacities of urban local government institutions. It has responded to the need for an effective, easily understood tool that provides a joint platform for slum communities and city administrations by developing a two-stage participatory community development process. This should increase the proficiency with which slum communities and city administrations plan and conduct activities together, such as vulnerability mapping, prioritisation of development interventions and joint implementation planning. At the same time, the project raises awareness among decision-makers in local government institutions regarding the specific climate-related challenges faced by poor and marginalised people living in slums.
  • Strengthening the planning and management skills of city corporations and municipalities. The project carries out capacity development measures within the Local Government Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives. The aim is to improve the Division’s ability to support the budget, planning and administrative processes of the municipalities and city corporations, including the integration of climate-related measures, and the provision of basic services to the poor communities living in slums. The project also underpins the reform and operations of important bodies such as the standing committees of city corporations, and the coordination committees at town and municipality levels. To this end, it provides training for technical experts and management officials, both at the Local Government Division and in the local government institutions. It also assists relevant stakeholders at local and national levels in deriving benefit from the findings of dialogue forums and studies.

    The project supports capacity development measures in Barisal and Satkhira. These focus on climate-resilient disaster management, planning and preparedness; on water body management and planning to protect urban environments; and on planning operations and maintenance for physical and technical infrastructure in the two cities. Lessons learned from these activities will be shared with all five cities supported by the project.

Results achieved so far
Across the five partner cities, more than 16,800 residents of slum areas have now heard about the effects of climate change on their socio-economic situation. They are better aware of the threats from natural and manmade disasters and the need for disaster preparedness; they understand climate migration issues, the role the city administrations play in their development, and the services provided by the respective administrations. The city administrations and slum communities have expressed interest in further awareness-raising activities addressing their specific local adaptation needs.

Through the participatory community development process, nearly 4,000 households in the cities of Rajshahi and Khulna have so far cooperated with their ward councillors and city administration officials to identify and prioritise the challenges they face as a consequence of climate change. As part of the process, more than 300 slum community representatives (women and men) were appointed to work with the public representatives. The process is now being extended into slum areas of the remaining three cities of the project. In the second step of the participatory process, two officials from each of the five project cities have received training as trainers. They now support representatives of the residents of 25 slums in developing interventions to address the main challenges identified at the earlier stage. This will include co-management of operations and maintenance

At the city level, the project has completed city-specific situation reports for two partner cities, allowing them a better understanding of their governance and financial situation. The other three will receive their reports during the first quarter of 2017. With the support of the project, the cities were able to identify their current institutional gaps, with respect to financial management and capacity development needs.

Two training courses for public representatives and city officials have been developed, in response to the partner cities’ needs. One addresses financial management for inclusive and climate-resilient urban development, while the other discusses ways of overcoming challenges to internal revenue mobilisation. So far 150 people in three cities have completed this training, with another 150 from the other two cities set to finish by mid-March 2017.

A training database is now available to all five cities, providing information on 21 relevant subjects taught at 136 technical and vocational training institutions in Dhaka as well as the project cities. These institutions have a combined annual enrolment capacity of almost 60,000. The database also includes information on the application process, course fees and financial assistance. This information will soon be made available to the slum communities through the information corners of the respective administration offices.

The creation of multi-purpose ‘Climate Change Adaptation Learning Centres,’ in offices of the five partner cities has encouraged close, regular interaction between the city administrations and the poor, urban communities. Public representatives and city officials use these centres to hold regular internal and external development coordination events. Local people and city officials can use the learning and reference materials available at the centres (e.g. municipal acts, government policies, educational materials on climate change adaptation). Multimedia facilities are also available, enabling the use of audio-visual training materials and educational films for self-teaching.

Contact

Hans-Joachim Hermann
hans-joachim.hermann@giz.de