At the nexus of the interaction between climate change and human livelihoods lies an opportunity for adaptive and resilient planning. Cities face some of the highest risk levels in the face of worsening climate change impacts. Urbanization is increasing around the world, creating new vectors of vulnerability and exposure to climate hazards. This is especially true in rapidly growing unplanned and informal settlements, in low to middle income countries with low adaptive capacity.
The IncluCity initiative aims to address this with tools to combat poverty, empower vulnerable groups, and fortify community resilience in urban areas. Strengthening economic outcomes and equalizing opportunities is a valuable way to ensure climate impacts will not inordinately affect the poorest members of society.
A City Score Card as well as an Inclusivity Index have been developed by the IncluCity Program. These assessment techniques are being piloted in three countries, and will continue to be revised and improved as monitoring and evaluation for the projects progresses. These build on the UNCDF’s experience in inclusive local finance and development. By using qualitative and quantitative methodology, a more comprehensive understanding of the problems facing cities can serve as a guide for investments going into the future.
The City Score Card is used to rank cities based on inclusion criteria, and provide guidance to municipalities for bridging the gap between inclusion goals and finance agenda. Criteria areas are basic needs, economic inclusion, social inclusion, security and justice, consultative integrated planning and budgeting, and city leadership and management. Beyond these categories are further indicators, which assess the equality, opportunity, safety, and infrastructure of a city to determine where it stands in terms of inclusion of all groups. This can help identify cities, municipalities, and slum settlements that are most in need of a revamped inclusion agenda, as well as strengthen local leadership and plans.
The Inclusivity Index is used for the ranking and selection of municipal investment projects based on priorities and benefits for marginalized groups. This index design aims to learn from the shortcomings of past metrics and eliminate assessment gaps. The criteria areas are participation, location and design, social benefits, economic benefits, and sector-wise inclusion (water and sanitation systems, transport systems, etc.). Under each of these themes are more indicators, which holistically assess the level at which individual project proposals include marginalized voices and needs. This is the first tool of its kind to combine investment and inclusion objectives, and can help a municipality determine where to invest their funds.
Projects and workshops utilizing these tools are currently being executed in Uganda, Senegal, and Bangladesh. The three municipal projects currently in progress were selected based on score card and index criteria after engagement with local leaders and fieldwork including semi structured interviews with marginalized community members. The projects consist of a water reservoir and solar lighting installation in a slum settlement, renovations to a fish market for female vendors, and construction of a marketplace for traditional artisans. The diversity of projects is indicative of the value of the tools in seeking out creative new ways to strengthen resilience to climate change, while also alleviating poverty. Additionally, workshops bring these tools to local leaders and community members to give them the power to be a major part of the program.
What comes next?
The value of these new tools going into the future is in the ability to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for the development sector using a ground-up approach. A source of failure for development projects is often a lack of consideration for the influence of local norms, and lack of foresight to design self-sustaining investments. By collaborating with the local population, these flaws are mitigated. This is crucial for the inclusion of women’s opinions and priorities, as well as other marginalized groups. By giving these groups the power to direct the nature of projects and oversee the management of them over the long term, they are inherently more self-sustaining. The motivation behind these tools is the idea that strengthening adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change begins with addressing the most vulnerable communities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).