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Friday, September 4 • 11:00 - 13:00
Governing With The Citizen: Transparent Cities and Accountable Local Governments in an Urbanizing World

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Our world is becoming increasingly urban and data is staggering, by 2050 about 75% of the population will live in cities and it is estimated that most urbanites will be concentrated only in about 600 cities; when nearly 3 of each 4 will be located in developing economies. Cities already account for 60% of the world’s GDP and growing...Urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented speed and pace in the developing world, but it is also happening within a context of weak institutional and governance structures. As a result, certain sectors and services such as infrastructure development, health or education are often prone to corruption, misappropriation and, even worse on terms of quantity: inefficiency.
It is often perceived that local decision-making is at the risk of being captured by special interests, but it is also a fact that local governments are closer to the citizen, and opportunities to control and monitor local spending are often higher at the local level.
Local governments bear the responsibility of ensuring the quality of life of their citizens, but they are also increasingly responsible to respond to the people’s demands for transparency and accountability in managing the city. In the world of today, governing without the citizen is becoming nearly impossible.
But local governments need also help on to face this new challenge too, as many do not have the capacities, resources or legal tools to effectively respond to the citizen’s demand for increased participation in the city matters.
The general perception amongst the development community that local government officers are all corrupt is also not helping a new generation of young and committed local government officers to fight historically and culturally accepted behaviors. Citizens should also help their governments to function better, by checking, controlling and requesting increasing access to information, but the final result of the process should not be to build the necessary trust, as, without trust, govern is difficult, inefficient, if not impossible.
Worldwide, many mayors and governors are battling to establish a new culture of openness and efficiency in the management of their cities. One of the special areas of concern is the procurement of services by municipalities, especially in areas where high technical capacity is needed. The increase of transparency on the negotiations and implementation of Public-Private-Partnerships and the need to include the citizen in the management of basic urban services is, today, a requirement more and more necessary as the provision of basic services is key to battle urban poverty and to ensure universal access and basic quality for the more disadvantaged inhabitants of the city. The other key area is, of course, the construction sector, with specific reference to the long-term consequences that the change in land use from rural to urban has on the future shape of the city. Urban planning and licensing is particularly sensitive to corruption and a new approach to this problem needs to be provided.

The main objectives of the proposed event are:

1. To highlight innovative measures that some local governments are experimenting to improve transparency and accountability in the field of urban planning and the provision of basic services while ensuring access, quality affordability and safety in the provision of basic services, on one side, and the control over the speculative physical development of the city.

2. To discuss how national legislation and policy can influence the local level and what role civil society and the private sector can and should be to help enhance accountability and integrity

The session is co-organized by UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlement Program) and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Session Sub-themes
A. Informality and service delivery: Robbing the poor of the urban advantage
B. Building urban futures: how to protect the public space in accelerated urbanization processes.
C. The cost of municipal inefficiency versus the cost of corruption. Adequate legislation and appropriate multi-level governance.
D. Contracting out: the risk of public-private-partnerships in a technologically changing world

The session is co-organized by UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlement Program) and UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

avatar for Huguette Labelle

Huguette Labelle

Former Chair, Expert Advisor Policy & Development, Individual Member
Huguette Labelle is the former Chair of the Board of Transparency International, member of the Board of the UN Global Compact, member of the Group of External Advisors on the World Bank Governance and Anti-corruption Strategy, member of the Advisory Group to the Asian Development Bank on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, member of the Executive Board... Read More →


Mayor Murat Aydin

Mayor, Municipality Of Zeytinburnu


Mayor, Municipality Of Abra De Ilog, Mindoro Occidental
I'm a lawyer, former prosecutor and in my third term as mayor of a 2nd class municipality, with almost 40% Indigenous People Population, on an island 5 hours from Manila (including a 2 hour ferry ride). Reducing poverty, malnutrition, improving delivery of basic services and health... Read More →

Clara Mvogo

Mayor, Monrovia City Government

Session Coordinators
avatar for Diana Lopez Caramazana

Diana Lopez Caramazana

Head, Local Government Unit, Un-Habitat, United Nations Human Settlements Progr
I have been dedicated to issues related to local governance and the role of local governments in international development since 1997 when I entered the UN System as information manager at the International Labour Organisation – ILO, providing expertise on local economic development... Read More →


Dieter Zinnbauer

Research, Transparency International - Secretariat

Friday September 4, 2015 11:00 - 13:00 GMT+08
Hall 6

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