Geneva, July 5 & 6, 2016
A two-day conference on Municipal Finance and Urban Economy was held at the UN Headquarters, Palais des Nations, and MIE2, Geneva. The event, which saw presentations by various international experts, was jointly organized by International City Leaders (ICL) and UN-Habitat.
“Urban economy and municipal finance is one of the three basic principles of the approach to productive urbanization, alongside a strong legal and regulatory framework and good urban planning and design”, said Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, via his video address . He reiterated the continued dialogue on municipal financing in achieving sustainable development, in particular as there is a global focus on the role cities play in sustainable futures to be discussed as part of the new urban agenda at Habitat III.
The main objectives of the conference were to discuss innovative municipal finance mechanisms and the consolidation of contemporary expert opinions on the subject. One key objective was to discuss the CPI-MC Global Fund; as an agreement between UN-Habitat, ICL , to support the UN-Habitat City Prosperity Initiative- Metropolitan Cities (CPI-MC).
In his opening address, Mr. Reza Pourvaziry, President of International City Leaders (ICL), stressed the need for finding sustainable resources as key in achieving sustainable development. One of the most significant programs that [ICL, UN-Habitat created within the CPI-MC framework is a Global Fund, which creates opportunities to address the problems in cities.
The gathering engaged international urbanists and financial experts in discussions on municipal finance methodologies and infrastructure solutions, data management, global municipal finance networks, governance and transparency. As one of the key speakers, Dr. Marco Kamiya of UN-Habitat’s Urban Economy and Finance Branch outlined the significance of urban growth, the inefficiencies in cities, the need for financing infrastructure and incoherent intra-governmental mechanisms in investments. While introducing the City Prosperity Initiative, Dr. Eduardo Lopez Moreno, UN-Habitat’s Head of Research and Capacity Building, welcomed the CPI-MC Global Fund, stating how he believed “the fund can help us to mobilize change” and highlighted how it can assist cities in achieving true prosperity. “We understand that cities are fundamental to solutions and a platform to fundamental changes. Through the fund, we can change the equation that is not only public finance, but also fundamental solutions associated with the way urban development could be addressed by the financial perspective”.
The conference braved the theoretical discussions and took it to an executive phase, details of which will be announced at a later date.