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Collaborative Funding and Planning for a Just Transition

According to the United Nations, the number of people living in slums or other forms of informal settlements has now surged to over one billion, with 80 percent of them residing in three regions: Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (370 million), sub-Saharan Africa (238 million), and Central and Southern Asia (227 million). In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the latest SDG Global Business Forum by United Nations Global Compact has addressed the issue of urban populations as a precondition for sustainable urban development.


Ensuring access to basic infrastructure and housing is critical, as it promotes justice that stands as an integral part of improving and maintaining overall urban livability. In essence, cities should strive to become water-secure, climate-resilient, and socially equitable to bring about a livable city for all residents. This urgent aspect not only affects urban populations but also contains widespread consequences for the rest of the world. The impact of water scarcity and climate change pose serious threats to urban habitats, leading to the exacerbation of inequality for those in low-income groups. Tackling these challenges to accomplish the goals hence requires well-planned and adequately funded policies. As many cities remain unable to provide necessary services to all citizens due to funding constraints, this results in rising inequality among the urban populations.


Only through the collaborative efforts of a multi-partnership framework where all stakeholders work toward a common objective can our transformational goals become reality. Effective planning and management will be ensured by strong government institutions, rules, laws, and transparent procedures for monitoring and regulating the service supply. This process should also incorporate innovation and attract private sector investment into infrastructure projects. Local governments play a vital role and should be supported by national governments and the international community to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Strengthening local authorities will ultimately help them shape and develop projects that allow the private sector to collaborate, both in terms of financing and contributing to research for further enhancement.


The Gap Fund, a climate finance initiative, is paving the way for cities to deliver ambitious infrastructure development for crafting livable urban surroundings. The Gap Fund will support projects in cities within low- and middle-income countries. A collaboration between the German Government and the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, in partnership with other major players in the climate finance arena, was formed to leverage interventions in urban planning and financial management. Its primary aim is to minimize cities’ carbon footprint and thrive in climate change resilience by providing early-stage project preparation support for investments that are compatible with limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The fund includes but is not limited to investments in energy efficiency, local renewable energy, sustainable mobility, wastewater, and water management. The fund also encourages climate change adaptation activities to reinforce resilience. Moreover, projects endorsed by the Gap Fund will yield secondary social and environmental benefits. These entail improvements in quality of life, cleaner air, enriched public health, social inclusion, advancement in the circular economy, and job creation.

To maximize our endeavors in achieving sustainable goals, we must immediately address and implement transformative collaborations to cope with funding challenges in urban development. With decisive and coordinated actions, we can ensure a just transition toward water-secure, climate-resilient, and socially equitable cities.


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