Addressing poverty, inequality and insecurity
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Addressing poverty, inequality and insecurity. Structure of my presentation. Insecurity, poverty and inequality – the scale and the nature Pro-poor politics and achieving safety and security

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Addressing poverty, inequality and insecurity

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Addressing poverty, inequality and insecurity

Structure of my presentation

  • Insecurity, poverty and inequality – the scale and the nature

  • Pro-poor politics and achieving safety and security

  • Three critical collective capabilities (by collective to include local govt., urban poor communities and interested professionals): vision, knowledge, accountability

1. Understanding the problem

  • How should we understand the problems of urban poverty and inequality

  • What is the nature of insecurity?

  • What are the complexities of urban disadvantage?

The urban challenge

Urban realities

Urban poverty

What is clear…

  • Est. 1 billion living in informal settlements

  • UN Habitat estimates that 62 per cent of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa live in informal settlements

  • Multiple forms of disadvantage…. In a context in which everything is commodified

Urban livelihoods

Per cent of nations’ non-agricultural employment in informal employment


And distance

Basic services

Lack of access to improved sanitation in urban areas - 1990 to 2010

  • Bangladesh 32 per cent 33 per cent

  • Burkina Faso 57 per cent 50 per cent

  • Colombia 21 per cent18 per cent

  • Ghana 88 per cent 81 per cent

  • India 49 per cent 42 per cent

  • Kenya 73 per cent 68 per cent

  • Nicaragua 41 per cent 37 per cent

  • Nigeria 61 per cent65 per cent

  • Uganda 68 per cent 66 per cent

    NOTE – definitions of improved and unimproved DO NOT CONSIDER DENSITY

    World Health Organization and UNICEF (2012)


Problems of low-lying land

  • the low elevation coastal zone accounts for only about 2 per cent of the world’s land area,

  • BUT about 10 per cent of the world’s population and 13 per cent of the world’s urban population live in the zone.

  • In terms of the regional distribution, Asia stands out, as it contains about three-quarters of the population in the zone and two-thirdsof the urban population


2. A pro-poor politics

  • Challenge clientelistpolitics through universalism

  • Establish and strengthen public legitimacy for the organized urban poor

  • Coproduction of services to demonstrate modalities of improvement AND protect autonomy (and address material needs)

  • Centre the process on women

  • Build relations with the City (city-wide) and link to national govt.

  • Strengthen political capabilities (collective and individual) – build institutions of learning (because politics is dynamic …)

Challenge clientelism with universalism

  • The problems with clientelism are acknowledged – partial, specific, reinforcing existing power relations, creating dependencies

  • Build city wide networks able to share information - and challenge particularity as a response to resource scarcity (eg. Kitwe )

  • Use Funds to establish the principle of universality – support for all with effective networks and alliance building – how to use resources to reach everyone (even in the longer term)

Secure legitimacy for the urban poor and recognition of their citizenship

  • Through profiles (9000) and 200 plus cities completed

  • Through enumerations (4000 settlements), maps (1000) and plans

  • Through savings and self-help

  • Through representations of partnership and collaboration

  • Through alliance building

  • Issues of rights and justice are critical to people’s perspectives but used cautiously. Why? Because they are used to marginalise, and the organized urban poor are cleverer than that – avoid the politics of contention.

  • Information helps to establish legitimacy

  • Networks and vision are criticalto the management of information

  • Same political effect as a demonstration can be realised by a collaborative event – with advantages to the urban poor

Co-production and alternative practice

  • Co-production used in many ways to refer to many practices

  • For SDI and ACHR/ACCA processes used to refer to joint planning, financing, implementation and evaluation – also used for joint policy making processes after the project finishes – create alternative practices

  • Also used to protect community autonomy – the co-productive processes designed to strengthen local organizations and contest individualised approaches eg. Toilet management

The central role of women

  • How to make a process inclusive ? – take the most disadvantaged and put them in the centre.

  • Idea is that if it works for this group, then it is more likely to work for others who are disadvantaged

  • Aspiration is that the relations that women build with each other will help to challenge dominant patterns of relationships. Leaders will be supportive rather than authoritative

  • Example of savings as an alternative practice

A city-wide vision

  • Universalism requires more than just a discourse of inclusion at the local level. It also requires a very different way of thinking about a planning process for the city.

  • How can all settlements be included ?

  • How can all income groups be included ?

  • How can landlord and tenants be included ?

  • How do micro-level actions add up to something that is more than the sum of the parts ?

  • Kitwe – 70-80,000 hhs in need of sanitation

3. Build political capabilities

The anti-thesis of

inclusive urban planning

  • No vision

  • No learning

  • No accountability

What does this add to? Reflections on collective capabilities…

  • New vision – central to a new urban planning and practice is a new vision of urban development.

  • New learning – reflection matters. Think of networks and federations as learning centres – places in which the urban poor can reflect and consolidate their experiences in new practices.

  • New accountabilities – not well understood but this does not mean that it is not important.

Which accountabilities (in the shift away from the particular) ?

  • Local council accountable to citizens for neglect (documented in enumerations and surveys)

  • Co-productive partners responsible for investments and costs to residents – information about what informal settlement upgrading really costs

  • Individual organizational leaders accountable to members for participating in network and making case

  • Network participants accountable to local organizations for sharing information and putting in place citywide plans

  • Network leaders accountable to local organizations for their communication with politicians

  • Politicians accountable to informed communities for their decisions

Finally from the global North ….

  • Agree values of inclusion and scale and support learning processes. Hold agencies accountable for this – taking risks, supporting organizations of the urban poor, metrics around inclusion (of those who are most disadvantage) and scale.

  • Flexibility is key – predetermine and you determine failure. Inclusive planning and practices require new kinds of political relations between organized low-income communities and the state.

  • Everything that works takes time.

Thank you ….

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