Municipal finance: First reactions on the New Urban Agenda ‘zero draft’

How does the Habitat III draft strategy address issues of municipal finance?


Friday’s release of the first draft of the New Urban Agenda has generated a flood of immediate reactions from close observers of the process who have reached out to Citiscope to offer their feedback. We have collated them in a series under some of the key themes that will come up during the first round of Habitat III negotiations on the document, beginning next week at U. N. Headquarters.

Can’t make it to New York but want to have your say in the conversation? Join the discussion in the Urban Dialogues online forum on the zero draft until 23 May. Want to share your thoughts with Citiscope? Email gscruggs [at] or cbiron [at] citiscope. org.

[See: U. N. issues draft New Urban Agenda, aiming for ‘actionable’ document]

“We applaud the attention to sustainable finance systems. Municipal fiscal health will be foundational both in terms of the infrastructure required to improve quality of life and the ongoing provision of basic city services.

More responses to the New Urban Agenda ‘zero draft’

Municipal finance


Local government

National urban policies


What’s missing

“Broadening the framework and embracing innovation will also well serve the future of global cities. Land-based financing mechanisms based in the concept of value capture or value sharing are a recognition of the way that public investments and government actions lead to increased land and property values. Innovation is also clearly needed in the area of climate finance, which was appropriate to be called out distinctly. “The commitment to sub-national fiscal policies allows for the local administration of the property tax, a stable and democratic source of revenue for all cities.

— Armando Carbonnell, senior fellow, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

“As one of our major concerns is the financing of the growing urbanization and of New Urban Agenda, we urge a more ambitious call in the Quito Declaration to multilateral organization, financial institutions and development banks to explore how to develop a specific initiative for financing urban infrastructures and essential services to respond to the dramatic needs in the coming decades. This initiative should complete the engagements taken in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, where the massive investments needed to face urbanization challenges are hardly addressed. We are ready to take our part in this initiative.”

— Emilia Saíz, spokesperson, Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments

[See: New solutions to close the gap on municipal finance]

“On the issue of budgeting, we are concerned with the omission of gender because it is the key to achieving equality — on which there are international guidelines that were recognized in previous declarations. Such is the case of the application of the paradigm established in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, based on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

“On the issue of the budget for the advancement of equality between women and men, this Agenda points out a very comprehensive set of guidelines on the matter, from which we selected the following: reiterate the need to incorporate a gender perspective, including measures and investments for specific purposes in the formulation and implementation of all social, economic, financial and environmental policies will increase transparency and equal participation in the budgeting process, and promote the development of budgets with a gender perspective and monitoring. We urge countries to track and report on resource allocations for gender equality and empowerment of women.”

— Magdalena Garcia, Mujeres Iberoamericanas en Red por la Igualdad Presupuestal entre Mujeres y Hombres (MIRA)

[See: Can the New Urban Agenda fundamentally transform gender relations?]

“We support this draft’s reference to ‘internalization of externalities as a driver of behavioural change.’ However, it fails to specify a framework for identifying the types of externalities, their system-­wide impact and appropriate interventions to address them. There should be a reference to ecological tax reforms, amongst others. Paragraph 72 can further be strengthened by specifying the importance for changing the behavioural patterns of the private sector.”

— Hirotaka Koike, U. N. Major Group for Children and Youth    

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