The central objective of the European Community's development co-operation policy is poverty reduction and ultimately its eradication, through sustainable development and the progressive integration of Third World countries into the global economy. In this context, a co-operation framework needs to be tailored to the individual circumstances of each country. This can be achieved by identifying strategies that provide links, in practical ways, with how development programmes are formulated and run. There is also a need to promote local ownership and social reform, the integration of the private sector and civil society into the urban development process. These are the main objectives of sustainable urban development.

These Guidelines for the European Union's Sustainable Urban Development Co-operation represent and important step in efforts to improve conditions in towns and cities. European Union partners in Third World countries confront these issues critically.

The Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Expert Group on Urban Development from Member States and the Urban Development Reference Group of the European Commission. They give emphasis to the need for responsive, participatory and transparent urban governance and effective and efficient urban management.

The Guidelines provide practical advice to practitioners involved in the process of urban development, within third World countries. Practitioners include professional staff of the European Commission headquarters and delegations and their consultants, as well as staff of partner country organisations.

The basic objectives of the Guidelines are to provide a framework for effective support for urban development and to create sectoral projects in urban areas to improve their overall performance and impact. The guidelines demonstrate that investment of co-operation funds in urban development can contribute effectively to both, urban and national development. Similarly, co-operation in sectoral projects, such as transport, water and sanitation, within towns and cities can have a greater impact on a wider scale than just one of the sectors. Moreover, by following the guidelines for the formulation and appraisal of urban and sectoral projects, implementation, monitoring and evaluation become easier to undertake.

Sustainable urbanization is a dynamic multi-dimensional process covering environmental as well as social, economic and political-institutional sustainability. It embraces relationships between all human settlements, from small urban centers to metropolises, and between towns and cities and their surrounding rural areas. In this document, the main challenges to achieving sustainable urbanization are identified and recent experiences of promising approaches to planning and managing urban areas reviewed. These demonstrate a range of ways in which urbanization can contribute to sustainable development.

This reference manual highlights the potential contribution of sound urban-environment management to both environmental and development goals, or in the words of the Brundtland Commission, to development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". It suggests that improving environmental management can contribute directly to better living conditions, notably for the poorest, while stimulating balanced socio-economic development in urban centres, peri-urban areas and surrounding regions.

The manual aims to not only to provide advice for development co-operation agencies and their counterparts in partners' countries in their efforts to address urban environmental problems, it also highlights the environmental roles and responsibilities of many other actors. Good governance lies at the centre of more effective responses to urban environmental problems, city and municipal authorities, citizens and their community-based organisations, the private sector and NGOs have key roles too.

This paper sets out the central role that well-governed and managed cities and towns can play in reducing poverty. The key message is that achievement of the International Development Targets will depend in part on the development of strategies which recognise the important role played by cities and towns in strengthening poor people's capacity to improve their socio-economic and political conditions. It underlies the need to address the particular characteristics of urban poverty which can constrain these opportunities.

Prepared by the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) with the support of the International Institute of Environment and Development and Environ (Trust) and UK Department for International Development (DFID), this document draws on the experience of member states, to clarify specific development goals included in the Habitat Agenda and to explore practical responses to these challenges within Commonwealth member countries. These goals, enriched by Commonwealth contributions towards their achievement, have been encapsulated in this Commonwealth Development Framework for Human Settlements as signposts to success.

At an historic meeting held in Nairobi in May 1999, the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) instigated an innovative approach to implementing the Habitat Agenda by setting up the Commonwealth Consultative Group on Human Settlements (CCGHS). The CCGHS will work through practical, hands-on approaches to providing shelter and improving human settlements by:

  1. identifying areas for action
  2. creating innovative and effective partnership arrangements to allow implementation of priority actions
  3. monitoring and gauging progress; and
  4. targeting new, and redirection of existing resources, in support of the objects of the Habitat Agenda

Link to the Commonwealth Consultative Group on the Environment (CCGE)


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