Geneva 13 July 2016-- A two-day conference “The City Prosperity Initiative for Metropolitan Cities: municipal finance and urban economy” was recently held at the UN Headquarters, Palais des Nations in Geneva. The event, which saw presentations by various international experts, was jointly organized by International City Leaders (ICL) and UN-Habitat, with the support of City Bank of Iran.

“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, as will 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; a tri-party agreement between UN-Habitat, ICL and City Bank of Iran, to support the implementation of the 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. The Global Fund will be one of the most significant programs that ICL, UN-Habitat and City Bank of Iran created within the CPI-MC framework. It will create financial opportunities to address the main challenges cities are facing.

While introducing the City Prosperity Initiative, Mr. 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 induce transformative change in cities”. He highlighted how it can assist cities in achieving shared prosperity. “We understand that cities can be the solutions and a platform to fundamental change. Through the fund, we can enhance the use of public and private investments in new innovative ways, to provide financial solutions and support in the implementation of a more sustainable and efficient urban development”. Mr. 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. }

President of City Bank of Iran, Dr. Mohammed Hossein Pourzarandi stressed the role City Bank plays as a financial organization, which merges social, cultural and environmental approaches to materialize urban sustainability. He discussed the bank’s collaboration with UN-Habitat and ICL as a key regional partner of the City Prosperity Initiative-Metropolitan Cities (CPI-MC) in West Asia and North Africa.

Participants discussed the legal and institutional modalities for the creation of the CPI-MC Global Fund. UN-Habitat, ICL and City Bank of Iran agreed to meet again for further discussions on the general objectives and structure of this fund during the PrepCom3 in Surabaya, Indonesia.