Barcelona, 2 July 2014: Fifty international experts Met in Spain for a two-day meeting on “Urban Development Financing: the Challenges of Local Governments in Developing Countries”, organized by UN-Habitat with the support of the City of Barcelona
The overall purpose of the meeting was to better understand the key elements and processes needed for local authorities to effectively use the different financing mechanisms to implement city extension plans and urban development projects.
Participants at the meeting also discussed the political economy challenges facing urban authorities in developing countries in generating adequate revenues from within for financing regular services and urban development and solutions to these challenges, as well as the challenges local authorities are facing in the use of various mechanisms for mobilizing financial resources for urban development in developing countries and solutions to these challenges.
Representatives shared experiences on how to make public service provision more viable in peri-urban areas and smaller urban centers in developing countries. Cities like Harari, Barcelona, Bogota, Nairobi and Tel Aviv shared their experience in strategic and sustainable public financial management.
Speaking at the meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN-Habitat Executive Director, Dr Joan Clos, said: "There is no need for a financial plan to be complex; we simply have to look backwards to where cities were well managed in the past. The rules and regulations and financial plans, even buildings can be changed but the urban design never will. This is a crucial fact and will stay forever”. In addition to the discussions, experts in the field were invited to present papers and case studies. Participants heard presentations from: Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, Regents Professor of Economics and Director of the International Center for Public Policy at Georgia State University; Paul Smoke, Professor of Public Finance and Planning at New York University; Enid Slack, Professor and Director of the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto; and William Fox, Professor and Director of the Centre for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee.