The Urban Social Forum comes to Surabaya

The Urban Social Forum (USF) is unlike any other urban forum. This forum was created by Kota Kita to provide an alternative space that negates formal mechanisms as we commonly see with government-type participation meetings. The event is actually a facilitating forum that is inclusive, democratic, and open for everyone to discuss a debate about what city they wish to see and live in. The first USF was conducted in 2013 and since then it has become an annual event that attracts hundreds of participants, NGOs and government officials. This forum is becoming more and more popular, as there is increasing awareness among people and the community to collaborate in developing solutions for current complex urban problems. Read more.

Bridging the gap for mainstreaming underprivileged children

According to the UNESCO EFA report, 1.4 million children between the ages of six to 11 are out of school in India, which is the fourth largest number in the world. As of November 2013, Bangalore had 26,000 out of school urban poor children living in dire conditions, not getting an education. Many of these underprivileged children are children of migrant parents who are involved in unorganized work, such as construction labor or rag pickers. This forces many children to take on household responsibilities like sibling care at a very early or labor work, which fundamentally impacts their education. Considering that migration to Bangalore is from parts of India where the mother tongue is different than Kannada, this internal migration impacts children the most.Read more.

Women’s participation for disaster risk reduction of vulnerable communities

In September 2015, United Nations (UN) member countries accepted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) put forth by UN. Ending poverty is one of the important priorities of the UN SDGs, which expresses poverty as not only lack of income and resources but also as the lack of participation in decision-making. Another goal about gender equality talks of providing equal opportunity to women through representation in decision-making processes. The current status vis-à-vis women’s participation in decision-making is minimal or negligible with India ranking 132 out of 187 countries on the gender inequality index. The situation exacerbates when one is concerned with vulnerable populations like informal urban settlements/slums. Read more.

Urbanization: An agenda of under-addressed insecurities

With the hype of urbanization, it's often easy to forget that this development is neither inherently positive nor negative; whichever direction it takes depends on the planning and governance underlying it. The following is a summary of major policy and planning issues to keep in mind. Read more.

Fighting plastic pollution and poverty through fair trade recycling

Did you know that by 2025 there is expected to be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea? Plastics For Change is taking an innovative approach to address this worldwide problem. The organization has developed a process using mobile technology to alleviate plastic pollution while creating dignified jobs to reduce extreme poverty in developing regions. Read more.

Why Africa needs to look to its cities to end hunger

Last year, the African Union—an assembly of 54 African nations—formally committed to ending hunger in Africa by 2025. This is incredibly ambitious, considering one out of every four people in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished. Read more.

Whose land is it anyway? The failure of land law reform in Kenya

Land is a "key fault line" in Kenya. Throughout East Africa, land reform has failed to confront the material consequences of unequal access. Since the 1990s, law reform has been the favoured means of addressing contentious land issues. Bilateral and multilateral donors have promoted the rule of law, administrative justice, formalisation of tenure, promotion of individual title, encouragement of property markets and technical solutions – the cornerstone of what has been termed "global land policy". This template has led to land law reform, at the expense of substantive land reform. Read more.

As cities grow, so should their energy efficiency

If you want to find major emitters of greenhouse gases, look no further than your city’s skyline. Buildings account for more than one-third of all final energy consumption and half of global electricity use. They’re responsible for approximately one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions. Read more.

PrepCom 2 stalls on rules of procedure, issue to await U.N. General Assembly

Lack of agreement means participation by local authorities and stakeholders is up in the air for Habitat III process. Read more.

Building a more competitive Mexico City through energy efficiency

Buildings are an important part of the sustainability picture for Mexico City. At least 20 percent of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, with growth in coming decades expected to increase energy demand. This means that improving energy use in buildings must be part of any comprehensive strategy aimed at helping the city hit its ambitious goal of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020. Read more.