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TitleLocal governance for basic urban services : country case from Burkina Faso
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBlankwaardt, B, Casella, D, Smet, JEM, Snel, M
Pagination13 p.; 6 refs.; 1 fig.
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsbasic needs, burkina faso, rural urban migration, sanitation services, urban areas, urban communities, water supply services

Urban issues, particularly those related to urban poverty, are arguably the fastest growing sector in the development cooperation portfolio. For nearly thirty years since the Vancouver Habitat conference in 1976, organizations such as UN-HABITAT have struggled to assist Member States in dealing with the impacts of a global urbanization that has accelerated enormously from about 1950. Since the Istanbul City Summit in 1996, however, there has been a global realization that we are destined to become an "urban species" and that policies at all levels need to catch up with this growing reality. Since the beginning of the new Millennium, cities have moved to the forefront of socioeconomic change and sustainable development. Around half of the world's population is now living in cities and urban settlements, while the other half is increasingly dependent on cities and towns for their economic survival and livelihood. Metropolitan cities have become centres of innovation and engines of development. It is now generally understood that cities are the key to social and economic advancement and environmental improvement. Over the last decade, the role of local government as a catalyst for development and community leadership has also evolved, with a strong emphasis on partnership with business and civil society. Local government’s relationship with the UN has also developed in a positive way. However such an encouraging trend should no divert the attention from the real challenges of the transformation of our cities. We are currently witnessing in cities massive breaches of human rights, and ecological and other natural disasters in addition to growing social inequality. A large part of the world's urban population lives without access to even the most basic services. In contrast to their promise, many cities - especially metropolitan cities in the developing world - represent today the most alarming concentrations of poverty. The objective of this paper is to focus on a summary of IRC’s activities within the framework of the Basic Urban Services (BUS) Initiative, carried out over a five-year period (2003-2007) through an Agreement of Cooperation with UNCHS (UN-Habitat) with a specific emphasis on the work undertaken in Burkina Faso. In this paper, emphasis has been put on the demonstration project in Burkina Faso because of its importance for obtaining direct and tangible results. The objective of this paper is to share the major experiences and lessons learnt, to highlight the remaining challenges and to suggest ways forward, in particular in scaling up the BUS demonstration projects in Burkina Faso. This paper addresses a variety of readers which include those working for municipalities, anchoring institutions and donors such as UN-Habitat, UNEP and UNDP. It may also be of interest to readers who want to know more about the process of a project such as this. (authors abstract)

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