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Focus Area 4: Environmentally Sound Basic Urban Infrastructure
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UN-HABITAT's work in the following countries is specifically related to Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure


In Brief
Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services are crucial for creating sustainable human settlements and meeting related targets of the Millennium Development Goals. The Habitat Agenda recognizes that adequate water supply, sanitation, and waste management facilities – as well as sustainable energy, mobility, transport, and communication systems – are key to achieving adequate shelter for all.

UN-HABITAT is focusing on demonstration projects, global policy work, and advocacy to expand access to environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services – particularly for the urban poor – in a gender- and youth-sensitive way.

To expand access to environmentally sound infrastructure and services, UN-HABITAT is focusing on delivering sustainable services to the poor, integrating infrastructure and housing, and ensuring harmony between the built and natural environments. The agency is also monitoring progress against the Millennium Development Goals and beyond.

UN-HABITAT supports partner countries through projects that demonstrate effective approaches for improving access to environmentally sound basic infrastructure and services. The agency also engages in global normative and advocacy work to disseminate good practices and inform the development of policies on effective and environmentally sound urban infrastructure and services.

UN-HABITAT aims to increase the number of people reached by its water, sanitation, energy, and transport programmes from 1 million in 2009 to 1.5 million in 2011 and 2 million in 2013. UN-HABITAT's water and sanitation work is focusing on pro-poor, gender-sensitive water and sanitation programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean; replicable model-setting initiatives; pro-poor, gender-sensitive governance frameworks; and water operator partnerships.

In urban mobility, actions include global advocacy and technical assistance to country partners for better public transport solutions, infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, and urban design to reduce travel needs. UN-HABITAT has prioritized increasing access to affordable clean energy services for the urban and peri-urban poor. The agency also works on energy efficiency options for the built environment to address the energy crisis while mitigating climate change.

Our Approach
In the context of sustainable urbanization, UN-HABITAT's approach centres on engaging in global normative work and advocacy through major publications and convening global, regional, and national forums. It also focuses on building global partnerships, networks, and alliances and collaborating with multilateral development banks.

The approach involves implementing model-setting initiatives, identifying successful experiences, and promoting replication at scale. There is also a focus on providing technical assistance in partner countries to raise political awareness, build capacity, and create an enabling environment for pro-poor investments in water, sanitation, urban mobility, and energy. Lastly, the agency is monitoring progress on international development goals.

Expected Accomplishments
The expected accomplishments of Focus Area 4 actions are an increased number of countries with enabling policy and institutional frameworks in place that expand access to environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services; increased institutional efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of basic urban infrastructure and services; and enhanced consumer demand for environmentally sustainable basic urban infrastructure and services.

Getting It Done
Since 2002, UN-HABITAT's Water and Sanitation Trust Fund has provided a fast-track mechanism for cities and towns to reach out to the poor, through six major programmes:

  1. Water for African Cities Programme
  2. Water for Asian Cities Programme
  3. Water for Latin American and Caribbean Cities Programme
  4. Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Initiative
  5. Mekong Regional Water and Sanitation Programme
  6. The Global Water Operators Partnership Alliance

UN-HABITAT is expanding outreach to stakeholders to enhance energy access in cities, improve energy efficiency, and promote the use of renewable energy technologies. The agency has established the Global Energy Network for Poor Urban Settlements, which focuses on improving access to energy and transport in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.

UN-HABITAT is strengthening its global transport programme to help authorities address urban mobility needs in an economically efficient, environmentally sustainable, and socially inclusive manner.

Working Together
UN-HABITAT works with national and local governments, the private sector, and non-governmental and community-based organizations; collaborates with multilateral development banks and financial institutions; and links with related sectors, such as housing, local government, land, planning, health, urban development, environment, education, and gender.

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