Integrating the local and global urban agendas

By David Simon, Director, Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

In October, world leaders will gather in Quito for the Habitat III summit to launch the New Urban Agenda. This is on top of the start this year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is odd that to date these two vitally important global urban initiatives led by the United Nations have been kept separate. It would be far more logical and extremely valuable, however, to link them by using SDG 11, the urban goal, as a monitoring and evaluation framework for the New Urban Agenda. A specific comparative urban experiment conducted last year could serve as a model for achieving just such a link.

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How China’s Rebalancing Affects Africa’s Development Finance … and More

By Helmut Reisen of Shifting Wealth Consulting and former Head of Research at the OECD Development Centre

 

Africa-globe2015 has been a challenging year for Africa. Average growth of African economies weakened in 2015 to 3.6%, down from an average annual 5% enjoyed since 2000. Total financial flows have decreased 12.8% to USD 188.8 billion, including UNCTAD estimates for foreign direct investment. Africa´s tax-GDP ratio tumbled to 17.9%, down from 18.7% in 2014.

Three core factors have underpinned Africa’s good economic performance since the turn of the century: high commodity prices, high external financial flows, and improved policies and institutions. Now, China´s decline in investment and rebalanced growth is depressing commodity prices and producing headwinds for Africa. Such macroeconomic headwinds for net commodity exporters also imply that Africa’s second pillar of past performance — external financial inflows — have suffered as well.

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Developing countries and the renewable energy revolution

By Prof. John A. Mathews, Professor of Strategy at Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Sydney, Australia and author of Greening of Capitalism

There was a time when arguments about development and energy were seen as different discourses. They came together in the familiar call for poor people in developing countries to have access to electricity. As for energy needed for industrialisation, fossil fuels – with all their burdens on the balance of payments and geopolitical entanglements – were tapped to fill the need.

To be sure, the Western world as it industrialised over the past 200 years enjoyed enormous benefits from fossil fuels. The transition to a carbon-based economy liberated economies from age-old Malthusian constraints. For a group of select countries representing a small slice of the global population, burning fossil fuels enabled an era of explosive growth, ushering in dramatic improvements in productivity, income, wealth and living standards. Continue reading

Hacia una nueva asociación América Latina y China

Por Mario Pezzini, Director del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE y Angel Melguizo, jefe de la Unidad de América Latina y el Caribe del Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE

América Latina y China han protagonizado un auge comercial impresionante en los últimos 15 años. Los flujos comerciales entre ellos se han multiplicado 22 veces, mucho más que con la Organización para la Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) – dos veces – la Unión Europea -tres veces- ó Estados Unidos -dos veces. China es hoy el principal socio comercial de Brasil, Chile y Perú. China ha aumentado su participación en cadenas globales de valor de América Latina. Está más integrada en las cadenas de valor con China que a nivel regional. Sin embargo, hoy los vínculos entre América Latina y China están tomando un nuevo rumbo, planteando nuevos desafíos y abriendo oportunidades. Continue reading

Appeasement Politics of Delhi’s Urban Governance

By Shailaja Chandra, Former Permanent Secretary of the Government of India and former Chief Secretary, Delhi; Former Executive Director, National Population Stabilisation Fund, India

Delhi is among the world’s top ten most populous cities with 18 million people. United Nations projections for 2025 predict that it will rank third, overtaking Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Dhaka, New York and Shanghai. Colossal challenges confront the city’s development, and finding money is the least of those problems. Delhi garners more resources than any other city in India, has the highest per capita income and wages, and boasts more private vehicles than the three metropolitans of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai combined. In early 2015, the new city government slashed the power tariff in half and provided 20 000 litres of free water for all residents — clearly affordable measures. Continue reading

Bringing the Blue Skies Back to Beijing: How the Private Sector Can Green Growth in China

‌‌By Kate Eklin and Myriam Gregoire-Zawilski of the OECD Development Centre’s Emerging Markets Network (EMnet)

Last week, officials in Beijing declared an air pollution “red alert” for the first time since the monitoring system was implemented in 2013.[1] Pollution levels put life in the city on hold: factories shuttered, schools closed, traffic was restricted, fireworks were banned.

Between this latest “airpoclypse” and the just-concluded COP 21, everyone is talking about China and its part in the climate agenda. Why? China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter. While China is certainly part of the climate change problem, it is a big part of the solution. Indeed, China is also the world’s largest investor in renewable energy. And public and private investment will be critical for China to transition to a greener and cleaner economy. Continue reading