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Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

he city should be a
collection of communities
where every member has a right to
belong. It should be a place where
every man feels safe on his streets
and in the house of his friends.
It should be a place where each
individuals dignity and self-respect
is strengthened by the respect
and affection of his neighbors. It
should be a place where each of
us can nd the satisfaction and
warmth which comes from being a
member of the community of man.
This is what man sought at the
dawn of civilization. It is what we
seek today.
- Lyndon B. Johnson

ll cities are mad: but the

madness is gallant. All cities are
beautiful: but the beauty is grim.
- Christopher Morley,
Where the Blue Begins

- William Shakespeare

World Population Growth:

* In 2000 world population reached 6 billion and is growing

at an annual rate of 1.2 percent or 77 million people per

hat is the city

but the people?

learly, then, the city is not a

concrete jungle, it is a human


- Desmond Morris, The Human Zoo

Urbanisation - Some Facts and Figures

* In 1950, 68 % of the worlds population was in developing

countries, with 8% in least developed countries
* By 2030, it is estimated that 85% of the worlds
population will be in developing countries, with 15% in
* In 1950, 32 % of the worlds population lived in developed
countries and this is expected to decline to 15% by
Urbanisation - The Global Picture:
* The worlds urban population was estimated at 3 billion
in 2003 and is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2030.
* In 1950, only 30% of the worlds population was urban,
by 2003 this has increased to 48% and is projected to
exceed 50% by 2007.
* By the end of this decade more than half the global
population will be living in urban areas, while by 2030
this is expected to reach 60%.

* Between 2000 and 2030, the worlds urban

population is projected to grow at an average annual

rate of 1.8 % and at this rate the worlds urban population

will double in 38 years.
* Almost 180,000 people are added to the urban
population everyday.
* It is estimated that there are almost 1 billion people living
under the poverty line across the globe,of this over 750
million live in urban areas without adequate shelter and
basic services.
* The population in urban areas in less developed
countries will grow from 1.9 billion in 2000 to 3.9 billion in
2030, while in developed countries the urban population
is expected to increase very slowly during the same
period from 0.9 billion in 2000 to 1 billion in 2030.
* In 1950, there were only two cities with a population of
over 10 million inhabitants - New York City and Tokyo
- by 2000 there were 18 cities and by 2015 there will
be 22 cities with populations of over 10 million, most of
them in the developing countries.
* The proportion of people living in mega-cities (of over 10
million people) is small - in 2003, only 4% of the global
population lived in mega-cities and about 25% of the
worlds population lived in urban settlements with fewer
than 0.5 million inhabitants.
Source: UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and
Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division
of the UN

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

he world is rapidly urbanising. There are two

fundamental reasons for this rapid urbanisation:

a) increasing numbers of rural populations drifting to

cities in search of employment opportunities and better
living standards and
b) urban areas growing and spilling over into rural areas
creating new suburbs and towns.
As the Asia Pacic is transformed into an urban region,
it faces many challenges. On the one hand, cities have
tremendous potential, as they are the engines of economic
and social development in a country. On the other, cities
can also generate and intensify social exclusion denying
the benets of urban life to the poor, to women, to children,
to the disabled and other marginalised groups. At the
same time, the rapid rate of urbanisation has resulted in
deteriorating urban services, rampant urban poverty and
a depleted urban environment. Cities seem ill equipped
to handle shelter and housing demands, increasing
infrastructure demands, employment and job creation,
gender inequality and environmental degradation.

Are Cities A Negative Inuence On

Fast expanding cities have long been blamed for social ills
and failures of human development. But, are cities always
a negative inuence on development?
Terms such as mushrooming cities or exploding cities
connoting a variety of images are often used to argue
that urbanisation leads to uncontrolled population growth.
Attempts to link population growth with urbanisation have
ignored the fact that in the last few decades many studies

The Mega Cities (Population in millions)

1) New York 12.3
2) Tokyo 11.3

Cities are chaotic

1) Tokyo 26.6
2) New York 15.9
3) Shanghai 11.4
4) Mexico City 10.7

1) Tokyo 34.5
2) Mexico City 18.1
3) New York 17.8
4) Sao Paulo 17.1
5) Mumbai 16.1
6) Kolkota 13.1
7) Shanghai 12.9
8) Buenos Aires 12.6
9) Delhi 12.4
10) Los Angeles 11.8
11) Osaka 11.2
12) Jakarta 11.0
13) Beijing 10.9
14) Rio de Janeiro 10.8
15) Cairo 10.4
16) Dhaka 10.2
17) Moscow 10.1
18) Karachi 10.0

Source: World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2003 Revision, UN Department of Economic and
Social Affairs/Population Division

1) Tokyo 36.2
2) Mumbai 22.6
3) Delhi 20.9
4) Mexico City 20.6
5) Sao Paulo 20.0
6) New York 19.7
7) Dhaka 17.9
8) Jakarta 17.5
9) Lagos 17.0
10) Kolkota 16.8
11) Karachi 16.2
12) Buenos Aires 14.6
13) Cairo 13.1
14) Los Angeles 12.9
15) Shanghai 12.7
16) Manila 12.6
17) Rio de Janeiro 12.4
18) Osaka 11.4
19) Istanbul 11.3
20) Beijing 11.0
21) Moscow 10.9
22) Paris 10.0

have indicated that urban populations have smaller families.

Criticisms like these often exclude the central role cities play
in the economic growth of nation states, that cities are often
centres of business, nance and are homes to the arts and
sciences in countries both developed and developing.
It is crucial to recognise that cities are dual-faced, like coins.
Cities are both cots of chaos and cradles of creativity. Places
of despair and hope, of darkness and light, of problems and
solutions. As we put cities under the magnifying glass, it is
inevitable that the inherent troubles and toils that exist come
to light, but it is imperative we also look at the accompanying
prospects and promises.

It is not cities that are responsible for waste, pollution

and greenhouse gas emissions, but the consumption
patterns of its inhabitants, particularly its middle
and upper income groups with high consumption
lifestyles, as well as commercial and industrial
enterprises, as noted in UN-Habitats An
Urbanising World: Global Report on Human
Settlements. Cities have the potential to combine
safe and healthy living conditions and culturally rich and
enjoyable lifestyles with remarkably low levels of energy
consumption, resource-use and waste.
In terms of development, cities can have many advantages
due to their high population density such as:

Cities often juxtapose wealth and poverty

a) lower costs per household for the provision of piped,

treated water supplies, the collection and disposal
of human and household waste, telecommunication
facilities, and education and healthcare services.
b) concentration of production and consumption,
providing for more efcient use of resources.
c) reduced demand for land relative to the population.
d) greater potential for limiting use of motor vehicles
which pollute the atmosphere, if good and efcient
public transport services are provided.
Yet, it is undeniable that the most acute examples of
poverty could be found in many cities around the world.

In Asia, urbanisation has for long attracted a negative

image because an increasing number of the regions poor
live in urban areas. The nancial crisis of the late 1990s
has made this problem worse, especially in South East
Asia, where government cutbacks in public expenditure
such as health, education and housing have worsened
the plight of the urban poor.

What Is Urban Poverty ?

In the past 30 years the urban population in Asia and
the Pacic has increased by 260% or by 560 million
people and in the next 30 years it is expected to expand
by about 250 % - that is an expected increase of about
1.45 billion people.
This is unprecedented in history and is expected
to have a huge impact on the economic, social
and environmental climate in Asia and the Paci c.
Increasing urban populations competing for limited
natural resources need to result in a delicate balancing
act which will satisfy the aspirations of the urbanised
populations. Urbanisation will create wealth for some,
yet, others will be left behind. Many economists argue
that it will create social and political tension across
the region, if the root causes of urban poverty are not
properly understood.
Urban poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon argues
the World Bank, and 5 clear dimensions are:

Income Poverty
Health Poverty
Education Poverty
Personal and Tenure Insecurity

Urban poverty can thus be described as a process

of cumulative deprivations, where one of these
poverty traps leads to another as the cause or
contributor. This is illustrated in the following

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

Cumulative Impacts of Urban Poverty

Lack of access to credits for
business or house

Lack of employment, inability

to have a regular job, lack of
regular income and social
security. poor nutrition

Poor health,
poor education

Inability to afford
adequate housing

Sense of insecurity,
isolation, and

Tenure insecurity, evictions,

loss of small savings
invested in housing

Unhygienic living conditions,

low-quality public services

Source: The World Bank; http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/urban/poverty/dening.html#multi-dimensional

Urbanisation in India is a process

wherein the surplus population of
workers from rural areas resettles in
urban centres where non-agriculture
job opportunities are available. If
job opportunities are productive
and lead to gainful employment,
urbanisation becomes a catalyst for
economic development. If, however,
urbanisation is merely a process
of transfer of rural poverty to an
urban environment, it results in a
concentration of misery.
- National Commission on
Urbanisation (India)
Cities are the driving force of social
and economic development. They
harbour tremendous energies and
have the potential to generate
enormous creativity and signicant
economic betterment. They provide
shelter, jobs and services and are
the centres of productivity. For
this reason, they attract more and
more people and at present absorb
two-thirds of all population growth
while generating over half the
Gross National Product (GNP),
even in countries where the majority
of the population is engaged in
- Sustainable Cities Programme 19902000, UN-Habitat/UNEP

Urban Poverty Matrix

Dimension of poverty Visible causes or contributing factors

Impacts on other dimensions of poverty


Inability to afford housing and land, thus, underdeveloped physical capital assets
Inability to afford adequate quality and quantity of essential public services, e.g., water,
thus unhygienic living conditions and depreciated health
Poor human capitalbad health and educational outcomes due to stress, food
insecurity, and inability to afford education and health services
Depreciated social capital resulting in domestic violence and crime


Overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions

Residential environments are prone to industrial and trafc pollution due to
juxtaposition of residential and industrial functions in cities
The poor in cities settle on marginal lands, which are prone to environmental
hazards, such as landslides and oods
Exposure to diseases due to poor quality air, water, and lack of sanitation
Injury and deaths rising from trafc
Industrial occupational risks unsafe working conditions, especially for those in
informal sector jobs


Constrained access to education due to insufcient school sizes in rapidly growing

Inability to afford school expenses
Personal safety/security risks deterring school attendance

Inability to get a job

Lack of constructive activity for school age youth, contributing to delinquency
Continued gender inequities


Land and housing in authorized areas are not affordable; therefore, the poor typically
build or rent on public or private property. Houses lack proper construction and
tend to be in unsafe areas prone to natural hazards.

Evictions that cause loss of physical capital, damage social and informal networks
for jobs and safety nets, and reduce sense of security
Inability to use ones home as a source of incomesuch as renting a room; creating
extra space for income generating activities, etc.

Personal insecurity

Drug/alcohol abuse and domestic violence

Family breakdown and reduced support for children
Social diversity and visible income inequality in cities, which increases tensions
and can provide a temptation for crime.

Diminished physical and mental health and low earnings

Damage/loss to property and increased costs for protection and health care
Depreciated social capital such as loss of family cohesion and social isolation


Illegitimacy of residence and work

Isolation of communities that are disconnected from jobs and services
Insufcient channels of information for obtaining jobs, knowing ones legal rights
to services, etc.
Not having the rights and responsibilities of citizens

Dependence on cash for purchases of essential goods and services

Employment insecurity/casual work
Unskilled wage labor/lack of qualications to get well-paid jobs
Inability to hold a job due to bad health
Lack of access to job opportunities (urban poor often have to trade off between
distances to jobs and costs of housing)

Source: The World Bank; http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/urban/poverty/dening.html#multi-dimensional

Inability to hold a job

Inability to earn sufcient income
Reduced ability of children to learn due to illness (e.g., lead poisoning)
Risk of injury and associated income shocks
Poor education outcomes

Lack of access to urban services

Sense of isolation and powerlessness
Inefcient use of personal time and money to seek alternative forms of redress,
e.g., payment of bribes

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

Urban poverty could also be linked to a lack of asset

ownership where the less assets one (or a family) owns,
the more vulnerable they become to the poverty trap.
These assets generally are:

Human Capital - health, education, skills and ability
to work
Productive Assets - most important of these is
Household Relations
Social Capital

to be developed to facilitate stakeholder participation,

and to validate the accountability of the public and the
private sector to the poor.

% Urban Population
in Selected Asian Counttries

These urban poverty indicators while giving a snapshot

of poverty in the urban areas, should also be able to
give feedback on changing living conditions in the
cities, which could allow policy makers to judge whether
the city is moving in the correct direction. To measure
these changes over time the following indicators could
be utilised.

The above asset vulnerability framework was

developed by Caroline Moser (in the World Development
Report 1998) which focuses on the assets held by
poor people and the ways in which they are used for
survival and reproduction. Thus, the urban poor are
seen to experience a number of vulnerabilities that
directly affect their ability to accumulate assets. The
asset vulnerability framework highlights the ways in
which community level processes affect household
well-being through their impacts on trust, reciprocity
and security.

How To Assess Urban Poverty

Poverty is usually calculated by household income
or consumption criteria, while social indicators like
life expectancy and infant mortality also play a role.
But, as explained earlier, urban poverty could be
a multidimensional phenomenon and to diagnose
the problem it is important to consider appropriate
indicators. These indicators could be used to assess the
depth of the problems over a period of time. They need

Indicators of Urban Poverty

Poverty Dimension



- Tenure
- Personal


Measurement Indicators
Access to credit: percentage of the target population using credits from nancial organisations (for
housing and productive uses) or the share of credit used by the target group in the total loans offered
by formal nance organisations.
Share of informal employment.
Share of household expenditure on housing.
Share of household expenditure on transport.
Mean travel time to work.
Access to electricity.
Land development controls.
Coverage of social assistance.

Share of household expenditure on potable water and sanitation.

Percentage of households connected to water and sewerage.
Per capita consumption of water.
Percentage wastewater treated.
Percentage of households with regular solid waste collection.
Percentage of solid waste safely disposed.
Crowding (housing oor space per person).
Air Pollution levels.
Shares of sources of household energy.
Access to primary health services.
Access to nutritional safety net.
Share of household expenditure on health care.
Share of household expenditures on food.

Primary and secondary school enrolment rates.

Access to vocational training.
Share of household expenditure on education.

Population in unauthorised housing.

Population living in precarious zones.
Scope of disaster prevention/mitigation measures.
Access to police and legal system protections.

Extent of public consultation in local government budget decisions.

Participation of residents in political or community organisations.
Discrimination in access to services/jobs.
Access to telephones and internet.

Source: The World Bank; http://www.worldbank.org/html/fpd/urban/poverty/dening.html#multi-dimensional

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

The Environmental Challenges of Asias

More than 60 % of the increase in the worlds urban
population over the next 3 decades will occur in Asia,
particularly in China and India, as well as in Pakistan,
Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam. Urbanisation
in Asia and the Pacic is predicted to grow at an average
rate of 2.4 per cent per annum between 2001 and 2015.
The current level of urbanisation ranges from a low of 7.1
per cent in Bhutan to 100 per cent in Singapore.
Asia is home to 5 of the most populous countries - with
more than 100 million people - China, India, Bangladesh,
Pakistan and Indonesia. Within the next 30 years, these
countries will be joined by at least 3 more - Iran, the
Philippines and Vietnam. The combined urban population
of these 8 countries will grow by more than 1 billion people
in the same period. This will create pressing challenges in
the provision of infrastructure, environmental management
and employment.
Already, serious problems associated with urban poverty
and environmental degradation are apparent in these
countries, as well as others across Asia. Slum and squatter
settlements in Indian cities - where more than 50% of
urban dwellers live - are growing at twice the rate of urban
expansion. Only 50% of the urban population Bangladesh
has any access to safe water and in Nepal only 60% have
access to clean water. In Delhi and Mumbai, more than
1.5 tons of garbage are left rotting on the streets or in
improperly maintained pits every day. Dhaka is only able
to collect about 50% of its waste every day.
The Indonesian capital, Jakarta, has seen its population
grow by 8 million residents within 15 years. Today,

many of its rivers and canals are so polluted that even

the sh in Jakarta Bay are considered as unsafe for
human consumption. Recent studies by Bangkoks
Pollution Control Department have shown that bacteria
contamination in all Bangkok waterways exceeds the
permissible limit by 75 to 400 times. Bangkok produces
some two and half million cubic meters of liquid waste
a day and 40% of this is released untreated into the
waterways. Many industries which have cropped up
surrounding the urban settlements release their toxic
industrial liquid waste untreated to the waterways, and
only 2% of the households in the city are connected to
a sewage network.

WHO warns of deteriorating

health in Asias booming cities

n October 2003, the World Health

Organisation (WHO) warned that health
conditions in Asias booming cities will
suffer dramatically unless governments
take urgent measures to cut down air and
water pollution.
Many urban areas are growing so fast that
economies, services, and infrastructure
are nding it difcult to cope with the
pressures. This could result in outbreaks
of diseases as well as crime, violence,
environmental degradation, pollution,
poverty and unhealthy lifestyles predicted
the WHO in a statement released by its
regional ofce in Manila.
The UN agency estimates that 1.5 million
urban dwellers face air pollution levels
above the maximum recommended limits.
In Asia - with half the worlds city dwellers more than 1.5 million people die every year
from pollution-related diseases, including
about half a million deaths attributed to
particulate matter and sulphur dioxide.
WHOs regional director Dr Shigeru Omi
recommended shifting authority from
central governments and municipalities
to alleviate the problem.
Decentralisation, accompanied by
empowerment of people to take action,
can be a potent force for vitalising
communities he said. There is no longer
a need to wait for the central government
to take action.
Source: Associated Press

The distribution of the worlds urban population in 2000

Northern America


% Urban Population
by Region


Latin America &

the Caribbean


Rest of Europe


Eastern Europe
Rest of Asia


Source: The ten and a half myths that may distort the urban policies of
Governments and International Agencies by David Satterthwaite.
Link: www.ucl.ac.uk/dpn-projects/21st_century/mainframe.html















Latin America
& Caribbean









*Including Australia



& New Zealand

Source: World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2003 Revision, UN Dept

of Econ & Soc. Affairs/Population Division

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

Wise Practices Help Save Jakarta Bay

JAKARTA, July 18, 2003 - On land and at sea,
communities around the teeming Indonesian capital
are taking steps to reduce their impact on the
environment and use, not the best practices familiar
to the corporate world, but wise practices that have
evolved from within.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has a pilot project
focusing on living sustainably on the margins of a
coastal megacity. The effort addresses both the
destructive nature of shing methods like the use
of cyanide and the need to educate city dwellers
of Jakartas northern suburbs about their impact
on the bay.
The efforts of 72-year-old grandmother Harini
Bambang Wahono, who is now locally and nationally
known for her motivational skills at persuading
people to recycle their waste are beginning to bear
In the northern Jakarta suburb of Banjarsari, the
narrow alleys are lined by a profusion of greenery,
plants along the walls or on wooden racks, many
in recycled water cups. It is one of the most visible
manifestations of Harinis work.
The green alleyways of Banjarsari belie the urgent
need to tackle the greater threat to Jakarta Bay.
Seventeen rivers ow into it and UNESCO estimates
that an average of 1,400 square metres of rubbish

is thrown into these rivers every single day, which

threatens the coral, the sh and the livelihoods of
the coastal communities.
This is why waste management and recycling
projects in Jakarta neighbourhoods like Banjarsari
are important.
The people here have set up a Komite Lingkungan
or environmental committee that provides training
in paper recycling, composting and environmental
awareness. Youth are trained to recycle paper
and carry out composting, and the committee also
provides a garbage and paper collection service.
Since the 1998 economic crisis the youth have wanted
an income, said Iwan Bambang Wahono, youth
activities coordinator of the community and Harinis
son. Many activities need monetary support but
recycling doesnt. Instead they make money from it.
It has become a cottage industry - the youth make
money by turning recycled paper into cards, writing
paper, craft articles and posters, which are sold.
Harini admits that motivating people to be
environmentally responsible is not an easy task. But
when they see that they can sell compost, recycle
paper products and grow medicinal plants in the
garden, that encourages them, she pointed out.
Source: Inter Press Service


Asian Urban Environment Fact Sheet


Air Pollution

In countries such as India, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia and Thailand vehicles

with two-stroke engines, such as motorcycles and three-wheel taxis, comprise
more than one-half of all motor trafc and pollute heavily. Poor maintenance
of vehicles, poor fuel quality and poor road conditions aggravate the problem.
The burning of biomass such as rewood and agricultural wastes is a further
source of air pollution in many poor areas.

Waste Management

Much of the solid waste generated in urban centres remains uncollected and
is either deposited in surface waters and empty lots, or burned in streets.
Collected waste is mainly disposed of in open dumps, many of which are
neither properly operated nor maintained, and which pose a serious threat to
public health. Only a few Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, have
adequate solid waste disposal facilities but even these cities have problems
in dealing with increasing volumes of waste. In the mid-1990s, Metro Manila
generated 6300 tonnes of solid waste daily but its landlls could accommodate
only a little more than half that amount. In India,an outbreak of bubonic plague
in 1994 was linked to inadequate solid waste disposal.

Water and Sanitation

In spite of signicant investments, the sewage systems in many major cities

still cannot support a high-density urban environment with the result that
sewage is often discharged directly to drains or waterways, or disposed of in
individual septic tanks that are poorly maintained. Afghanistan has by far the
lowest percentage of urban population with access to improved water sources
(19 per cent) and sanitation (25 per cent) in the region. However, in absolute
terms China and India have by far the largest number of urban people (more
than 20 million each) without access to a safe water supply. More than 50 per
cent of the urban population in Afghanistan and Mongolia still have no access
to improved sanitation. Another major urban environmental issue is ooding and
land subsidence. For example, in Bangkok, monsoon run-off water frequently
exceeds the Chao Phraya river drainage capacity a problem exacerbated by
the progressive lling of the khlongs (canals) as urban areas expand.

Source: State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective 1972 -2002, UNEP

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

The Urban Challenge in the Pacic Islands

The South Pacic Islands extend from Papua New
Guinea to Cook Islands and from Niue to the Marshall
Islands and account for a population of just over 7
million. All these island countries have always had at
least one urban centre which has served as a major
administrative hub and which has provided a higher
level of health and educational services than rural
Urbanisation is a recent phenomenon in the South
Pacic and most countries have to manage problems
of urbanisation within the constraints of development
of customarily owned land. This has created unique
social and political conicts in the region.
Four countries, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands,
Nauru and Palau now have more than 50% of their
population living in urban areas, while Papua New
Guinea has only 17% of its population living in cities
and in Soloman Islands only 13% of its population is
An interesting issue of urbanisation in the Pacic is
that in some countries the urban centre consists of
the entire main island, while the other islands form
the rural sector. In Kiribati for example, 60% of the
population live in the main island of South Tarawa,
while in Samoa, some 70% of the population live on
the island of Upolu.
Even though the rural population is relatively large
in some countries, urbanisation and urban living are
becoming an integral part of development planning in the
South Pacic with capital cities becoming primal cities,

continuing to attract investments and higher growth.

Urbanisation considerably strains the traditional social
value system developed over centuries. While these
systems continue to serve the rural populations well, in
urban centres family and clan-based authority systems
and customary land use and ownership systems are
breaking down. With the loss of these traditional safety
nets, social conicts, the breakdown of the family and
domestic violence have risen.
Unemployment is one of the major problems associated
with urbanisation in the Pacific. In the Papua New
Guinea capital, Port Moresby, up to a third of the urban
population is looking for work. This has also given rise
to an uncontrollable crime wave with some 69% of the
unemployed men believed to be living off crime.
Rapid migration to cities across the Pacic has given
rise to squatter settlements in most cities, because the
government has been unable to provide the people with
the necessary infrastructure and facilities. Central and
local government seldom provide squatter settlements
with basic infrastructure such as roads, water supply,
sanitation and solid waste management because the
settlements are illegal.
Overcrowded accommodation in some densely populated
atolls, for example in the Marshall Islands, is leading
to respiratory illnesses. Inadequate sanitation causing
contamination of shellfish has led to outbreaks of
gastrointestinal diseases and hepatitis in Tarawa, Kiribati.
The rate of child mortality in the Marshall Islands is one
of the highest in Asia and the Pacic.
On the positive side, the concentration of people in urban
areas has greatly improved the economics of the informal


sector and helped many people to go beyond the level

of subsistence economy. In many towns small and micro
businesses are thriving. The informal sector takes different
forms in different countries. Smaller countries would
have informal jobs in bottle collecting, street vending,
newspaper selling, car washing and shoe polishing, while
in the larger countries there are jobs created in trades
and services, vehicle repairs, packaging, transportation,
construction and building and a whole range of associated

Urbanisation in the South Pacic


Cook Islands
Federated States
of Micronesia
Marshall Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands

(1988 midyear estimate)
785, 700

Population Percentage
of urban
(people/km) population


Annual national
growth rate




Annual urban
growth rate

Annual rural
growth rate





Source: Compiled from secretariat of the Pacic Community, Pocket Statistical Summary, 1998, and Pacic Island Populations, Wall
Chart, 1997, Suva, Fiji.

Chapter 1: The Urban Habitat

Mix of Local, Regional Needed to

Make Urbanisation Work
NADI, Fiji, Dec 5, 2003 Experts at a recently
concluded conference here say that a mix of
local and regional approaches is needed to make
urbanisation an engine of growth for small Pacic
island countries. Just as important were debates
about how this applies to a still predominantly rural
Greater regional cooperation plus more community
participation in local government were the focus of
a Pacic Urban Agenda (PUA) adopted at the end
of a four-day regional workshop here this week.
The questions of how to dene urban areas and
whether urbanisation is a positive factor in the
development of the small island states across the
South Pacic (where the combined population of
some 4 independent nations is just over 7 million)
also stirred a lot of discussion.
The role of basic issues in the Pacic, like land
security and the growth of informal settlements
was also discussed by the more than 40 urban
planners, local government ofcials, economists,
academics and non-governmental organisation
representatives from Fiji, Papua New Guinea,
Cook Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands,
Tuvalu, Kiribati and Samoa.
The land issue affects everybody in the Pacic
and its an important issue of the urbanisation
process, argues Sevanaia Dakaica, lecturer in

land management at the University of the South

Pacic (USP) in Fiji. But, there are institutional
arrangements in place which could get land into
the market.
Throughout the workshop there was much debate
about the uniqueness of the Pacic situation
especially in respect to customary land and
whether urban development models in other parts
of the world are appropriate to the Pacic.
Over the last two to three decades, the introduction
of the cash economy along with the ability of
people to travel large distances in search of jobs
and political aspirations has changed the Pacic
So when development experts talk about urbanisation
as the engine of growth, they are focusing on
these trends. But there are others who point out
that in most countries the populations are still
predominantly rural.
In Papua New Guinea for example, only 15 percent
of the population live in the capital Port Moresby,
but it absorbs 90 percent of the national budget.
Most Pacic participants have not even met one
another before, so the workshop highlighted the
need to develop partnerships across the region
to allow information sharing and collaboration
towards better urban management.
The workshop heard reports of how the lack of
such secondary urban centres or rural development

has resulted in an increase in informal settlements

across the region.
Squatters are increasing at an alarming rate in
Fiji, said Dharam Lingam, Fijis director of housing
and squatter settlements, pointing out that there
are 182 squatter settlements in the country with
a combined population of 82,000.
Waste management was cited as another problem
area right across the Pacic, because many cities
lack a centralised sewage system and landll sites
for waste.
To ensure adequate land supplies for urban
settlement, the Pacic Urban Agenda calls for
greater community participation in the decisionmaking process of local governments, the
establishment of squatter community councils and
local planning boards.
It also points to the needs to build consensus with
traditional landowners on the need for security
of tenure, to involve urban land owners in the
provision of services, to encourage land registration,
titling of customary land. Appropriate and greater
transparency in urban council elections are crucial
for better governance.
Experts agreed that while urbanisation in the Pacic
cannot be stopped, governments need to act to
improve the living standards of those in the urban
areas while taking care of rural development.
Source: Inter Press Service

Introduction to the Handbook



World Bank website http://www.worldbank.org

State of the Worlds Cities Report 2001, UNHABITAT.

State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective

1972 -2002, UNEP

McGee, Terry, Urbanisation Takes on New Dimensions

in Asias Population Giants, www.prb.org.

Managing the Transition from the Village to the City

in the South Pacic, ESCAP 1999

Managing the Transition from the Village to the City in

the South Pacic, ESCAP 1999.

World Development Report 1998: Knowledge for

Development, World Bank

Making Cities World, USAID Brieng Paper, 2004, www.


World Bank website http://www.worldbank.org


Habitat Backgrounder, Urbanisation:Facts and Figures


State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective

1972 -2002, UNEP

Urban Poverty Alleviation, paper presented at the

Regional High-level Meeting in preparation for
Istanbul+5 for Asia and the Pacic, October 2000,
Hangzhou, China, www.unescap.org.

Managing the Transition from the Village to the City

in the South Pacic, ESCAP 1999

Urban Development, World Bank brieng paper, 2001,


Sustainable Cities Programme 1990-2000,

UNHABITAT/UNEP promotional booklet.

Economic Survey of Delhi 1999-2000, Chapter 14,

Urban Development, www.delhipplanning.nic.in.

World Urbanisation Prospects: The 2003 Revision,

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs/
Population Division

World Development Report 1998: Knowledge for

Development, World Bank

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Urban Issues

n megacities, populations living

in squatter and slum settlements
have already crossed the 50 per
cent level in 3 cities and is at 40 to
50 per cent in others. The Other
Half Syndrome is the biggest
challenge today to all Urban
Planners and Urban Managers,
and is a constituency woefully
under-addressed so far.
- V. Suresh, Chairman and Managing
Director, Housing and Urban Development
Corporation, India.

f cities do not deal with the

problems of the slums in a
constructive way, they will deal with
the cities in a destructive way.
- Robert McNamara, former President of
the World Bank.


ffectively addressing poverty in both the rural and

urban areas has been the top priority of development
agendas of governments, international development
agencies, international aid agencies, development experts
and community groups for many decades now. Yet, it
seems the solution is not close at hand, though there are
many examples of good practices from around the world
that continue to inspire.

Economic development as a whole creates wealth and

prosperity in many cities. This draws increasing numbers
of people to urban centres in search of better economic
opportunities and better lives. Wealth in cities (like
everywhere else in the world) is not equitably distributed
and the result is a large disparity in income levels, which
often leads to increasing social and political tension in
the urban areas.
Rather than trying to deal with the symptoms of urban
poverty, should we focus even more on its root causes?
Can we develop models of urban development where
mechanisms are designed to equip the poor so that they
themselves become the key actors in the process of
change which leads to better living standards for all?
Before trying to answer this question, we need to rst
look at some of the major urban issues which contribute
to the huge disparities between the rich and poor in the
cities across Asia and the Pacic.

Urban Issues


The main issue facing urban communities is the problem

of poverty. However the bright lights, big city image of
urban areas subsumes the issue of poverty. The pace of
economic growth in the Asia Pacic region over the past
two decades has resulted in rapid urbanisation. By the
year 2010, Asia is expected to produce 45% of the worlds
GDP (gross domestic product) growth and be home to
4.2 billion of the worlds 7 billion people, 43% of whom
will reside in cities. But despite impressive GDP growth
rates, these economic gains have not beneted everyone.
Real incomes of most workers in many countries have

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

fallen substantially, disparities between rich and poor

have increased and almost a third of the population in
developing countries, some 1.3 billion people still live in
Because the regions rapid economic growth has largely
taken place in urban centres, the capacity of a nation
to pursue its economic goals becomes contingent on
its ability to govern its cities. There are also a number
of urban development issues that contribute to poverty
such as a lack of:

clean and affordable housing

safe running water and sanitation
effective waste management
affordable and reliable public transport

non-commercial health care

public schooling
safe and affordable electricity
employment security
non-corrupt local government structures

Urban Issue #1: The Urban Housing Crisis

Beginning in the early 1990s, Asias booming economies
have contributed to an urban real estate boom. It started
in East and South East Asia, but experienced a slide
during the Asian Financial Crisis between 1997 and
1999, particularly in South East Asia. With the recent
economic boom in China and India, urban real estate
prices are on an upward swing in both countries. Beijing


and Shanghai in China, and Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata,

Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai in India are in the
midst of a major real estate boom, fuelled by the demand
for ofce space and expanding shopping malls, as well
as living space.
Within a decade, Indias urbanised middle class is
expected to expand from about 250 million to 400 million,
helped by incomes generated by the boom in outsourced
service industries such as IT, call centers and nancial
services. As a result, the outskirts of Indias metropolitan
cities are being turned into vast building sites as armies of
workmen backed by battalions of cranes erect high-rise
towers and plush ofce blocks at a speed never before
seen in that country. In 2003 alone, there have been
about 8 million sq ft of new ofce blocks built in cities like
Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. That
is expected to increase to about 24
million sq ft in the next 18 months. In
2004, 11 million sq ft of ofce space
is expected to be occupied in Indias
ve biggest cities - nearly twice the
volume of 2002.


While the middle classes have to

cope with increasing real estate
prices right across urban Asia, the
poor have to cope with the problem
of evictions, which is causing severe
displacement and impoverishment
and suffering on a grand scale in
most Asian countries. The bulldozing
of informal settlements has become
a major cause of urban poverty and
one of the most urgent problems of
the new millennium.

IT fuels Indian property boom

while farmers move to the city

utsourcing rms are driving a surge in demand

for office space that has gobbled up vast
stretches of agricultural land in Indias technology
hub of Bangalore.
Farmers who cultivated vegetables, rice and coconuts
have been forced to relocate to the outskirts of the
city of 5.7 million people as space-hungry global
and Indian companies moved in to take advantage
of cheaper skilled labour.
According to K. Jagannath, a farmer and a village
head, his Bellandur hamlet situated in the suburbs
was bursting at its seams with migrant workers,
labourers and software engineers. Its population has
increased from 3,500 in 1993 to 25,000 today. He
himself has sold his farm to a real estate developer
to build a call centre facility spread over 17.6 hectares
and moved into the city, where he lives in a twostorey house.
He says that though farmers do not want to sell their
land they have been forced to do so because of
soaring land prices and threats by the government to
acquire the land to meet the demand from IT rms. In
addition income from agriculture is very low today.
Property developers are making money while
farmers are leaving their farms to go and settle more
than 25 kilometres away. It is a sad situation, says
Source: The Australian, 1 March 2004

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Other Side Chinas Real Estate

Boom Creates Jobs

hinas booming real estate industry is now

accommodating over ve million people in
its management sector and another 30 million in
construction, according to the National Bureau of
Statistics (NBS).
According to an ofcial of the NBS, the average
annual increase of job opportunities in the sector
was 4.5 percent from 1995 to 2000 and the rate is
expected to rise continuously given the fast growth
of Chinas real estate industry. Their statistics show
that the investment in Chinas real estate industry
increased about 19.5 percent annually from 1998
to 2002. The rate in the rst six months of 2003
reached 34 percent, taking over 20 percent of the
countrys total xed assets investments.
Economists predict that the fast growth of the
real estate industry will further boost other related
industries including metallurgy, raw materials,
home decoration, electrical appliances, nance
and transportation, which will in turn produce more
job opportunities.
Source: Asia Pulse/Asia Times


n many of our cities, eviction problems

come from problems of power - from
the huge differences in power between the
state and the people on the ground. The
power of the poor as scattered families or
scattered communities is very weak. But
the power of broadly linked community
groups is strong enough to create a more
powerful position in the negotiation - as a
group. When people link together this way
- and especially when they link through
concrete development activities - it is a
way of adjusting that power. And this is
what makes change.

Why evictions are on the up and up in Asian cities

- Somsook Boonyabancha, Director, Urban

Community Development Ofce, Thailand


es, it is important to catch the

government and market institutions
on the havoc theyre causing in peoples
lives, because that gives you a moral or
a constitutional or a legal framework
within which you can say to the state
that they are doing something that is
morally or legally wrong. The things that
organisations like SPARC are doing
to create some commitment at the
international level about evictions are
important, but as far as the poor are
concerned, those things dont bring them
any relief. The real crisis in this situation
is that even if all this hot air leads to some
policy or other, it never gets enacted. I
think that where we have failed in the last
25 years - those of us who are involved
in all this - is that there isnt a strong,
parallel, grassroots groundswell, which
is being empowered to challenge this
process and say, The city belongs to us
as much as it belongs to you!
- Sheela Patel, Director, Society for the
Promotion of Area Resource Centres(SPARC),

Increasing Urbanisation: As the pace of

urbanisation accelerates and more people and more
investment ows into cities, informal settlements
which used to be tolerated under a mutually
convenient coexistence are no longer acceptable,
as the formal world increasingly appropriates
the space they occupy for development. This
appropriation of land used to be incremental, so
evictions happened piecemeal, but globalisation,
speculation and the availability of limitless
international nance have put the heat on high,
and clashes between the formal and informal city
are on the rise.
Large Infrastructure Projects: Funded by
international development loans or built as joint
ventures between local entrepreneurs and the
international corporate sector, these megaprojects are causing huge evictions in Asian cities,
even though many are ill-conceived, over-priced
and considered unnecessary or insensitive by
communities, NGOs and the citizens.

Land Politics: A powerful nexus between developers,

bureaucrats and politicians is removing the poor from
valuable land, often in violation of state laws and
procedures, to build commercial real estate. The
nexus also manipulates the design of development
projects to cause displacement which they can
then utilise for their purposes. The developers fund
political parties and their candidates for elections to
national, provincial and local assemblies, thus giving
them an important say in the corridors of power.

Laws to Protect Communities from Eviction:

Laws or regulations to provide communities
protection from eviction or provide tenure security
dont exist or procedures for their application have
not been developed in most Asian countries. Even
where good laws do exist, they are being violated
with impunity because of the unequal power
relationship between poor communities and the
developer-bureaucrat-politician nexus.

Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Delhis Dilemma
by Aruna Sharma

ast Sunday, when villagers of a far-ung area in South-West

Delhi - Bakkarwala - broke the small check dams of their elds
to save their standing crop, they ended up ooding the settlements
of 1500 poor families living nearby.
These families have been rehabilitated in Bakkarwala under the
slum rehabilitation scheme of the Government, where 19 sq metre
and 12.5 metre plots are provided to the rehabilitated slum dwellers.
Many of them have been living in the central localities of the city
like Raghubir Nagar. Their children were attending established
schools and the families lived near their work places before they
were forced to shift to Bakkarwala, which is a two-hour drive from
the heart of the city. In their new place of dwelling, hardly any
facilities have been provided and few employment opportunities
exist. Their makeshift primary school was destroyed in last weeks
This recent incident reiterates the poor living conditions provided
under the slum resettlement scheme being implemented by
the Government. It simply entails shifting the slum settlers from
centrally located places to slum like conditions in far ung areas
of North and South-West Delhi.
This type of policies have been followed by the Government ever
since the mid-1970s when 250,000 slum dwellers were relocated
in 46 settlement colonies and the city was virtually wiped clean of
slums. But, today there are an estimated 600,000 slum dwellers in
a population of 4 million in central Delhi.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has begun a new
initiative modelled on similar schemes implemented in Mumbai.
After a survey of 14 slum clusters, they have selected 3 from east

and south Delhi for the project which will provide the slum dwellers
with multi-storeyed ats at a nominal cost.
By building multi-storey dwellings to replace the one-storey buildings
they have been living in, will release a portion of the encroached
land for the development of commercial properties and plots. The
commercial venture will cross subsidise the housing for the poor.
In Mumbai, slum dwellers are provided with multi-storeyed ats
free of cost right next to the residential or commercial complexes
developed by the private builders. In lieu of the investments made
by the builders in housing for the poor, the Government gives them
credit by way of extra FAR (oor area ratio).
These additional spaces can be sold at market rates to recover
the money invested. Builders are even allowed to sell off the FAR
credit termed transferable development rights for projects outside
the building site, thus helping to encourage development outside
the city centre.
Some development planners are however worried that such schemes
may encourage more people to come to the city. Syed Sha, the rst
Chief Planner with the Government of India and currently a consultant
for the National Institute of Urban Affairs warns that approximately
400,000 people from the adjoining states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
migrate to Delhi every year and if we dont simultaneously look into
the reasons for such large scale migration to the capital, we will face
a situation where the more amenities we provide, more will be the
number of people clamouring for such amenities.
This article was written (in 2003) as part of the TUGI
fellowship programme on urban governance reporting.


The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) estimates,

that in 2001 and 2002 alone, 1.8 million people were evicted
from their homes and another 3.9 million were under
immediate threat of eviction in Asia.
In the last three months of 2003, over 15,000 poor people
were evicted from their homes in Jakarta as the city
governor began a campaign to clean up the city. An ACHR
fact nding mission reported that eviction operations in
Jakarta often involve the mobilisation of thousands of
municipality guards, hundreds of policemen and soldiers
armed with tear gas pistols, guns and rubber sticks, and the
use of bulldozers, open trucks, vans and police cars.
Sutiyosos Statistics

etween 2001 and 2003, Jakarta Governor

Sutiyosos campaign has resulted in:
10,321 families (50,000 people) being evicted
24,748 street vendors and street stalls being
evicted and their carts and stalls smashed
550 street musicians being arrested
17,103 becaks (pedicabs) being conscated or
destroyed, rendering 34,000 men jobless.

Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights


For Sutiyoso, the Jakarta Governor, the campaign is all

about making Jakarta a clean, orderly, and competitive
city. He argues that eviction means giving back the land
being seized by the poor to the legal owners . He was
quoted in the Kompas newspaper as saying that side
walk vendors often seize public facilities. Consequently,
economic growth will be suspended and that will affect
national economic growth.

In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the Pasig River

ows through nine of Metro Manilas 17 municipalities. In
1998, the Philippine Government launched the Pasig River
Rehabilitation Project (PRRP), with a large loan from the
ADB, which aimed to clean up the river, clear ten-meter
wide Environmental Preservation Areas (EPAs) for ood
protection along its banks and stimulate urban renewal
in areas up to 500 meters from the river.
Pasig Rivers banks are dotted with some very large and
long-established informal settlements, where tens of
thousands of people live, some established as government
relocation colonies during the Marcos dictatorship.
Between 1998 and 2000, the clearing of these ten-meter
EPAs led to the eviction and relocation of about 5,000
poor households to remote resettlement sites.
As the opposition grew to the large and sometimes
violent evictions taking place along the Pasig River, more
and more voices in the city began to question the need
for the huge displacement of people and deepening of
poverty the project was causing. The message coming
from the riverside communities was clear: we are ready
to cooperate with the citys ood protection project and
work together to clear the EPAs, as long as nobody gets
evicted, and we can develop our own plans for making
room for everyone who was displaced within the same
area, with secure tenure and ADB project funds.
Since Pakistan was formed in 1947, the government has
had a relatively tolerant attitude towards squatters. In a
way, it had little choice, because half the countrys urban
population came in part of the massive tide of refugees
from India during the partition. Thus, they were sheltered in
what are now called katchi abadis (squatter settlements)
established on government land.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Things began to change during the 1960s, when

the military government began bulldozing inner-city
settlements and pushing people into remote townships.
But in the 1970s, a series of socialist legislations were
enacted to regularise these katchi abadis, which
continue till today and which have allowed some of
Asias largest informal settlements to gradually become
established neighbourhoods, where 5.5 million people
But a new land grab is emerging in Pakistan, with a new
development paradigm based on market economics, and
land - whether private or public - is increasingly perceived
as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder. Thus,
Pakistans cities are developing all kinds of mega urban
development projects which in the coming decades will
displace hundreds of thousands of families. A powerful
developer-politician-bureaucrat nexus has subverted the
city planning and investment processes behind these
projects in order to evict more families than is actually
necessary, as a sneaky way of grabbing valuable but
already-occupied land for lucrative developments.

Baseco - When Authorities

Listen To The Poor

aseco is an enormous settlement

of about 6,000 households built
on low-lying land at the mouth of the
Pasig River and extending out into the
Manila Bay. The views are spectacular
from out there, but at high tide, the
water comes right up to the oors
of houses that arent built on stilts. In
2001, Baseco was identied as one of
the high-priority areas to be upgraded
on-site under the Pasig River project.
But since secure land tenure was a
precondition for accessing upgrading
funds from the project, Basecos
community organisation, Kabalikat,
lobbied hard for the land to be given
to them. And in February 2002, the
land was proclaimed by President
Arroyo as a residential site for the
people who lived there. The plan the
communities developed in Baseco
keeps the 10-meter easement
required by the project, which
becomes usable public open space,
and makes room through reblocking
and readjustment of the community
plan for all the families who lived in
that easement. The redevelopment
includes schools, basketball courts,
markets, clinics, and will involve
negotiating low-interest CMP loans
for redevelopment on site.
Source: Urban Poor Associates, Manila

The Root Cause of Eviction

here isnt much point ghting evictions

without understanding the deeper forces
which create them. Land hunger and money
are a big part of it, of course, but governments
also have strong ideas about the image of the
city and what is benecial for the city, and these
play a role in evictions. In Karachi, we also have
a whole range of parallel aid and development
projects that dont meet each other, run by
different agencies, each doing their separate
work according to their separate agendas,
creating very fractured development. They are
all very pro poor, of course, but these projects
manage to get taken over by the very powerful
nexus of developers, politicians and bureaucrats
and turned into projects which are disastrous for
the poor - and for the rest of the city as well. In
all this, poor communities, which are the weakest
actors, just get pushed around, unless they can
link themselves to some part of the political
process. When poor community organisations or
citizens groups try to involve themselves in this
planning process, they come up against big gaps
- in the citys understanding of urban realities,
and in citizens awareness about what ofcials
are up to. And about that you need discussion
and debate, and a place where these things can
be argued between the different actors.
-Arif Hasan, a founder of the Urban Resource Centre,
Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights


The Highway to Hell

ver since the 1980s, when the international

nance institutions began extending limitless
credit to countries in the region, no matter
how poor or how corrupt, the engineers and
consultants have been having a eld day drawing
up the mega development projects which have by
now displaced millions and heaped inappropriate
planning and massive debt on most of Asias

Karachis Grim Facts


One such project is Karachis Lyari Expressway, a

project being aggressively pushed by the military
government and as bitterly opposed by its citizens.
This 16.5 km highway, will cause the citys largestever evictions of old communities and businesses,
with 25,400 houses, 600 industrial units, 3,600
small businesses, 20 schools and 146 places of
worship along the river bed to be demolished.

Evictions of poor households in Karachi have

increased dramatically in recent years.

Between 1992 and 2002 over 17,728 houses and

shops have been bulldozed by various government
agencies and 3,830 houses burned down.

Another 50,000 houses are under immediate threat

of eviction, mostly along railway tracks and in the
Lyari River bed.

Since its difcult to do legally, eviction is increasingly

carried out illegally and brutally by the developerpolitician-bureaucrat nexus.

After vigorous opposition, public hearings and

discussions on proposed alternatives, it was
decided in 1998 that the Northern Bypass was a
better solution and the project was cancelled. But
then in June 2000, the new military government
decided to build both the Northern Bypass and
the Lyari Expressway. The National Highway
Authoritys brochures call it the gift of the 21st
Century to Karachites but the media calls it the
Highway to Hell. Despite the huge public outcry,
the government began bulldozing in January

Source: Urban Resource Centre, Karachi.

Source: Urban Resource Centre, Karachi.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Thousands Face Eviction for

Controversial Highway
Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Pakistan, Nov 11 (IPS) - The Lyari

Expressway project, conceived in 1989 to relieve
transport congestion in the inner-city wards of Karachi,
is a 16.5 kilometre high-speed roadway that will be
used extensively by heavy vehicles.
Noman Ahmed of the Department of Architecture and
Planning at Karachis NED University of Engineering
and Technology is amongst the projects most
vociferous critics. The expressway was not conceived
as a part of any integrated transportation planning
strategy, the most important being the Karachi
Development Plan (of 1973-1985), he said.
It was superimposed without any technical vetting
and independent evaluation, he added. This aspect
alone is enough to render it controversial.
From all accounts, the experiences of the tens of
thousands of project-affected people who have been
evicted and face eviction should be controversial
enough to warrant a complete re-examination of
the 500-million-rupee (about 8.7 million U.S. dollars)
I put in 23 years of hard work to call a place
my own and I am given only 24 hours notice to
evict. And then, right in front of my very eyes, my
lifetimes accomplishment is bulldozed to the ground
ruthlessly, was the lament of 54-year old Mohammad

A year ago, Zaman had bought a small general store

for the equivalent of 430 U.S. dollars. He had also
built a house for his family of 13, which cost 2,600
U.S. dollars. What do I get in return? he asked.
Just 860 U.S. dollars and a plot of 80 square metres
in a godforsaken place.
The impact of having their homes destroyed reaches
into many aspects of peoples lives. Zamans eldest
son was set to graduate this year, but was forced
to abandon his studies and work in a factory to
help meet family expenses. Zaman himself works
as a caretaker in a factory to earn 1.7 U.S. dollars
a day.
People who live in air-conditioned palaces have
no idea what it takes to build a home that takes
a whole lifetime, Shabbir told IPS. A potter till he
met with an accident and lost his ngers, he found
himself forced to beg to survive.
After four years I was able to buy a donkey and
a cart and worked as a labourer, Shabbir said. Id
saved enough to build a home I could nally call
my own. Id come a long way, and now what do I
have? Just ruins.
In June 2000, when the government of the province of
Sindh decided to construct the expressway, Shabbir
was just another statistic. By the time evictions began
in January 2001, the government had estimated that
almost 12,000 houses, 42 religious places including
mosques, churches and temples, and 1,035 commercial
premises would need to be razed to make way for the
Lyari Expressway.


According to surveys conducted by the Urban

Resource Centre, a Karachi-based NGO, until
now more than 7,400 units (both residential and
commercial) have been razed and over 30,000 have
lost their jobs.
Despite opposition from those directly affected by the
project and civil society groups, and despite reports
filed by fact-finding missions from international
NGOs like Habitat International Coalition and the
Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, the bulldozing
has continued.
Musarrat and her family were among the rst to move
from a site along the expressway to a resettlement
zone. The government has plunged us into hell, she
said bluntly. When she and her family arrived, she
said, there was no water, electricity or gas to cook
with. Even now there is no sewage, the school has
few teachers who come and go when they like, and
the small dispensary is ill-equipped.
To keep the family fed, Musarrats mother-in-law,
now in her seventies, goes out before sunrise to look
for wood. She comes back by nine with her hands
bleeding and sore because of the thorny bushes from
where she nds the twigs for the re, said Musarrat.
Like her neighbour Ghulam Fatema, Musarrat has been
forced to sell her jewellery to make ends meet.


Those who must wait for the inevitable do so with

resigned desperation. In areas that have been marked
for demolition but where the razing has not begun,
like in the Muslimabad Colony, Mohammad Hanif
has removed the doors and windows from the walls,

and has even dismantled the roof of corrugated

He plans to reuse them when we are evicted to a
resettlement area. Meanwhile, Tariq Butt, a 25-yearold tailor, nds the waiting agonising for himself and
his family. We are so scared that we think of nothing
but being left out in the cold, he said.
How many fear being left out in the cold? The factnding missions point to a discrepancy between the
number of families to be evicted. According to the
government the number is 16,000 whereas NGOs say
25,000 families will be evicted. However, there is no
ofcial list of the families to be evicted.
Without either public hearing or an environmental
impact assessment study, as environmentalists claim
the project lacks, Professor Ahmed has raised the
question of the expressways very legitimacy. He speaks
of the real estate windfall that awaits whichever agency
controls the project area following completion.
Previous plans showed an allocation of about 400
feet wide [for the expressway corridor] but now it is
informally reported as being more than 800 feet, he
pointed out.
This is substantiated, he said, by the demolitions done
to clear the corridor. Obviously a major beneciary of
the project will be the agency which owns the project,
ownership that extends to the priceless land parcels
created along the carriageway.
Source: Inter Press Service (IPS)

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

To Make Room for Developers, Even the

Dead are Being Evicted

he demand for land is so acute and the nancial

stakes in real estate development are so huge
that even Asias traditional respect for the dead is
under challenge, as governments move to make
graveyards available for real estate development.
In the past two decades, the tiny and crowded
island nation of Singapore (where 4 million people
share 650 square kilometres of land) has exhumed
36 cemeteries of different races and religions in
an ongoing government project to make room for
housing. The project is fuelled by a hunger for
land and a new policy which limits the tenure of
graves to no more than 15 years. In the sprawling
26-hectare Bidadari Cemetery, one of S.E. Asias
largest Christian graveyards, 58,000 dead were
gently evicted to make way for a centrally-located
neighbourhood of 12,000 high-rise ats, subway
stations, parks and shops. Another 68,000 bodies
were to be exhumed from a neighbouring Muslim
section and reburied elsewhere.
To keep with Asias traditional respect for the dead,
the government published notices of the exhumation
in newspapers, saying that the bodies are dug up,
using only hand tools. All unclaimed bodies will be
cremated by the government, and ashes that are
not reclaimed by relatives within three years will be
scattered at sea. Corpses of people from faiths
which ban cremation, including Muslims, Jews and
Parsis, will be reburied elsewhere.
Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

Nearly a third of Thailands urban population of 22.3 million

people live in the countrys 5,500 informal communities,
some as tenants and increasing numbers as squatters.
3,750 of these communities (of which about 60% are on
private and 40% on public land) are facing some threat
of eviction.
It isnt easy to evict poor families in Thailand, and the
poor communities understand this and they use timeconsuming and expensive tactics to thwart such efforts.
Yet, the private landowners, also devise various methods
to get them out.
Eviction on private land often becomes an issue when land
prices go up or land rights are transferred to a younger
generation more likely to kick people out to develop or sell
their land. When they are unable to get the people out,
some resort to intimidating families or other tactics such
as using black magic on the community, starting rumours
of ghosts to scare them away or using hired thugs to
threaten them. A combination of continuing intimidation
and increasing offers of compensation are usually enough
to persuade more people to go at this stage.

Prole of Bangkoks Slums

There are 1,300 slum communities

in Bangkok inhabited by 880,000
people, comprising 210,000 families
in 180,000 houses.

Th e B a n g k o k M e t r o p o l i t a n
Administration spends US$7 million
annually on slum improvement.

One third of the population in the

communities has lower than primary
school education, but, 100 percent
of children aged 7-14 have gone to

82 percent of people in the

communities are employed.

79 percent of all communities have

no serious crimes.

90 percent of newborn babies are

within the standard weight range
and 96 percent of children below
6- years old are vaccinated.

93 percent of families can access

clean water and 84 percent of the
communities have taken part in the
Public Sanitation Campaign.

56 percent of all persons have

no narcotics problems and 59
percent of the communities have no
gambling problem.
Source: Paper titled Working together to
improve slums (ADB)


Ancestors Join The Battle Against Eviction

ne of Bangkoks longest and most celebrated

eviction struggles ended in May 2001 when the
Expressway and Transit Authority (ETA) announced it
was nally abandoning plans to build a controversial
expressway on-ramp through Ban Khrua, a historic
community of 1,200 wooden houses, built along one of
Bangkoks last navigable klongs (canals), surrounded
by skyscrapers and roaring expressways.
The announcement brought to a triumphant end a
battle that had raged since 1987, when a decision
was announced to construct the ramp to ease
trafc congestion. Besides expropriating half the
community and bulldozing the mosque and cemetery
at its centre, the expressway would cover what was
left with ten lanes of roaring trafc. The spiritual life
of this Cham Muslim community is closely attached
to this land, which was granted by the King to their
ancestors, who now rest in the two-centuries old
graveyard in the heart of Ban Khrua.
As soon as they learned of the plan, the people
took to the streets in outraged but peaceful protest.


Ban Khruas highly-organised fight against the

expressway included meetings, protest marches,
sit-ins, rallies, symposiums, exhibitions and behindthe-scenes detective work. To counter the threat
of arson, which in Bangkok is a dirty but common
strategy for clearing old settlements, the community
maintains three re stations, each with 20 trained
volunteers operating in shifts 24 hours a day,
and eight motor boats fitted with sophisticated
reghting equipment.
From the beginning, community members attended
all ETA meetings. Two public hearings determined
the on-ramp was unnecessary, but powerful
retailers kept pushing the project to improve
parking access to nearby shopping malls. But, Ban
Khruas sustained resistance won the day and the
respect of many of Bangkoks academics, historians,
journalists, neighbourhood groups, human rights
activists and senior ofcers at National Housing
Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Land Rights: The Central Issue in the Pacic

When Vanuatu became independent in 1980, it
abolished freehold property and returned all land to its
customary owners. In 1987, when it appeared in Fiji that
a government dominated by Indo-Fijians - descendants
of indentured labourers brought to Fiji by the British
to work in their sugar plantations - would rewrite the
laws protecting Fijian land rights, the military staged
two coups. And in 2003, when the PNG government
moved to amend the Customary Land Act to make it
mandatory to register all native land, there was a week
of rioting in the streets of Port Moresby.

squatter population in the city from 51,925 in 2001 to

60,000 by April 2002, mainly due to the expiry of land
It is not only in Fiji, but, right across the Pacic squatter
communities have sprung up as people ock to the
cities in search of higher aspirations.

Underlying many political issues in the South Pacic

is the fundamental question of land rights. Land is a
scarce commodity in these small island states, and the
indigenous peoples want to maintain their customary
There is an obvious clash between western land use
concepts and the communal land ownership and usage
principles of native Pacic Islander communities.
This is the dilemma facing urban councils right across
Fiji and it is a more severe problem in the capital Suva.
There are some 60,000 squatters in the city. Their
numbers have increased signicantly in the last few
years, when the sugar cane farm leases expired and
many Indo-Fijians who cannot own native land in Fiji,
moved to the city in search of jobs and education for
their children.
A study in Suva by the Squatter Resettlement Unit of
the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Squatter
Settlement and Environment, found an increase in the


Native Land Rights of

No Help to Squatters

services and street lighting and is trying to develop

alternative land to move them to.

TAVUA, Fiji, Dec 11, 2003: Some 40 squatters live

on prime real estate on a hilltop overlooking the ocean
in this coastal town some 300 kilometres from the
Fijian capital Suva, but the beauty of the environment
masks the displacement that brought them here in
the rst place.

The number of squatters in the capital Suva has

grown at a faster rate, after leases for sugarcane
farms expired and many Indo-Fijians, who cannot own
native land here, moved to the city in search of jobs
and education for their children.

The squatters became homeless after the expiry of

leases with native owners of the land they were living
These people nd it cheaper to squat than rent. They
need to stay in town for jobs, Charan Singh, mayor
of the Tavua Town Council, told IPS. They use all the
services of the town, but, dont pay any rates.
They do not pay rent, but under Fijian law, living in
one place for more than three months makes them
eligible to vote in council elections. In other words,
town councillors have to cooperate with the squatters
because in most of the towns, they will decide who will
be elected to the council, added Singh.
Our land got reserved as customary land and I couldnt
afford to rent a house, so came to live here, because
I needed money to educate the children, explained
Sesa Reddy, who has squatted on this crown land
since 1982.


Now his daughter is married and lives in New Zealand,

while his son works as an engineer in Suva. But, he
added, I depend on the town council to protect us, so
we have a home.
The town council has provided them with water

A study in Suva by the Squatter Resettlement Unit of

the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Squatter
Settlement and Environment, found an increase in
the squatter population in the city from 51,925 in 2001
to 60,000 by April 2002, mainly due to the expiry of
land leases.
The major increase in squatters started in December
2001 when 4,000 leases expired, Dharam Lingam,
director for housing and squatter settlements in the
ministry, said in an interview.
Almost all the squatters are Indo-Fijian sugarcane
farmers, descendants of indentured labourers brought
from India by the British. They do not have rights to
own customary land, which belong to the indigenous
people of the islands.
But if you keep on evicting these people when the
leases expire, theres no way we can solve the squatter
problem, added Lingam. He says there are 182 squatter
settlements in Fiji, and the government may be able to
develop only two per year.
When the government develops crown land for squatter
resettlement, with water, sewerage and electricity, we
ask them to pay only 50 percent of the development
cost, through an interest-free loan over 10 years and
they get the land free, he explained.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

It is not only in Fiji, but, right across the Pacic that

informal settlements have sprung up as people ock
to the cities in search of higher aspirations.
In the paper When Village Comes to Town presented
at a Pacic regional workshop on urban governance in
Nadi in December, Alastair Wilkinson, regional advisor
for social development and planning of the Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacic, argued
that squatter households are making a substantial
contribution to urban development.
He explained that they participate in the formal
economy, often as a labour force, so these communities
must be empowered to take initiatives and form
effective partnerships with customary landowners, local
councils and the government.
As urbanisation gathers pace across the Pacic, even
small island nations like Kiribati are experiencing
a similar trend. Forty-three percent of its 84,000
population live in South Tarawa, a suburb of its
With increasing urbanisation, issues of urban poverty
and inequality are now coming to the fore with urban
squatter settlements now visible in all major Tarawa
towns and villages, Erene Nikora, director of lands of
Kiribati, told the Nadi workshop.
Eighty percent of land in Kiribati is customary land, and
he warned that any tampering of the customary land
tenure system may have serious ramications for the
social and cultural system.
If efcient urban development and growth is to be
achieved, changes to customary land matters need
to be put in place, he added. There needs to be a

refocusing of the positioning of the landowner in the

planning and the land production process.
But there is no need to dismantle the traditional landowning system in the Pacic, argues Stan Vandersyp,
director of development and economic policy planning
of the Pacic Island Forum nations budget spent in the
capital Honiara, where only 15 percent of the population
lives, people from the outer islands have ocked to the
capital in search of better opportunities.
People from other islands came and settled in
Honiara on (customary) land belonging to the local
people, Buddley Ronnie, chief physical planner of
Honiara City Council, explained in an interview. This
created political problems and instability. It led to
ethnic conict.
Perhaps Samoa may provide a model for the Pacic
with its Fono (Village) Act passed in 1990, under which
traditional landowners are given municipality-like
powers to administer their villages.
It is the villages responsibility to look after the laws and
they impose nes and penalties for breaking these,
Faafetai Sagapolutele, principal urban management
ofcer of Samoas planning ministry, told IPS.
He explained that the communitys drainage and
garbage disposal services are also contracted to the
fono by the government.
We see the process as community driven because
they feel ownership of the process, so people in the
village prefer to live there and come to the city only
for work and for schooling, he said.
Source: Inter Press Service


Property Rights:
The one right that the poor need

will also show, with the help of facts and gures

that my research team and I have collected,
block by block and farm by farm in Asia, Africa,
the Middle East, and Latin America, that most of
the poor already possess the assets they need to
make a success of capitalism. Even in the poorest
countries, the poor save. The value of savings
among the poor is, in fact, immense forty times
all the foreign aid received throughout the world
since 1945.
In Egypt, for instance, the wealth that the poor
have accumulated is worth fty-ve times as much
as the sum of all direct foreign investment ever
recorded there, including the Suez Canal and the
Aswan Dam. In Haiti, the poorest nation in Latin
America, the total assets of the poor are more than
one hundred fty times greater than all the foreign
investment received since Haitis independence
from France in 1804.


If the United States were to hike its foreign-aid

budget to the level recommended by the United
Nations 0.7 percent of national income it
would take the richest country on earth more than
150 years to transfer to the worlds poor resources
equal to those they already possess. But they hold
these resources in defective forms: houses built
on land whose ownership rights are not adequately
recorded, unincorporated businesses with undened
liability, industries located where nanciers and
investors cannot see them. Because the rights to

these possessions are not adequately documented,

these assets cannot readily be turned into capital,
cannot be traded outside of narrow local circles
where people know and trust each other, cannot be
used as collateral for a loan, and cannot be used
as a share against an investment.
In the West, by contrast, every parcel of land, every
building, every piece of equipment, or store of
inventories is represented in a property document
that is the visible sign of a vast hidden process that
connects all these assets to the rest of the economy.
Thanks to this representational process, assets can
lead an invisible, parallel life alongside their material
existence. They can be used as collateral for credit.
The single most important source of funds for new
businesses in the United States is a mortgage on
the entrepreneurs house. These assets can also
provide a link to the owners credit history, an
accountable address for the collection of debts
and taxes, the basis for the creation of reliable and
universal public utilities, and a foundation for the
creation of securities (like mortgage-backed bonds)
that can then be rediscounted and sold in secondary
markets. By this process the West injects life into
assets and makes them generate capital.
- Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Property Rights Essential For Good Governance

Interview with Hernando de Soto, President of the

Institute for Liberty and Democracy (Peru) and author

of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs
in the West and Fails Everywhere Else and the Other
Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World.

ernando de Soto: I dont see how you can provide

services adequately and have a collection system
that allows these services to be sustainable over time
without knowing what the property arrangements are
behind each plot of land. How are you going to know
how much electricity a particular town needs if you dont
now how many industries the town has? You wouldnt
even know what kind of transformers to put into place.

If you dont put in transformers with a high enough

voltage, theyll blow up. If you put too much voltage in,
youll be paying much more than you need to. So you
need the kind of information that comes with a property
rights system.
You also need, by the way, the accountability that comes
from the property rights system. Im not talking about
titling but about the social contracts at the bottom of
the social ladder, where the majority of the population
lives. In other words, a property rights system isnt about
how pieces of land are connected but how people are
connected. What do they accept as punishable offences?
What kinds of incentives do they respond to? Until

you know those things, you wont know what kind of

governance is needed.
So I am not saying that other reforms arent necessary;
Im simply saying that a property rights system is a
principle reform, without which other reforms are difcult
to manage. Its quite clear that property law alone does
not resolve the other problems. But to me, what is also
quite clear is that without property law, you will never
be able to accomplish other reforms in a sustainable
Source: Carnegie Council on Ethics and International
Affairs, 2004

I need to settle these people

elsewhere rst. They are
my constituents...
This is a real scenic location,
I will buy this land to
build my resort!


n urban Asia, 700 million people,

constituting half the population,
do not have adequate water, while
800 million people, or 60% of
the urban population is without
adequate sanitation
- Water and Sanitation in the Worlds
Cities report released by UN-Habitat at
the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in
Marchy 2003.

alf the worlds population - 3

billion people live in urban
areas. Among them, almost 1 billion
are desperately poor and live in
slums without even the most basic
services like sustainable sanitation.
H o w e v e r, t h e d e v e l o p m e n t
community continues to focus on
sanitation needs as though only
rural areas are in need of them. The
lions share of development aid for
sanitation goes to rural areas, while
developing world cities are home
to the majority of poor sanitationrelated death and disease.
- Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of


Urban Issue #2: Safe Water and

Sanitation for Urban Communities
Adequate supplies of safe water and access to
sanitation are essential for a healthy and productive
life. Water that is not safe for human consumption and
inadequate sanitation can spread disease and cause
pollution, adding to health and environmental problems
in urban centres.
For most cities, providing an adequate and safe supply
of clean water for domestic and industrial uses is a
major problem. In spite of signi cant investments,
the sewage systems in many major cities still cannot
support a high-density urban environment, and sewage
is still often discharged directly to drains or waterways,
or disposed of in individual septic tanks that are poorly
The 2000 WHO and UNICEF statistics for Asia reveals
that Afghanistan has by far the lowest percentage of
urban population with access to improved water sources
(19%) and sanitation (25%) in the region. However, in
absolute terms China and India have by far the largest
number of urban people (more than 20 million each)
without access to a safe water supply.
In most countries sanitation services are less developed
than water supply, with 23% of urban residents still
lacking adequate sanitation, compared to only 7%
lacking access to improved water sources. More
than 50% of the urban population in Afghanistan and
Mongolia still have no access to improved sanitation.
Globally, more than 2.4 billion people are without
adequate basic sanitation facilities and UN-Habitat

reports that city level data indicates 55% of the

population in Asias large cities do not have toilets
connected to sewers. In India, more than 733 million
people out of population of 1,027 million, according to
the 2001 national census, either defecate in the open
or use insanitary buckets, dry privies or community
facilities. A 1998 survey of 7,512 slum households in
Ahmedabad found that 80% had no water connections
and 93% had to rely on unhygienic communal toilets.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, Founder of the Sulabh Sanitation
Movement says that, poor sanitation coverage in India
is primarily due to insufcient motivation, a low level
of awareness of the problems and a lack of affordable
sanitation technology. Most of these people are from
lower socio-economic groups and are not aware of
the health and environmental benets of sanitation.
Sanitation is still not regarded as a high priority item
on peoples agendas, resulting in a lack of peoples

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Water Crisis - Asian Reality

An estimated 737 million people in rural areas and

93 million in urban areas still have no access to safe
drinking water.
An estimated 1.74 billion people in rural areas and
2.98 billion people in urban areas are denied access
to sanitation.
In 2025, urban cities in the Asia will not be sufciently
equipped to provide the estimated 56 % of the
population with access to safe water or sanitation.
In India, water consumption among the poor is
conned to less than 15 litres per capita per day
compared with the better off who consume up to
300 litres per capita per day.
In China, 400 of the countrys 600 northern cities are
facing severe water shortages, including half of the

Chinese population. The Worldwatch Institute predicts

that China will be the rst country in the world that will
have to restructure its economy in response to water
Asian urban poor spend a disproportionately large part
of their scarce disposable income on water from private
In Manila, the poor pay as much as 10% of their meagre
household income for poor quality water.
Bangladesh faces serious ground water arsenic problems
and is said to be in the midst of what the WHO calls the
largest mass poisoning of a population in history.

Source: Water for All: The Water Policy of the Asian Development
Bank, 2002


No More A Dirty Word

by Zofeen Ebrahim

iping his wet hands with the handkerchief

and twirling his moustache, the uniformed
policeman nonchalantly walks away without paying
Rs 2 for the toilet hes just used and come out from.
Another one comes out from the ladies side and is
just about to leave when I ask him if its for free for the
police, I really dont know but I never pay and then
adds, but if you insist, he says derisively, looking me
up and down with interest, Ill pay, it means nothing
to me and he throws a two-rupee coin at Shan, the
caretaker. As for Shan, he says he dare not ask.
These public toilets (one unit has four toilets
two for gents, two for ladies) have been built by
the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) in
partnership with the Town Municipal Administration
(TMA), at the busy City Court, near the National
Banks branch. So far the City Court has three such
units that are open from eight in the morning to four
in the afternoon. There is a second one near the
lock-up area and the third near the stamp ofce.


The one near the lock-up area has more women using
it. These women come from afar and spend the whole
day in the vicinity, says the old woman who is busy
sweeping the oor. A look at the inside of the toilet
shows they are far from maintained. While they are not
smelly, they are not spotless either. Syed Imran Naqvi,
the CPLC engineer accompanying me says, People
have to meet us half way. Here is a facility purely to
ease their hardship. Instead all we hear is complaints.
When we had put urinals, people said it was not right,
in our next units of toilets we just constructed Pakistani

style pans and people told us they cant squat. We just

cant seem to make people happy.
Of the hundred toilets CPLC had pledged to construct
about three years back, they have, so far, built 26
units comprising 92 toilets in various areas of Karachi.
Shamim Junejo, chairman of the Public Toilet Committee
(PTC) formed by the CPLC does not feel in the least
cowed down by peoples unconcerned and apathetic
attitude towards sanitation. Given time, things are
bound to improve, he says optimistically. Remember
the time when public telephones were rst installed and
people vandalized them? Its the same situation. But we
hope to keep making the facility available till people
realize its for their convenience. Once that comes about,
half the problem will be solved and it would be a major
battle won on the cultural front.
Jawed who runs a mens public toilet from six in the
morning to seven in the evening, outside the City Court
feels his business has denitely suffered since the
CPLC toilets came about. Those (CPLC) are much
cleaner, says a man who comes out after using his
facility. Jawed is least perturbed. They dont use it
properly. I will not clean after each and everyone. I just
clean twice a day once in the morning and once in the
afternoon. What if a woman wants to relieve herself?
Well they can use it if they are in dire need, but generally
they dont, he says as if women dont feel the need.
In the meantime, we have people, mostly men and
children, carrying out their most private act in full
public glare, along roadsides, on pavements and bus
stops, empty plots, along railway tracks or open drains,
squatting or standing. What is more dreadful is that
while men still have the option to relieve themselves

anywhere, anytime, women have to endure their

anguish in silence when the sun goes down or before
the sun rises. Even in a metropolis like Karachi, prior
to these CPLC toilets, most public toilets that existed
(and still do) in extremely dismal conditions there
were hardly facilities for women. The one at Frere
Market (popularly known as Akhbar Market) has
none. As such there is no separate facility for women,
but if a woman wants to use it they are free to, we
dont even charge them anything, says the caretaker.
The VIP toilet, in the same vicinity, and adjoining a
mosque, is a purely male domain. It wont even allow
that. At the Empress Market one nds a sign board
giving you direction both in English and Urdu, but the
facility again is for gents only and women can use it
when in dire straits.
In 1999, The Task Force on Municipal Services,
headed by Tasneem Siddiqui carried out a rst of
its kind survey to nd out more about the existing
sanitary conditions prevailing in the city with
particular reference to public toilets. At that time
the city was divided into ve districts and seeking
information regarding the plight of the toilets took a
good six months. We wanted to know the number
of existing toilets, their location, size, covered
area, method of management, availability of water,
drainage, sewerage and electricity connection as
well as the conditions prevailing and the repair
needed as well as estimated cost, he says.
The picture emerged was of course was far from
pretty. There were only 38 toilets in all and none
in District Malir. The plight was deplorable. Little
wonder then that people opted to squatting in public
view rather than using the dilapidated, stinky toilets,

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

which even the stray dogs refused to enter. Tasneem

Siddiqi puts the blame on the governments skewed
priorities. Like libraries, toilets fall on the lowest of
rungs as far as their priorities are concerned.
But people have to take the onus too. Most people are
not aware of the health and environment benets of
sanitation and since they dont consider it a felt need
therefore absence of participation from them. Almost
228,000 children under 5 years of age die (Ilyas,1997)
due to diarrhoeal diseases caused by inadequate access
to safe water, household and environmental sanitation
and poor hygienic practices. Access to sanitary latrines
at household level is very low at 53 % throughout
Pakistan (94% urban, 37% rural-PIHS, 1999).
It was only when CPLC got involved that things began
to look brighter. It showed enough enthusiasm to get
a donor to nance a few initial toilets. Shahid Abdullah,
citys leading architect, designed the rst model toilet,
which is now being replicated all over the city. Design is
kept simple and in a manner that it is easy to replicate.
The material used is cost-effective and indigenous.
Fixtures are such that they cannot be stolen. Emphasis
is on the toilets getting plenty of ventilation. The water is
supplied either through a connection, boring or storage
tank. Giving us water, sewerage and electricity are the
responsibility of the TMA as is the site. Sometimes the
site turns out to be a disputed one. In that case we do
a nal inspection and the process takes longer, says
Imran Faiz, incharge of the management of these toilets.
Once all the above is taken care of, CPLC jumps in
and starts construction. We sub-contract it or keep a
caretaker whom we pay a monthly salary, says Imran
Faiz. If the water, electricity and sewerage connections
are ready, it takes us a month to construct a unit, says

Imran Naqvi. However, if there is any urgency, it can

be done in 15 days.
This is a good example of public-private partnership
and must be replicated widely. In fact, so impressed
with the simple design, the Lahore horticulture
department has replicated the design, the material
and made 17 such toilets in the city 12 of which
are being run by the city district government and 5
are built on BOT (build, operate and transfer) basis.
Each unit (comprising 4 WCs and 2 washbasins)
costs Rs1 lakh, 70 thousand, approximately, and is
completed in two to two-and-a-half weeks, explains
Ikramullah Khan Niazi, deputy director, Parks and
Horticulture Authority, Lahore. The only difference is
that the Punjab government saw public toilets priority
enough to put in funds to the project.
While there is no denying that in this sprawling city
the old and new toilets dont seem to have made
much of a difference, there is need to appreciate
the role played by some concerned citizens who
have been going about making life a little easier
for the rest. In fact, if you ask, most people dont
even know that CPLC has been involved with
constructing toilets for almost three years an aand
all funding comes from philanthropists (Each unit is
built at a cost of Rs187,000,00 and the ush tank,
wash basin and the overhead tank are also donated
as are the sign boards).
Now the onus lies with the people to come forward
and own them for as Imran Naqvi says, Because
people have this warped mentality that its not their
property, they can use it anyway they like it, specially
since they are paying for it too.

In order to understand the under-lying factors

for sanitation at grass roots level being such
a low priority and to develop an effective
communication strategy for sanitation promotion,
UNICEF Pakistan carried out a comprehensive
national Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices (KAP)
study in 2001. A majority of respondents (64%)
regarded lack of money as the major hindrance
and lack of awareness as a second major reason.
It is interesting to note that people in Pakistan
generally invest a lot of money on construction
of houses, marriage, and medication but when it
comes to latrine construction, poverty is regarded
as the major hindrance, says the report.
Those who had latrines when asked to give three
reasons for constructing the latrine responded
with matter of pride as the top motivational
factor (i.e., 48%) and cleanliness and health to
be the second (43%). The rst response was
more from the rural respondents (55%). When
asked to chose an option for the advantage of
having a household latrine privacy emerged as
a key concern (58%) with convenience (16%),
and cleanliness (13%) taking the second and
third place respectively. Health benets ranked
lowest in the list of advantages which clearly
suggested a lack of awareness on how safe
sanitation facilities contribute to reduction of
many diseases.
(from Review, Dawn, Sept 11-17, 2003)
Source: Dawn , Pakistan
This article has been edited from an original produced
as part of the TUGI fellowship programme for South Asian
journalists on urban governance reporting.


Why the Poor are not being

The main reasons for the lack of
water services provided to poor
urban areas are:
a) Total available water is not
sufficient to cover the whole
b) Weak economic incentives to
deliver services in peripheral
c) Land tenure and physical layout
of housing in some areas prevent
extension of services.
d) Technical standards, pricing
and/or management structures
are not appropriate for this type
of customers.
Source: Promoting Effective Water
Management Policies, ADB


In addition to the lack of sanitation and access to water,

affordable water is a major problem in cities. A recent trend
across Asia has been to allow the private sector to build
and operate water services which used to be provided by
the public sector. Thus, more than half of the urban poor
in some countries are denied access to municipal water
supplies and are dependent on private vendors.
At least 40% of the regions urban poor have no piped
water in their homes. Poor people tend to dwell on the
outskirts of cities, or on marginal, unserviced land within
cities. In most cases, the price for water in areas not
covered by utility networks may be 10 to 20 times higher
than standard utility tariffs.
In some major cities, small-scale private water vendors
may account for as much as 70% of the total revenues
generated from water distribution. It is a common belief
that the urban poor are unwilling to pay for water. This
is not so argues the Asian Development Bank (ADB),
rather, the poorest people have to pay the highest price
for water.
Small-scale water vendors receive no government support
or subsidies, and therefore charge full price for delivery.
The economic impact of small water vendors on the sector
and on the poor is signicant. Thus, the ADB says, to
improve service delivery in urban and semi-urban areas, a
greater understanding of the economic impact of smallscale water vending is needed.
Lack of funds is usually the main reason why governments
settle for private sector involvement in the provision of
water for urban communities. Political shifts, such as
election of pro-market governments could also contribute
to such decisions.

For the private sector and its nancial partners the most
important criterion for getting into this sector is monetary:
prots. Thus, bankers and companies - very often foreign
multinationals - favour large scale projects worth millions
of dollars in population centres in excess of 1 million
people. Yet, most nance for investments in water and
sewage services in the cities of low and middle income
countries continues to come from development loans,
equity nance and the public sector, with comparatively
little investment from international corporations.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Poor Pay More for the Water

innie Flores lives on the Mangahan Floodway

in Metro Manila. She is one of about 3 million
people who, almost ve years after the privatisation
of Manila water supply, still have no access to piped
water. They pay almost as much for water as for
rent. Winnie could greatly improve the quality of her
accommodation and her dignity in the neighbourhood
if she could get connected to piped water. She sighs,
Its coming next year they say.
But she has heard that story for the past ve years.
Recently, when her husband lost his job, they and her

Why Many of the Worlds Poor

Pay More for Water

new study by the World Commission on Water for

the 21st Century, says poor people in the developing
world pay on average 12 times more per liter of water
than fellow citizens connected to municipal systems.
The Commission, chaired by Ismail Serageldin, World
Bank vice president of special programs says, many
cities subsidize water services in order to benet the
poor. This often results in inadequate services with
many of the rapidly growing poor neighborhoods
going without municipal services. The poor then end
up buying water, which can be dirty and contaminated,
from water vendors at many times the subsidized price
the rich pay for treated, piped water: 60 times more in
Jakarta, Indonesia; 83 times more in Karachi, Pakistan;
and 100 times more in both Port-au-Prince, Haiti and
Nouakchot, Mauritania.

four children had to move to cheaper accommodation

at 1,000 pesos (US$ 18) a month. Yet Winnie pays 900
pesos a month for 10 cubic meters of water, while
households connected to the water mains pay about
100 pesos a month for 20 cubic meters. She gets her
water from two sources. One is from an entrepreneur
who drilled a well and pipes it to a small number of
families in the neighbourhood. The water costs 44
pesos per cubic meter but is of poor quality. Twice
a day, a water vendor delivers 20-litre jerry cans of
drinking water from a water main about 2 km away. She
buys 4 containers a day at 5 pesos a container
Source: Habitat Debate, September 2003

It is stunning that the poor pay more than 10 times as

much for water as the rich do, and get poor quality water
to boot, says Serageldin. A direct link exists between this
lack of access and a host of diseases that attack the poor
in developing countries.
Compounding the problem is the quality of water sold by
vendors who respond to a need for water in the absence of
satisfactory formal services. The water is usually sold from
trucks that draw their water from polluted rivers and other
unknown sources, generally without any quality control.
The World Commission ndings result from a worldwide
consultation among water professionals and users as
part of the World Water Vision process, begun just a
year ago.
Source: The World Bank, 2004
Links: To learn more about the Global Water Partnership,
visit http://www.siwi.org.


In South Asia, where water services provided by the

public sector are unreliable, water vendors and tankers
are the main actors. Services provided by them are
mainly to give quick access to water when the public
utility fails, or to complement that source. Thus, the
private operators cater to high and middle income
households who can afford to pay and have the capacity
to store the water.
In South East Asia, where the level of services provided
by the public sector water utility is comparatively high,
resellers and water vendors are the main actors. They
provide water to low income groups who cannot afford
to pay for the water connections.
In recent years, local private water vendors have begun
building piped networks to serve their customers in
larger cities, funding the capital costs themselves. They
are most active in Cebu, Dhaka, Delhi and Ho Chi Minh
City serving a population in excess of 1 million.
Recently many global water corporations have begun
investing in local water industries across Asia and some
of their projects and investments have been questioned
by civil society groups. There are on-going protest
campaigns against privatisation of water supplies by
farmers and citizens groups in Sri Lanka, India, the
Philippines and Thailand, and they have been joined by
support groups in Europe, who are trying to stop the
European Community using foreign aid programmes to
open up the water market in the developing countries
for exploitation by European companies (see boxed


Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Water Vending:
Emerging Water Markets in India
By Pushpa Pathak, Urban Specialist, Water and Sanitation Program-South Asia

ith public utilities badly performing in water

supply, India has been a witness to the
emergence of water vending by private suppliers.
Several small-scale independent water providers have
found a market for water in towns and cities and these
providers are increasing the over all supply of water to
bridge the existing gap between demand and supply.
Over a period, three kinds of water markets have
emerged in Indian towns and cities. They are:
i) the market for large quantities of untreated water,
generally supplied through tankers by private
water vendors as a supplement for treated water
supplied by public utilities,
ii) a nascent but expanding market for highly priced
bottled drinking water, amongst the high and
middle income groups who are not satised with
the quality of water being supplied by public utilities
iii) an informal retail market for the urban poor who
either do not have access to or do not get the
desired quantity and quality of water.
For example, in 1999, private vendors provided 4% of
the total water supplied in Chennai. There were 80
licensed tankers that on an average made 3 trips a
day to ll and deliver untreated ground water drawn
from neighbouring rural areas. The water sold by
these tankers was priced between Rs.350 and Rs.400
per tanker. The vendors themselves paid just about

Rs. 25 to Rs.40 per tanker to farmers from whose

borewells they drew the water. Though the Tamil Nadu
government passed the Madras Metropolitan Area
Ground Water (regulation) Act, 1987, this did not result
in all existing wells or new wells getting registered.
The number of water tankers operating was much
higher than the licences given and the quantity of
water extracted was almost twice as much of what
was permitted by the government.
In the case of Tiruppur in Tamilnadu, such suppliers
meet about 65% of the demand of the textile industrial
units in the town at the rate of Rs. 22 per kilolitre. This
assured demand and the price they were willing to
pay has been the driving force behind the proposed
privatisation of water supply in the town.
Though these examples of water vending indicate
the emergence of an informal water market in India,
it is clear from the consumers perspective, this sector
needs to be recognized as complementary service
providers. However, the indiscriminate extraction of
ground water has serious negative implications and
therefore, appropriate regulation to conserve water
resources is essential. This, along with issues such as
discharge of untreated sewage into water bodies and
dumping of solid waste in water resources are issues
that need to be addressed while adopting a holistic
approach to urban water sector reforms.
Source: Change Management Forum


Call For Water To Be Declared A

Fundamental Human Right
BRUSSELS, June 12, 2000: Activists from seven of
the worlds poorest countries have called for access
to water to be made a fundamental human right
and brought under the democratic control of those
dependent on its use.
At a meeting in Brussels last week, the so-called P7
Summit - which groups together politicians, academics,
aid workers and environmental campaigners - issued
a declaration roundly condemning the use of water
as a commodity.
Treating water as a kind of petroleum to be traded
according to market principles would lead to further
environmental degradation, wasteful and inefcient
farming methods, greater water poverty and an
increased risk of conict, the conference concluded.
Honorary President of P7, Vandana Shiva, an Indian
activist, said that droughts and famines were less
the result of natural disasters and population growth
and more often due to World Bank funding for cash


crops requiring huge amounts of water. Describing the

Washington-based banks water privatisation reforms
as an organised theft of water from the poor, Shiva
added: the moment you let the market determine the
situation, all that will happen is that the swimming pool
of the rich will get a higher priority over the drinking
water of the poor.
The three-day conference, which was hosted by Green
members of the European Parliament (MEPs), rejected
the conclusions of the second ministerial World Water
Forum in the Hague in March this year, which treated
water primarily as an economic commodity and refused
to consider access to water as a human right.
The P7 meet concluded that all living beings have a
right to water as water is part of humanitys common
heritage. Calling for a new form of water democracy,
the conference declared that parliamentary assemblies
should be set up to manage large river basins and a
World Water Parliament should be established to lay
down common rules for the management of water
Source: Inter Press Service

Global Water Corporation Investments in Asia





South Korea





In March 2001, Vivendi secured a US $ 20 million, 20 year contract to operate and renovate a water plant in Tianjin, China. In December
the ADB extended a US $ 130 million loan to support the construction of the plant.
In 2002 both Suez and Vivendi signed long-term deals, some for up to 50 years, to manage municipal water systems in China, which
faces huge water shortages.
In March, 2002, ONDEO, Suezs water division, was given a 50 years contract worth Euro 600 million to design, nance, and manage
water treatment installations and services for the Shanghai Industrial Parks industrial waste.
New Delhis water supply is being privatised to Vivendi.
In 2000 Vivendi secured a US $ 7.2 million drinking water management in the State of Calcutta, according to the Global Water
In September 2000, Vivendi Water and Northumbrian Water Group (NLI) were offered a contract by the Bangalore Water Supply
and Sewerage Board (BWAAB) to manage the water services in two pilot projects comprising one million people each.
Degremont, a subsidiary of Suez is undertaking a project to design, build and operate drinking water production in Sonia Vihar, New
Delhi. The contract is worth Euro 50 million.
Thirty cities in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are preparing for privatisation of their
respective municipal water supply system.
In January 2002, Ondeo signed a build, operate and transfer wastewater contract worth Euro 200 million with Yangju, an urban city
located outside of Seoul.
In April 2001, the Korean city of Pusan contracted Ondeo to manage its wastewater management.
In 1997, the World Bank arranged the privatisation of the water services in Manila The contracts were awarded to Mayniland Water
Services,Inc (MWSI) and Manila Water. MWSI is owned by the wealthy Lopez familys Benpres Holdings, and partly owned by Ondeo
a subsidiary of Suez Lyonaise des Eaux. Manila Water is owned by Ayala family and backed by Bechtel.
Vivendi Water Philippines 25 year build-operate-transfer proposal to develop the water systems on Roxas City, Capiz has been put on
hold by the Regional Development Council Region VI.
In July 2001, Suez Lyonniase subsidiary, Lyonnaise Vietnam Water Company (LVWC) was given the contract to construct and operate a treatment
plant with a daily capacity of 300,000 cubic meter under a 25 year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Presently,
one third of households in Ho Chi Minh City depend on private vendors for water.

Source: European Water Corporations And the Privatisation of Asian Water Resources: The Challenge for Asian Water Security by Charles Santiago, TNI

Privatisation No Answer to
Water Scarcity


2004: U.N. Secretary-General
Ko Annan is sceptical that privatisation
of the worlds water supplies will help
resolve the problems facing more than
1.2 billion people globally who have little
or no access to safe drinking water.

CHENNAI, India, April 2, 2002: Privatising water

supply holds no new terrors for the inhabitants
of this southern Indian city, who are resigned
to uncertain supplies of a once freely available
natural resource that is now fast turning into a

busy encouraging residents to replace the water

they have been pumping out of the earth by
installing rainwater harvesting systems wherever
possible. It is far cheaper than people think - I
have had one installed in my home for less than
ten dollars, she said.

In the 29-page report released here,

Annan points out that private investors
have become more cautious and slowed
investments in the water sector, having
underestimated risks, overestimated
prots, and encountered contractual

We dont mind paying some money as we are not

made to waste hours waiting in a queue just for a
few litres of water, says Kamalam as she balances
a plastic container designed to fit neatly on her hip
after it is filled with the precious stuff.

Indian law holds that groundwater is not a common,

community resource but belongs to the landowner.
This has resulted in the uncontrolled use of
borewell technology which, apart from lowering
the water table, has also caused water supplies
to become heavily loaded with dissolved salt,
fluorine and arsenic. But there are other causes
of acute water shortages that are now a feature
of many of Indias cities urban settlements, among
them inadequate efforts at water conservation,
inefficient water use and the denial of control over
water resources to local communities.

In his report, Annan says that in view

of the apprehension about granting
local water monopolies to private
companies and, in particular, concerns
over the social impact of increases
in water charges, governments and
consumers in many developing nations
have not encouraged participation by
multinationals in the provision of water
According to the Millennium
Development Goals, approved by heads
of state at the UN Millennium Summit in
September 2000, an additional 1.6 billion
people will seek access to safe drinking
water by 2015.


Poor Governance Boosts Water Privatisation

If their needs are to be met, the UN

study says, developing nations will need
about 26 billion dollars to extend water
supplies over the next 11 years. But with
cuts in ofcial development assistance
(ODA), resources have been in short
supply worldwide.
Source: Inter Press Service

Hours spent at the filling up at the water tanker

or water pump means time away from household
chores and neglect of small children for women like
Kamalam, who take the brunt of water shortages
in the city.
It was not very long ago that water merchants
discovered a natural aquifer on the road to
Mahabalipuram, famed for its 7th century stone
temples, and made huge profits by moving the
water in tankers to be sold in the thirsty city. But
the mining rapidly lowered the water table in the
According to Shanta Sheela Nair, the topmost
bureaucrat in southern Tamil Nadu states water
department, it took strict enforcement of anti-water
mining legislation coupled with support from local
communities to stop the mining. And now, Nair is

What is worse than fluorine and arsenic is sheer

bad governance, declared L C Jain, former vicechairman of the World Commission on Dams at a
workshop on water policy in the city last week. The
workshop was sponsored by the World Bank.
Jain, a former member of Indias powerful Planning
Commission, says that what India now needs is a
massive rainwater harvesting programme carried
out by empowered panchayats or local bodies.
Source: Inter Press Service

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues


Crisis In Waste Disposal
Cities and towns in the Asia Pacific region are
producing waste at an alarming rate. It is anticipated
that the total amount of waste generation will double
by 2025, far surpassing the current capacity of waste
and treatment facilities.
Currently urban areas in Asia spend some US$ 25
billion on solid waste management per year and this will
increase to about US$ 47 billion by 2025. Yet, there is
a lack of adequate legislation to regulate and enforce
sustainable waste management, while there is also
a lack of political will in tackling this problem with a
long-term perspective.

A signicant amount of the solid waste generated in urban

centres is uncollected and either burned in the streets or
ends up in rivers, creeks, marshy areas and empty lots.
Waste that is collected is mainly disposed of in open
dumpsites, many of which are not properly operated and
maintained, thereby posing a serious threat to public
health. Only a few Asian cities have adequate solid waste
disposal facilities, such as Tokyo, Singapore and Hong
Kong. But even they have their share of problems in
dealing with the increasing volume of waste generated.

With an increasing consumerist culture engulfing

urban Asian societies with modernity seen in terms
of embracing a wasteful imported consumer driven
lifestyle, the problem of disposing the solid waste
created by this modernist lifestyle will become
increasingly difcult to solve without a political will
to address the cultural issues associated with these
social trends.
While the per capita incomes in urban centres across
Asia increase rapidly, so is the amount of solid waste
generated, with recent studies showing this trend to
avalanche within a few years. Though Asian cities have
a lower level of waste generation than Western cities,
yet, the quantum of waste is high because of higher
levels of population density in Asia. In addition, the
tropical weather in most of Asia, with high levels of
rainfall and humidity and the common method of open
pit dumping aggravate the problem.


Disposal Methods for Municipal Solid

Waste in Selected Asian Countries

GNP Per Capita Waste Generation in Selected Asian Countries







Middle Income:







High Income:
South Korea
Hong Kong







Source: World Bank, 1998

UWG = Urban Waste Generation




per capita

GNP = Gross National Product





per capita
Low Income:
Sri Lanka


2025 (predicted)
Land Disposal


Hong Kong
South Korea
Sri Lanka






Source: ADB, 1995

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Waste Disposal Quiz



Lack of landlls seems to be the main

problem, right? So why not just open up more

Nobody wants a landll in their backyard. Most old sites

are open dumps and not ecologically sanitary.
Thus, sites are located far away from human habitation,
which creates problems of transporting the waste for
dumping. Landlls anyway are a stop-gap solution to
the problem.

Get rid of the waste. Isnt incineration the


Incinerators can dramatically reduce the mass of solid

waste through combustion. However, they are highly
controversial as they generate toxic substances, including
dioxins and heavy metals that could be released into
the atmosphere in circumstances where enforcement
of environmental as well as safety regulations is

The government should exercise their

responsibility to get rid of our waste.

Waste management should be everyones business, as we

are the ones who make the consumerist decisions.
So all parties should play their role responsibly to manage
the waste problem.

Disposables are so convenient, its our right to

use it.

Disposables are quite indisposable when it comes to

waste management.
Think about it before using them.

Recycled stuff, like paper, are too expensive.

Why cant they reduce the price?

Economies of scale are an important factor here. So if

you buy more of it, the demand is greater and the cost
per unit and the prices will come down.

Source: Action for Better Cities Information Series, Centre for Environmental Technologies, Malaysia and UNDP-TUGI


Local Technology Raises Hopes

for Cleaner City
HO CHI MINH CITY, Dec 19, 2003 - Looking at piles
of domestic waste along the streets of this southern
Vietnamese city, Nguyen Van Hien, a visitor from the
central province of Nghe An, asked: Havent local
authorities heard about the Seraphin technology
Vinh in Nghe An province and Hue in Thua Thien
are the rst cities in Vietnam to adopt Seraphin, a
new waste treatment technology developed by a
local company, the Green Environment Technology
Development Joint Stock Co (GETDC).
Many environmentalists consider it among the best
local solutions so far for the problems of garbage
disposal faced by Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other
major cities in Vietnam.
While many developed countries have found hightechnology ways to process urban waste, in Vietnam
the problem of garbage disposal is a recent one, and
the idea of developing a cleanup technology suitable to
current technical and economic conditions in Vietnam
is still rather novel.
At present, GETDC has a 1.62 million U.S. dollar pilot
scheme in the central province of Thua-Thien-Hue.
The plant produces more than 14 tonnes of recycled
material each day from organic waste.
The Seraphin technology works by rst grinding mixed
garbage into small pieces. These are then separated
into soft organic material for fertiliser, and inorganic
and hard waste such as plastic and timber.


The hard waste is then ground further and

compressed at high pressure into a compound

material, which can be moulded into drain pipes,

construction materials or even furniture, according

Worse, the existing waste treatment facilities treat

only 12 percent of solid waste and rubbish collectors
recycle 13 percent, Nguyen said.

GETDEC ofcials say that a tonne of waste can

produce 350 kilograms of material for fertiliser
and 450 kg of other prod ucts, while 200 kg is
released as steam.

While its garbage problems mount, Vietnam however

cannot afford to import big and modern waste
treatment plants, not to mention technology transfer
and maintenance fees.

Ho Chi Minh City alone produces around 7,000

tonnes of trash each day and Hanoi, 800 tonnes
a day. Each person in the large cities of Vietnam
discharges 0.6 -0.8 kilograms of waste per day
- the bulk of them plastic bags.

The idea of squeezing trash under high pressure to

remove all liquids and recycling the remains came
from Nguyen Gia Long, a 47-year-old manager of
a hydraulic machine company.

Burial and burning are the only ways of dealing with

such large volumes of waste across the country.
Ho Chi Minh City has invested quite a lot in
building 10 dumping areas. But without adequate
treatment facilities, the sites quickly become a
danger to the population as they are all severely
Vietnam is facing a great challenge with its
environmental problem, with some 50,000 tonnes
of solid waste discarded per day, said Pham Khoi
Nguyen, deputy minister of the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Environment at the second AsiaPaci c International Conference on Pollutants
Analysis and Control last week.
By 2010, the amount of solid waste in Vietnam will
increase vefold, Nguyen said.
Nguyen said that 60 to 80 percent of solid waste
is collected and buried underground right now,
rather than treated, because the country does not
have enough waste treatment plants, and most of
them are located in large cities.

Using garbage to test his companys hydraulic press,

Long discovered that waste from 50 road sweepers
could be reduced to half a cubic metre. I was
surprised that the water in the garbage evaporated
under such strong pressure, he said.
Long later went into partnership with business
colleagues and developed the Seraphin
This is a great idea with a big future for us, as its
a new industry in Vietnam. We are the pathnders
in the industry, and the way of success is ahead,
said Thang, adding that GETDC plans to dig up old
garbage at lled-up landlls for recycling.
GETDCs two waste treatment plants in Hue
and Vinh central cities can handle 300 tonnes
of garbage per day. The company also plans two
more processing plants at landlls in the northern
port city of Hai Phong and in the northern province
of Bac Ninh. We hope to recover our investment
within 10 years if the projects are well-managed,
Thang said.
Source: Inter Press Service

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

How to reduce city waste by 23%

n the short span of two years, the city of Nagoya, Japan has reduced its waste by 23%. In 1998, the city
generated 1.251 kg of waste per person, per day but by 2000, the number had been greatly reduced to 0.955
kg i.e a total reduction from 1.02 million tonnes of waste to 0.79 million tonnes. This achievement is commendable
and more interesting is how this came about. Amongst the major measures that proved effective are listed
Control/reduction of waste generation:
Campaign for citizens - Lets reduce household garbage by 100 g every day!
Imposition of fees to collect and dispose of furniture, electrical appliances and large waste items from
Promotion of waste recycling
Promotion of locally-based resource collection activities with 3,100 regional bases and 107 school area-based
centers for resource collection.
Expansion of collection areas for used bottles and cans covered the entire city.
Introduction of designated plastic bags for garbage collection
Introduction of sorted collection:
The city held 2,300 local meetings to explain how to sort household garbage. Today, Nagoya citizens are
required to sort their garbage into 16 categories for municipal garbage collection. The citys personnel in
charge of collecting garbage from households put warning stickers on garbage bags if the garbage they
contained had not been properly sorted by category.
Source: Japan For Sustainability Network


n recent years, an increasing number of

Japanese have begun to realise that during the
Edo Period (1603 1867) their country had what
we now recognise in todays terms as a sustainable
society. The population was stable and the society
did not rely on material inputs from the outside. At
that time, Edo was considered the largest city in
the world with an estimated population of 1 million
to 1.25 million people (1720). In comparison, London
had about 860,000 people (1801) and Paris about
670,000 (1802).
Many are now trying to learn more about the social
system of that time and apply the wisdom of the Edo
Period in contemporary society and living. The basis
of its sustained economy and cultural development
was not mass production and mass consumption for
convenience, as we see in modern society, but rather
the full utilisation of limited resources. We thought
that it would be interesting to share with our readers
some of the more interesting reuse and recycling
practices from the Edo Period.


Specialised craftsmen
There were many kinds of specialised craftsmen to
repair pots and pans, wooden tubs, repair broken
items, including paper lanterns and locks, replenish
vermilion inkpads, and refurbish old Japanese
wooden footwear, mills and mirrors, to name a
few. For example, ceramics repairers glued broken
pieces of ceramics with starch extracted from sticky
rice and heated them for coagulation.

Learning From The Past

For A Sustainable Future
Used-paper buyers
These buyers bought old shopkeepers books,
sorted and sold them to paper makers. In those
days, Japanese paper (washi) was made of long
bers of over 10 mm, and specialised paper makers
bought and blended various kinds of used paper
to make a wide range of recycled paper, from
bathroom tissue to printing paper.
Used-umbrella rib buyers
Umbrellas in the Edo Period were made of bamboo
ribs with paper pasted on. Used-umbrella rib buyers
bought and collected old umbrellas and sold them
to specialized warehouses. At the warehouses
workers removed oiled paper from the ribs, repaired
the rib structures and then other workers were
contracted to paste new oiled-paper onto the ribs
to make new umbrellas. Incidentally, the oiled paper
from used umbrellas was removed and sold as
packaging material.
Singing collectors
Some traders walked around the town, singing,
lets exchange, lets exchange, and offered small
toys and candies to children in return for old nails
and other metal pieces the children found while
Candle wax buyers
Wax candles were a precious commodity.
Specialized buyers collected the drippings from
lit candles.

Ash buyers
Ash is a natural byproduct of fuelwood burning.
During the Edo Period, buyers collected ash and
sold it to farmers as fertilizer. Ordinary houses had
an ash box, and public bathhouses and larger shops
an ash hut for storage until buyers came by.
Human waste dipper
Even night soil was recycled in the Edo Period!
It could be called the ultimate recycling, and
German chemist Justus von Liebig, often described
as the father of modern agricultural chemistry,
praised use of night soil as fertilizer, saying that
it is an agricultural practice without peer in its
ability to keep cropland fertile forever and increase
productivity in proportion to population increases.
And there is a record that the rst Westerner who
saw the town of Edo was shocked, having never
seen such a clean city.
Source: Japan For Sustainability Network

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Urban Issue #4:

Moving Forward
- Problems with Urban Transport
One of the key elements to an efficient city is an
efcient transport system. A good transport system links
people, places, businesses, contacts, services and goods
seamlessly. However, many peoples experiences of public
transport leaves little to be desired. Right across urban
Asia, every year, many families are evicted to make way
for transport projects and historic sites are disturbed or
destroyed to build highways. Yet, it is a daunting task to
move forward in many of Asias city streets during the day
and even sometimes at night. What has gone wrong with
urban transport planning?
There is a clear relationship between transport services
and urban poverty, yet, this is a relationship which is
sometimes poorly understood and addressed. The crucial
role of transport in the quest for sustainable human
settlements and improving the lives of those living in
poverty has however been acknowledged at a number of
recent international meetings, particularly during Habitat
II in Istanbul in 1996 and at the Second International
Conference on Urban Poverty in 1997 in Florence.
What may be needed is a clear understanding that the
poor cannot afford cars and urban transport policies need
to be planned with less emphasis given to facilitating the
ow of motorised vehicles along urban streets.

he problem of urban transport in developing countries

like India is, no doubt, very special, because of the
combination of rapid demographic and economic growth,
enormous increase in travel demand, utterly deficient
capacities of the existing transport systems and turbulence
in the land development process during the current era
of transition. All this leads to a situation of considerable
unpredictability and a simultaneous need for extensive action
on the transportation system.
The accessibility is deeply biased towards favouring those
with access to private automobiles. The introduction of
motorised transportation and especially the automobile has
generated social disparities in accessibility. Under Indian
conditions, it is becoming difcult for any improvement to
restore the equity.
From the perspective of political science, two points emerge;
rst, transportation conditions are largely class-based. A few
people with access to cars appear to impose serious damage
on other road users, particularly pedestrians and damage on
others such as delays to transit users, fatal trafc accidents
and air pollution. It has become a moot point whether costs
should not be charged to the beneciaries. Second, these
damages are in fact neither assigned nor compensated.
They remain instead as externalised and uncredited costs
created by the unrestricted use of the automobile, based on
privileged mobility and freedom of access.
If this broad approach in equity is acknowledged, it
would warrant new approaches to policies for land
use, transportation and trafc management. Such new
approaches will have to be considered for accessibility and
the use of the street.
Many experts suggest Social Equity Paradigm in this
respect. This means that society should be assigning high
priority to investment in public transportation coupled with
restrictions of automobile use in the short run. In the long run
the society must arrange new patterns of land use.
- Dr. P.G. Patankar, Tata Consultancy Services in Urban Mobility
In Asia A Thematic Paper on Issues and Imperatives, 2000.


Free Homes and Tax Breaks Aid

Mumbais Ambitious Transport Project

ree homes and lower municipal taxes for

slum dwellers occupying public land has
helped quicken the implementation of road and
rail improvements projects in Mumbai.
The government of Maharashtra state is providing
free homes to nearly 20,000 families who live
on public land meant for the project collectively
called the Maharashtra Urban Transport Project
(MUTP) which is assisted by a World Bank


by Shiv Kumar

move. To make the transition smoother, the

Maharashtra government has waived some taxes
like stamp duties and lowered others, to make
the redevelopment scheme attractive for poor
slum dwellers.

Rehabilitation of the slum dwellers was one

of the conditions imposed by the World Bank
for funding the project said T. Chandrasekhar,
project director of MUTP.

Mumbai has a total population of 13 million

people and it is estimated that 88% of them use
public transport on a daily basis. Nearly 6 million
commuters or about half the citys population use
train services on weekdays. The railway stations
are connected to the interiors of the city by bus
networks run by the municipal BEST undertaking.
Its 3500 buses carry 4.5 million passengers daily,
most of whom use the vehicles to reach the
nearest railway station.

The state government has identified land

in different parts of the city and the first
construction of housing has already begun
with the rst batch of slum dwellers due to be
relocated in early 2004.

With stringent conditions attached to the World

Bank loan, the state government is coming up
with innovative schemes to remove obstacles
in the implementation of the project to improve
urban transport corridors in Indias leading city.

The slum dwellers will be given houses measuring

225 square feet on payments of just Rs 20,000.
The commercial value of these properties is
estimated at 30 times as much.

Analysts say, the problem of slum dwellers

has dogged the improvements of road and rail
trafc in Mumbai. In some areas like on the land
earmarked for the crucial Jogeshwari-Vikhroli
link road project, a handful of slum dwellers
obtained stay orders from various courts over a
period of over 20 years to prevent their homes
from being demolished.

Chadrasekhar believes that the prospect of

a proper flat complete with civic amenities
is enough attraction for slum dwellers to

Normally people living on land acquired by the

government for building city infrastructure are
only paid a fraction of the market value of the
property. Consequently people refuse to move
and end up with years of litigation. But currently,
residents of 7 buildings on land acquired for
additional railway lines at Ghatkopar who refused
to move were offered new ats of equivalent
area. They were also given tax concessions as
an incentive to move.
Consequently, the cost of relocating the slum
dwellers has been factored into the budget for
the MUTP and according to project of cials
nearly 8% of the US$ 945 million budget will be
spent for this purpose.
City authorities have thus responded to the poor
communities needs in this latest project. If the
residents had not agreed to the proposal, the
issue would have gone to courts and the (MUTP)
project would have been delayed said Dayanand
Shrivardhankar, joint project manager.
This article was written as part of TUGI-UNDP fellowship
programme on urban governance reporting.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Urban transport policies are today increasingly

dictated by narrowly defined economic efficiency
criteria, which does nothing to solve the transport
problems of the poor. When economic growth is on
the upswing, the expanding urban middle classes
find it affordable to buy a two-wheel motorcycle
or a small car. This was witnessed in Malaysia and
Thailand in the 1980s, and in India and China today.
This increased dependence on private motor vehicles
tends to encourage governments to emphasise road
building and improving the highway system, while
downgrading the variety of public transport available
to the poor or facilities for non-motorised transport
such as bicycles.
In most Asian cities, bicycles are within reach of
many poor households and have been widely used
for the last several decades, especially in countries
like China and India, and also in Indochina. Yet, as
part of an urban transport policy, governments have
not considered making special bicycle lanes along
highways or providing low-cost credit facilities for the
poor to buy bicycles.
According to findings of an UNDP study in 1998,
people living in poverty, travel on the average, less far
and make fewer trips because the current transport
choices are beyond their means. There are intimate
links between the mobility of the poor and their range
of housing and employment options. For low-income
people in many Asian cities even public transport fares
are not affordable or are a very great burden. In most
cities, most trips are made on foot by the urban poor.
This also contributes to slum communities forming
closer to the city where the poor are able to find
employment, and can walk to the workplace.

Transport and the Habitat Agenda

he City Summit (Habitat II) adopted several

proposals put forward by several Governments
and the NGO Transport Caucus, such as reinforcing
the polluter pays principle, adopting land use
patterns which reduce transport demand, and
promoting public transport, as illustrated in the
following paragraphs from the Habitat Agenda.
Transport should be managed in ways that
protect and conserve the stock of resources
while drawing upon them. [para 29]
Transport-system priorities should be given
to reducing unnecessary travel through
appropriate land-use and communication
policies; developing transport policies that
emphasise mobility alternatives other than
the automobile; developing alternative fuels
and alternative fuel vehicles; improving the
environmental performance of existing modes
of transport; and adopting appropriate pricing
and other policies and regulations. [para 149]
Promote and implement disincentive measures
that discourage the increasing growth of private
motorised trafc and reduce congestion, which
is damaging environmentally, economically and
socially to human health and safety, through
pricing, trafc regulation, parking and land-use
planning and trafc abatement methods, and by
providing or encouraging effective alternative
transport methods, particularly to the most
congested ares. [para 151(d)]
Source: International Union of Public Transport (UITP)

Air Pollutant Particles Linked

to Cancer

ong-term exposure to the kind

of air pollution common in many
metropolitan areas increases the
risk of death from lung cancer and
other heart-lung diseases, according
to a Brigham Young University study
published in the March issue of the
Journal of the American Medical
Association. The report was based
on 16 years of data from an ongoing
U.S. study in which thousands of
people are participating. It assessed
the impact of exposure to fine
particulates particles small enough
to penetrate the lungs from
automobile exhaust and industry.
The study included heart attack,
stroke, asthma, pneumonia as
well as emphysema and chronic
bronchitis under the category of
cardiopulmonary diseases. It was
found that elevated ne particulate
air pollution exposures were
associated with signicant increases
in lung cancer mortality. The authors
said they based their ndings on
the analysis of data collected by
the American Cancer Society from
1.2 million U.S. adults, beginning
from 1982.
Source: Urban Links, May 2002, TUGIUNDP


Sustainable commuting in

ith a total land area of 650

sq km and a population of
4.1 million, Singapore faced serious
challenges of limited space and high
population density when designing
its transit system. A combination
of buses, mass rapid transit (MRT)
lines, light rapid transit lines and taxis,
Singapores public transportation
system currently supports about 5
million of the total 7 million trips made
every day, with 3 million on buses,
1 million on the MRT and another 1
million in taxis.


Singapore has implemented a strict

vehicle quota system, under which a
certicate must be acquired before
registering a vehicle. This allows the
government to restrict the increase
in vehicle numbers. An electronic
road pricing system charges a fee to
cars during peak hours, encouraging
motorists to use public transportation
or less busy roads. Vehicle inspection
centres carry out mandatory testing
of cars more than three years old and
exhaust emissions to ensure they
meet the limits set by the Ministry
of Environment. The government
has also introduced tax incentives
to encourage the use of electric and
hybrid vehicles.
Source: State of the Environment and Policy
Retrospective 1972 -2002, UNEP

Govt Urged to Rethink Transport Policy

PENANG, Malaysia, Sep 13, 2001: Without an
integrated urban transport policy, Malaysias roads
are teeming with private vehicles, but lack public
transportation, an alarming trend that needs xing,
say experts.
Confirming widespread suspicions, a transport
planner has revealed that vehicle density on the
roads of Malaysias northern state of Penang has far
outstripped that in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The revelation by Ganesh Rasagam at a transport
seminar here supports a long-held belief that Malaysias
urban centres are among the most vehicle-dependent
in Asia.

Ironically, both Penang and Singapore had

similar vehicle densities of almost 16 vehicles
per kilometre in 1975, Ganesh added. However,
traffic restraint initiatives and an efficient public
transport system were introduced in Singapore
around that time, he observed, and since then
the rise in vehicle dependence in the nation-state
has tapered off.
Malaysias headlong rush into greater private vehicle
ownership has overwhelmed its capacity to build
more roads, interchanges, yovers and bridges. The
total road network in the country rose from 61,380
km in 1995 to 65,880 km last year.

This trend is likely the result of a combination of

factors: the promotion of the national car, vested
interests in the construction of more roads and tolled
highways, and a lack of political will and co-ordination
in promoting public transport.

Thanks to the national car projects and easy payment

terms, more and more people are able to afford cars.
There seems to be some confusion over whether our
goal is to create a caring society or a caring society,
observed Anwar Fazal of the Malaysian Friends of the
Earth (SAM) society, wryly.

Penangs 561 vehicles per kilometre of road last year

was more than double Singapores 223 vehicles and
Hong Kongs 271, said Ganesh, who also serves as a
consultant for a development agency in Malaysia.

One of the key factors driving more Malaysians to own

private vehicles is the lack of viable options especially
integrated, accessible and affordable public transport

Despite being only half the size of Singapore, Penang had

1.1 million registered vehicles compared with Singapores
693,000 vehicles and Hong Kongs 517,000, he pointed
out. Throughout Malaysia, the number of vehicles rose
from 6.8 million in 1995 to 10.5 million in June 2001.

In ofcial circles, no ministry or department takes full

responsibility for public transport - neither is there any
meaningful co-ordination.
Source: Inter Press Service

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Urban Issue #5:

Corruption and Urban Communities
Corruption and its harmful effects have been very
much in the public agenda across Asia and the Pacic
for a long time. Yet, it happens everywhere and local
governments in particular are very susceptible to it.
There are many denitions of corruption. Most broadly,
corruption means the misuse of ofce for personal gain.
The ofce is a position of trust, where one receives
authority in order to act on behalf of an institution,
be it private, public, or non-prot. Corruption means
charging an illicit price for a service or using the power
of ofce to further illicit aims. Corruption can entail acts
of omission or commission. It can involve legal activities
or illegal ones. It can be internal to the organisation (for
example, embezzlement) or external to it (for example,
extortion). The effects of various kinds of corruption
vary widely.
It is not a problem only in poor countries, even in Japan
and the United States local government authorities
have been investigated for corrupt practices. In Japan,
according to one estimate, provincial governments have
three times more ofcials than the national government
but produce fteen times the reported number of
corruption cases and four times the number of arrested
ofcials. In New York City, the cost of past corruption in
school construction alone is measured in the hundreds
of millions of dollars.
Municipalities are often accused not only of
mismanagement but of pouring public funds into private
pockets. When corruption takes root, often irrational and
short-sighted decisions are made regarding purchasing

of good and provision of public services with the main

criteria being the source of the bribe. This distortion
of the decision making process could result in wrong
supplies or low quality services, but at high prices.


When Something Is Terribly Wrong With

Our City Management System

hen bribery and corruption take root within local

government any or all of the following could
impact on the quality of a city management system:
Bad Decisions About Public Goods: When the
main criteria for making the decision on what
and where to purchase goods and services is
based on a bribe, it could result in the choice of
wrong supplies or contractors, unnecessary and
inappropriate purchases being made or projects
undertaken. At the same time, citizens have to
deal with substandard and over-priced goods and
services, inefciency and waste in the provision of
public services.
Poor Quality of Goods and Services: Bribes
come with a hidden cost to society in two ways.
One is, that the bribe givers usually pass on the
cost of the bribe by either increasing the purchase
price or reducing the quality of goods or services.
The second is to counterbalance the poor quality
of goods or services which would never have been
chosen in the rst place.
Depletion of National Wealth: Economically,
corruption leads to the depletion of national
wealth. It is often responsible for the funnelling of
scarce public resources to uneconomic high-prole
projects,such as dams, power plants, pipelines and


reneries, at the expense of less spectacular but

more necessary infrastructure projects such as
schools, hospitals and roads, or the supply of power
and water to rural areas.
Discrimination: When a person offers a bribe to a
public ofcial (in the form of money or hospitality or
other benets in kind), and that bribe is accepted,
he or she immediately acquires a privileged status
in relation to other persons similarly placed who
have not offered any such gratication. They are
then given preferential treatment. This constitutes
Burdens the Disadvantaged: It is the socially
powerless and decent people who are often shortchanged by corruption, for they either cannot or will
not join in playing the crooked game. Because of
their poverty or uprightness they constantly get the
short end of the stick in comparison with those who
have the means to inuence decisions and the way
things are handled to their advantage and do so.
This often means that services to which all citizens
are nominally entitled by the constitution and the law
are denied to persons from the underclass, already
under severe social duress.
Source: Action for Better Cities Information Series, Kuala
Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity, Malaysia

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

The Web of Corruption in

Local Government

hen corruption seeps into local government,

this listing could give you an idea of its
impact on the community:
1. Bribes lead to the misallocation of subsidised
2. Kickbacks to procurement ofcers mean that
city contracts often go to unworthy rms.
3. City police departments sometimes look the
other way at criminal offences.
4. Public property is used by city ofcials for
private ends.
5. Permits and licenses are facilitated by speed
money, and sometimes purchased.
6. Bribery enables people to break safety,
health, or other rules, thereby creating grave
social risks.
7. City services may be unavailable without an
illegal side payment.
8. Tax collectors may extort citizens, or even
collude with taxpayers to abet evasion.
9. Zoning decisions are inuenced by
This list is not a
complete typology of
the corruption found
in local governments
around the world.
Source: Urban Links,
October 2000, TUGIUNDP

The Godfather Shenyang-style

As ofcials wrap up an investigation into the underworld of
Shenyang in the Peoples Republic of China, an astonishing
picture is emerging of a city that looks like Al Capones
Chicago. From the mayors ofce downwards, gangs are
suspected to have inltrated most parts of government.
Similar stories are coming out of other cities as Chinas
government confronts one of its gravest challenges in the
form of mobsters who are often family members of senior
ofcials, and even ofcials themselves. Authorities recently
arrested Liu Yong, a 40-year old businessman suspected of
being a maa king-pin, who was also a Communist Party
member and a legislator in Shenyang Citys parliament.
Mayor Mu Suizin has been removed from ofce for having
ties with the mob, and as prosecutors unravel the web of
corruption linking government, business and organised
crime in Shenyang, the citizenry continue to look forward
to how far Beijing will pursue exposing corrupt practices
such as these throughout other cities in China.
Source: Urban Links April 2001, TUGI-UNDP


Urban Issue #6:

The Informal Economy and
Urban Communities
Though not dened precisely, the term Informal Economy
is mostly used to describe a type of work that is small,
unregistered, uncertain and unprotected. It broadly refers
to informal arrangements of work and encompasses a
wide range of activities, from street vending to domestic
service to home-based manufacturing.
In Asia, before the 1997 nancial crisis, it is estimated that
the informal sector typically absorbed between 40 and
50 per cent of the urban labour force, with differences
between the newly industrialising countries (with less
than 10 per cent) and countries such as Bangladesh
(with estimated 65 percent of employment in the informal
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has dened
employment in the informal economy as self-employed
(unregistered small business) and wage-employment
(without secure contracts, worker benets or social
The contribution of the informal economy to national
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounts to over a
quarter in the Asia Pacic region and over 65% of
employment in the region is informal.


What Is The Informal Economic Sector?

ery small scale units producing and distributing

goods and services, consisting largely of
independent self-employed producers in urban
and rural areas of developing countries, some
of whom also employ family labour and/or a
few hired workers or apprentices; which operate
with very little capital or none at all; and which
generally provide very low and irregular incomes
and highly unstable employment to those who
work in it. They are informal in the sense that
they are for the most part unregistered and
unrecorded in ofcial statistics; they tend to have
little or no access to organised markets, to credit
institutions or many public services and amenities;
they are not recognised, supported or regulated
by the government; they are often compelled by
circumstances to operate outside the framework
of the law and even where they are registered and
respect certain aspects of the law, they are almost
invariable beyond the scale of social protection,
labour legislation and protective measures at the
Source: Decent Work and the Informal Economy Report VI,
ILO, 2002.

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Informal Sector Workers: Who Are They?

Rickshaw pullers, jeepney drivers, garbage collectors,
roadside barbers, waste recyclers, vegetable and fruit
vendors, home based workers such as garment makers,
embroiderers, incense stick rollers, cigarette rollers,
paper bag makers, diamond and gem polishers, kite
makers, hair band makers, sex workers, construction
workers, homemakers, household servants, computer
and telecommunication workers, urban shing and
farming hands, car wash boys, shoe shiners, weavers,
basket makers, carpet makers, laundry workers,
beauticians, barbers, dress makers, lodging providers,
caterers, typists, data processors, tele-marketers,
bookkeepers, accountants, call-centre telephone
operators, tax assistants, legal advisers, designers,
computer programmers, writers, engineers, architects
and medical service professionals.
As the Asia Pacific region increasingly urbanises,
one truth becomes clear that economic growth
isnt necessarily equated with poverty eradication or
poverty reduction. And though many people ock from
rural areas to the urban areas in search of the good
life which are often equated with higher wages and
economic opportunities, in reality, the higher cost of
living in urban areas results in economic trade-offs that
result in the perpetration of low income lives.

The informal economy is large and growing. Over

the past two decades, employment in the informal
economy has risen rapidly in all regions in the
world. The informal economy accounted for nearly
half of the total non-agricultural employment in
East Asia, and as much as 80 percent in other
parts of Asia. In terms of urban employment, the
informal economy accounts for approximately 4060% in Asia.

In most cases, this leads to what is now known

as economic poverty, characterised by income
insufficient to survive in the urban environment, and
is attributed primarily to the incapacity of the urban
economies to generate sufficient formal employment
and the subsequent informalisation of the labour

Though not defined precisely, the term informal

economy, is mostly used to describe a type of work
that is small, unregistered, uncertain and unprotected.
It broadly refers to informal arrangements of work
and encompasses a wide range of activities, from
street vending to domestic service to home-based


Workers in the informal economy are, to varying

degrees, not registered or recorded under the
legislation, regulations and statistics of national
or local governments and are therefore largely
invisible and unprotected. They often do not enjoy
fundamental workers rights; their working conditions
are poor; their working hours are irregular and often
very long; their productivity is low and earnings poor
and they are exposed to various forms of insecurity
and occupational safety and health hazards. They
lack social security and legal protection. They also
lack organisation, representation and voice whether
for bargaining with employers or for lobbying with
politicians and bureaucrats.
The links between working informally and being
poor are not always simple. On the one hand, not all
jobs in the informal economy yield paltry incomes.
However, there is no denying that it is poverty that
forces most people to take up unattractive jobs in the
informal economy and the low incomes that such jobs
yield create a vicious cycle of poverty. On the whole,
average incomes in the informal economy are much
lower than in the formal economy.
Evidence from Asia and Africa supports the existence
of a strong association between incidence of poverty
and participation in the informal sector. Policy-makers
and local governments face a number of challenges
regarding employment in the informal economy
including the vulnerability of workers.


At the same time, the informal sector has been

the most efficient engine of employment creation,
contributing significantly to GDP, producing many
goods and services at a much more affordable rate

than the formal economy. Despite the fact that the

informal sector has contributed in no small way to
poverty alleviation in urban communities, the social
perception of the type of work done by the sector is
often associated with such undesirable characteristics
like uncleanness, inefficiency, non-legality, low-quality
goods and unreliability.
Many governments still subscribe to the notion that the
informal sector is not only unproductive and inefficient,
it often employs obsolete technology, poor skills, lack
of clear organisational structures and is regarded as
having little impact on the productive economy. This
perspective has not helped the informal sector to
attract much needed investments from outside.
There is still an ongoing debate about the importance
of the informal sector to the formal economy of the
country by those:
a) that consider the informal sector as a marginal
or peripheral player in the market, unconnected
to the formal sector or to modern capitalist
development. This view contends that the informal
sector would disappear once developing countries
reach a level of economic growth or industrial
b) and who argue that industrial development might
take a different path in the developing countries of
today, one which involved an expansion and active
participation of the informal sector in economic
growth, poverty reduction and improved quality of

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

Woman Worker in the Informal Economy Who is She?

Purabiben is a vegetable vendor in Ahmedabad, India.
She lives in a crowded slum, with no sanitation facilities,
with 22 houses sharing a tap which has water supply
for only 3 hours a day. She has to stand in long queues
for hours to fetch water for her family. She is often
late in reaching the wholesale market and loses out
on fresh vegetable supply. On such days, her earnings
suffer - who will buy stale vegetables from her? At
work, the police harass her frequently for bribes in
return for protection because she has no licence and
has no idea how to get one. All Purabiben wants is
enough space to keep her two baskets in this vast
city, to sell her goods.

Homebased Worker
Khun Joy is a home based worker who resides in
Ratburana in Bangkok. She assembles decorative
bells and is paid piece rate for her work. Her
earnings are irregular and meagre, about 42 Bhat
(US$ 1) every day. The job order is not regular, rather
it is seasonal. The contractor, a lady who also lives
in the community, receives the order through her
brother who works in a bell factory located in Tha
Pha area. The contractor visits Khun Joys house
on Wednesdays and supplies the raw material as
well as collect the nished goods. All Khun wants is
a better price for her hard work and childcare and
health care facilities for her family.
Service Provider
Lee Lim is a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong.
Although the city is home to more than 100,000
domestic workers from her country, Lee has no
contact with other migrant workers from her country
and has no social life. She works in extreme isolation,
living in with her employer and is on-call 24 hours,
tending to housework and children. She sleeps in the
damp and crammed laundry room,. She supports her
family of 4 in the Philippines with her salary. She has
no freedom and is almost invisible to her employer
- always working in the background. She wants
visibility and a voice.
Source: Action for Better Cities Information Series, Gujarat
Mahila Housing Trust, India


Street Vendors, Informal Economy and Evictions

ts almost impossible to imagine Asian cities

without the hawkers, street-sellers and
informal transport service providers which service
them, providing for their every need with such
resourcefulness and in such opulent variety. These
informal-sector entrepreneurs are one of the
wonders of Asias long urban history, offering just
what you need, when and where you need it, at rockbottom prices which no 7-11 or discount superstore
can ever beat. Besides providing exible, lucrative
self-employment for a huge portion of Asias urban
poor, these informal businesses constitute a huge
chunk of urban economies.
However, in the sanitised version of urbanisation
thats been absorbed by many Asian decisionmakers, hawkers are an eyesore, a hindrance to
trafc and a nuisance to pedestrians. So theyre
being evicted by the thousands from their places of
work, and most are being evicted legally. The issue
of housing eviction gets a lot of attention in the
human rights arena, but if a person is doing a small
business to support her family as best she can, and
you chuck her out so she cant earn, thats a human
rights issue too.


You dont need an MBA to know that if you want to

sell something, you need to set up shop where and
when your goods are likely to be in greatest demand.
Some cities have tried to regulate street vendors by
restricting their activities to designated areas away
from busy thoroughfares and limiting their operating

schedules to off-hour times. Because these rules

are usually drafted by bureaucrats, with no input
from the informal entrepreneurs they affect, and
because they run contrary to business sense, most
vendors have no choice but to break them. As a
result, evictions, arrests and conscation of their
carts and stock are increasing, all in the name of city
beautication or maintaining law and order.
Street vendors in Hanoi: In March 2003, the
Vietnamese Government launched a controversial
cleanup campaign in Hanoi to sanitise the citys
teeming street life, in preparation for the Southeast
Asian Games in December. It proved to be even
harsher than a 1996 crackdown on social evils
which banished thousands of street vendors. In
addition to collecting nes, police are conscating
scales, barbers tools and the long bamboo poles
and baskets vendors use to transport their wares.
The crackdown has taken a big toll on Hanois
crucial informal economy and proven extremely
unpopular with city folks, whove watched their
favourite hawkers of tea, bread, noodles and
snacks disappear, taking a vital element of the
citys character with them. Vendors are moving off
main streets into side alleys, and more and more
hawkers are moving around on bicycles to avoid
the pavements. Some street barbers leave clues
for their regular customers by scrawling their new
locations on walls where they used to work, while
trash recyclers have resorted to working at night
to avoid police.

Metro Manilas street vendors: Over the past year,

the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
has been carrying out an aggressive drive to clear
roadsides and market areas, to ease Manilas
notorious trafc congestion, and there have been
sweeping - and sometimes violent - evictions of
hawkers and street vendors from the citys streets
and marketplaces. Metro Manila, which has an
estimated 50,000 hawkers, there have been big
evictions under the MMDA crackdown, but the
municipal government isnt offering vendors many
alternatives: the citys 14 dilapidated government
markets have only 14,777 available stalls, and its
Organised Vending Scheme is open only to the
tiny fraction of legal vendors and offers stalls only
in designated vending areas, on streets closed to
vehicular trafc, where business is sparse.
In Quezon City, the Balintawak Market is one of
Metro Manilas largest wholesale fresh markets
and a goldmine for both the legal stall holders
inside and Illegal street vendors outside. When
the police and MMDA eviction squads began
evicting vendors there and conscating their carts
and goods, the livelihood of thousands of informal
entrepreneurs - and the survival of their families
- was destroyed in a matter of days. In theory, the
MMDA campaign is intended to persuade illegal
street vendors to become legal market stallholders, but in reality, street vendors earning an
average of 300 Pesos a day can never dream of
this. Renting a stall inside the Balintawak Market,

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues

or in Quezon Citys seven other private markets,

costs about 250 pesos per day, plus monthly stall
rights payments of between 5,000 and 50,000
Pesos. Anyway, the streets outside these markets
are often much better places for business, since
many buyers havent time to go inside the market.
Street vendors in Kolkota: The footpaths of Kolkota
(formerly Calcutta), like all Indian cities, teem with life
and informal commerce around the clock. But they
teem a lot less since 1996, when the state of West
Bengal launched the countrys largest-ever campaign
to clear the citys streets of informal street sellers. The
campaign was spearheaded by the states transport
minister, who vowed to evict all of Kolkotas hawkers
or leave ofce. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation
Act was subsequently amended to make encroaching
on public spaces by any hawkers a criminal and nonbailable offence, punishable by imprisonment. The
mayor tried to soften this by proposing to rehabilitate
hawkers to specially-built market stalls, but that never
happened. Operation Sunshine began in earnest
on the night of November 24, 1996, when 10,000
policemen, party leaders and hired thugs bulldozed
1,640 stalls and arrested 102 hawkers at the Shyam
Bazaar. In the years since then, tens of thousands of
hawkers have been evicted, hundreds arrested and
many driven to suicide.
Street vendors in Bangkok: Bangkok is famous
for its street food, but ofcial attitudes towards
this glorious urban asset waver between grudging
tolerance and outright hostility. The Bangkok
Metropolitan Authority now allows 280 lenient

areas around the city where 15,000 street vendors

can pay a monthly fee to do business legally.
But the other 260,000 illegal vendors of papaya
salads, spicy soups and everything else nd their
existence continually under threat, for all the usual
reasons: beautifying the city, decongesting trafc,
maintaining law and order.
The latest threat comes in the guise of a benet. As
part of the Thai governments Assets Capitalisation
program, vendors will be able to use their market
stalls or vending licences as collateral to get bank
loans. The theory behind the program argues that
poverty results when people cant access capital,
and that if the poor could unlock the potential in
their informal assets (like shacks or market stalls)
to get loans, theyd invest, create new wealth, join
the formal sector and generate tax revenues.
It sounds great, but the program has sceptics aplenty.
Not all street vendors are latent tycoons, and many
are already deeply in debt to informal moneylenders,
who may charge exorbitant interest, but would never
dream of taking away the square of sidewalk that
enables their clients to keep paying. Under the
program, defaulting on a bank loan would mean losing
the means to survive. Some worry that by formalising
these informal assets and making them saliable, the
program will facilitate the transfer of these assets out
of poor peoples hands and into the formal market
sector. Others see it as a way to squeeze greater tax
revenues from societys poorest earners.
Source: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights


Contribution of informal sector to GDP in

selected developing countries
Country (year)


Informal sector GDP

as percentage of
non-agricultural GDP

Northern Africa
Algeria (1997)
Morocco (1986)
Tunisia (1995)


Sub-Saharan Africa
Benin (1993)
Burkina Faso (1992)
Burundi (1996)
Cameroon (1995-96)
Chad (1993)
Cote dlvoire (1995)
Ghana (1988)
Guinea Bissau (1995)
Kenya (1999)
Mali (1989)
Mozambique (1994)
Niger (1995)
Senegal (1991)
Tanzania (1991)
Togo (1995)
Zambia (1998)


Latin America
Colombia (1992)
Mexico (1998)
Peru (1979)


India (1990-91)
Indonesia (1998)
Philippines (1995)
Republic of Korea (1995)


Contribution of women and men in nonagricultural informal sector emplyment to

GDP in selected developing countries

Country (year)

agricultural agricultural
GDP as
GDP as
GDP as
of total
percentage percentage
nonof total
of total
agricultural agricultural

Benin (1992)




Burkina Faso (1992)



Chad (1993)




Kenya (1998)




Mali (1989)




Tunisia (1994-96)



India (1993)




Indonesia (1998)




Philippines (1995)





Data prepared by Jacques Charmes

Data prepared by Jacques Charmes

Source: Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical

Picture, ILO 2002

Source: Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical

Picture, ILO 2002

Chapter 2: The Urban Issues


European Water Corporations And the Privatisation

of Asian Water Resources: The Challenge for Asian
Water Security by Charles Santiago, Transnational
Institute (TNI), September 2002 <www.tni.org/

Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR), www.achr.


Society for the Promotion of Area Resources Centres,

India (SPARC India), www.sparcindia.org

McIntosh, Arthur, Water and Asian Cities: Connecting

the Poor, ADB, 2003, www adb.org

Urban Resource Centre Karachi, www.urckarachi.


Water for All: The Water Policy of the Asian

Development Bank, 2002, www.adb.org

Promoting Effective Water Management Policies, ADB,


Habitat Debate, September 2003

World Development Report: Making Services Work For

Poor People, World Bank, 2004, www.worldbank.org

Global Water Partnership, www.siwi.org.

Working together to improve slums - www.adb.org/

Documents/Conference/ Asian_Cities_5/chap06.
The Mystery of Capital: An Interview with Hernando
de Soto, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International
Affairs, 2004, www carnegiecouncil.org
The Mystery of Capital, Hernando de Soto, 2000, www.

Das Gupta, Surajee, Building for a new boom, rediff.

com, 12th July 2003.

Japan For Sustainability website: http://www.japanfs.


Shankar, J, It fuels Indias Property boom, The

Australian, 1 March 2004

Patankar, P.G, Urban Mobility In Asia A Thematic

Paper on Issues and Imperatives , Tata Consultancy
Services, 2000.

Indias outsourcing surge hits Asias property,

Hindustan Times, 4 March 2004.

Barter, Paul, Transport and Urban Poverty in Asia: A

Brief Introduction to the Key Issues, paper prepared
for the Regional Symposium on Urban Poverty in Asia,
Fukuoka, Japan, 27-29 October, 1998

International Union of Public Transport (UITP), www.


Land in an urbanising world, Habitat Debate, Vol 9 No

4, Dec 2003, UNHABITAT.

Change Management Forum, Administrative Staff

College of India (ASCI), http://www.asci.org.in



State of the Environment and Policy Retrospective

1972 -2002, UNEP, www.unep.org

Transparency International website www.transparency.


Women and men in the informal sector: a statistical

picture, ILO, Geneva, 2002.

Decent Work and the Informal Economy Report VI,

ILO, 2002.

Self Employed Womens Association (SEWA) and the

Gujarat Mahila Housing Trust, www.sewa.org

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

The Urban Vision

e have considered, with

a sense of urgency, the
continuing deterioration of conditions
of shelter and human settlements. At
the same time, we recognise cities
and towns as centres of civilisation,
generating economic development
and social, cultural, spiritual and
scientic advancement. We must
take advantage of the opportunities
presented by our settlements and
preserve their diversity to promote
solidarity among all our peoples.
- Istanbul Declaration on Human
Settlements, 1996

f you want to know where any

countrys future is heading, look
at their main cities if they cannot
manage their cities, they have little
hope in managing their future. A sick
city is a sign of a sick civilisation.
- Anwar Fazal, Senior Regional Advisor,
The Urban Governance Initiative, UNDP


he United Nations Economic and Social Commission

for Asia and the Pacic (UNESCAP) estimates that by
the end of this decade, 4.5 billion of the worlds 7 billion
population will be living in Asia and the Pacic, and 43%
of this population will be living in cities, with 33 Asian cities
having populations of 5 million or more. Also, 45% of the
worlds Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth will take
place in this region.
Thus, cities will be engines of growth and the hub of political
and cultural interaction. With economic liberalisation
across the region making Asia increasingly integrated with
the global economy, the trends of globalisation are such
that urban centres, particularly the capital cities, control
and direct the national life and character.
Therefore, the capacity of nations to pursue their
economic and social goals will depend increasingly on
the way they are able to manage urban growth and
development. Thus, managing your cities is becoming
more and more important.
We need an Urban Vision to make our cities socially just,
ecologically sustainable and culturally vibrant. The UNDPs
The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI) has developed a
set of criteria to put this vision into practice, which Anwar
Fazal calls the Panchasila of Urban Development. It
includes ve principles:
a) Social Justice: The benets of economic development
should be shared equitably by all sectors of society,
including the poor and the physically challenged.


b) Ecological Sustainability: The physical and

biological resource base of the environment is
the underlying basis for any social & economic

productivity. Ecological sustainability requires that the

maintenance of the ecological processes that keep
the eco system in balance; the renewable use of the
natural resources and the maintenance of biological
c) Political Participation: This requires the participation
of all sectors of a society in development and
governance activities.
d) Economic Productivity: Economic sustainability is
required to provide employment and generate income
for the people so that they can meet their needs.
e) Cultural Vibrancy: In a society that has a complex,
multicultural, multiethnic, and multi religious domain,
people need a culture of proactive respect for

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

Urban Asias Contrasting Picture

According to Anwar Fazal, cities in Asia are undergoing
some of the most dramatic and spectacular changes
ever, and the urban landscape pictures the modern and
afuent coexisting, somewhat uncomfortably, with the
poor, the backward and the miserable.
Asia has the worlds tallest buildings The Petronas
Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur - and the successors
to it will also come from Asia: Taipei, Shanghai, Hong
Kong. Asia also has the priciest cities for expatriates
Tokyo and Hong Kong. Eight of the ten most
expensive (in terms of real estate) cities in the world
are Asian cities.
Meanwhile, according to a World Health Organisation
(WHO) study, 13 of 15 cities with the worst air pollution
were in Asia. Air pollution, including lead poisoning,
in Jakarta, according to an Asian Development Bank
(ADB) study, was costing more than US$ 2 billion
a year in terms of brain damage to children and
premature death and illnesses generally.
Urban poverty is potentially the most explosive political,
economic and social force. In India, for example, the
number of urban poor exceed the rural poor, with
profound consequences.
On the other hand, we have in Asia cities like Singapore
that are aiming to be, and will probably be, the worlds
most intelligent city both in terms of management
and information.

Source: UNCHS / P. Wamber


The Five Plosions

The Asian urban landscape is one of immense contrast
of ostentatious plenty and abject poverty, of great beauty
and terrible ugliness, of vast opportunity and yet rampant
oppression. 17 of the worlds projected 27 mega-cities will
be located in the Asia region.
Anwar Fazal says that ve key processes are impacting
on Asian cities:
First, we are facing a horrifying explosion of people and
new kinds of both richness and poverty.
Second, we are witnessing a deafening implosion, a
deepening alienation, and anger, manifesting itself in urban
violence, and even more, in urban terrorism; the cities are
becoming war zones.
Third, we also see a painful displosion, a disintegration, a
breaking up of family, of community, of indigenous values.
We see wasted lives of young children turned into sick
streets, and sicker values.


Fourth, we face a techplosion, the introduction of a

new complex, often ruthless, technologies operating in
environments inappropriately prepared for such ventures. We
see the mindless proliferation of armaments of all kinds. We
see them side by side with problems requiring, but not getting,
the simple technologies that will give clean water, adequate
nutrition, basic literacy and the kind of livelihood opportunities
that could wipe out poverty in a decade, if not in a generation.
Instead we get potential Bhopals. (Bhopal was a city in India
that suffered an industrial holocaust and became a mega gas
chamber). Our cesspool of sewage also ends up as poisoned
cocktails. Not so long ago, a test for lead levels was done on

the umbilical cords of some 2 dozen babies born in a leading

hospital in one of the Southeast Asian capitals. The shocking
news was that every one of those samples had lead levels
higher than those acceptable.
Fifth, we are also seeing an infoplosion a proliferation of
mindless entertainment and propaganda that is overwhelming
and confusing, often creating a new addictions and new
distractions, often enlarging the bower of bureaucracy and
commercial propaganda. The tapping of the power of these
new information technologies by the community, especially
the information poor for knowledge and for advocacy is
going to be necessary, but it will not be easy, for power will
more readily move to the already powerful.
Forgive my use of pyrotechnic images explosion, implosion,
displosion, techplosion and infoplosion but these are hot
issues and our cities are in crisis.

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

Asian cities are growing, but growth can be good and

growth can be bad. It is this contrast that provides a unique
challenge for Asia to develop an Urban Vision to balance
the good and the bad, or more importantly, to manage
the bad while improving the good. Cities often face ve
kinds of bad growth:
a) Jobless growth the overall economy grows,
b u t f a i l s t o s u s t a i n , e n r i ch o r ex p a n d j o b
b) Ruthless growth the rich get richer, and the poor
get nothing.

c) Voiceless growth the economy grows, but

democracy/empowerment of the majority of the
population fails to keep pace.
d) Rootless growth cultural identity is submerged or
deliberately outlawed by governments or destroyed
by the global telecommunications revolution.
e) Futureless growth the present generation
squanders resources needed by future generations.
Hence an urban vision that will guide cities and protect
the many vulnerable inhabitants of cities is imperative.


Papua New Guinea Wants to

Prove Sceptics Wrong
NADI, Fiji, Dec 15, 2003: While Australia is preparing
to send a contingent of policemen to restore law and
order in the capital Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
(PNG) appears determined to prove sceptics wrong
by drawing more from home-grown solutions in issues
like poverty and land.
One way its ofcials plan to prevent violence over
the difcult issue of land, (which critics point to as
signs that PNG may go the way of other Pacic
island nations where there is foreign intervention) is
to provide a better balance between urbanisation and
rural development.
After years of trying to develop a plan, PNGs urban
planners are now focusing on blending international
development concepts with local customs - and this
was also their message at regional urban governance
workshop held here this month.


proposed to Parliament. Many feared their rights to

land would be undercut.
The new law, however, still recognises customary
land rights and prohibits the sale of these lands to
anyone other than the government and that too under
customary obligations.
Ofcials say the new law will merely blend customary law
with modern market forces by making this land available
for commercial development, while enabling landowners
to use the land as collateral to obtain bank loans.
There is no easy formula for reaching this blend - after
all, PNG is in the unique situation of being one of the
least urbanised countries in the world, where only 17
percent of the population lives in urban areas and 97
percent of the land is under customary ownership.

They also said it is time for them to draw from within in

addressing development challenges.

PNG people are not landless, they are landowners,

argues Max Kep, chairman of the National Urbanisation
Committee (NUC).

We have been trained by planning schools in Australia

and the UK and some of their teachings on subdivisions
are not appropriate to our cultures, Elias Masta, chief
physical planner of PNGs Department of Lands and
Physical Planning told IPS.

Part of the problem, he says, is that the history of urban

planning in PNG since independence from Australia in
1975 has been a chain of reports, but no action. PNGs
problem has been a lack of policy to bring everyone
together to deal with urbanisation, he laments.

We need to incorporate some of our traditional knowledge

of using space into our planning models, he added.

In December last year, an attempt was nally made to

introduce concepts of participatory democracy in urban
planning, he says. But, that has not worked out either.

In July, violent protests emerged in Port Moresby when

amendments to the Customary Land Act which would
make it a requirement to register these lands - was

When a meeting was called no one came, recalls Kep. So

it (participatory democracy) became a stumbling block.

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

The NUC was formed in July and plans are underway

to create a Ministry for Urbanisation and a national
urbanisation plan next year.
But while adapting to local conditions, PNGs
development planners are also linking up with UN
organisations to address urban issues that affect the
liveability of its cities.
For instance, the PNG government is co-operating with
the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
and UN-Habitat under their safer city initiative for Asia
and the Pacic to curb spiralling crime in the capital.
After studying the crime or insecurity situation,
using international criteria learned from the foreign
organisations, we will develop strategies on how we
can address the situation (diagnosed by the study),
explains Iva Kola, director of corporate services of the
National Capital District Commission.
She says the government is drafting a policy that is
designed to prevent crime, rather than use the traditional
focus on ghting it purely as a law and order issue
instead of a social issue.
We need to provide people with healthier suburbs to
live in, so that they get out of the settlements (squatter
colonies), argues Kola. This is one of the causes
contributing to crime.
Better managed urbanisation and better links with rural
areas should help to get most of PNGs people out of
their hideouts, says Therese Saini, president of Mokosoi
Grassroots Womens Association.
Those who live in settlements in urban areas come
from rural areas, she points out.

Saini believes that the isolation of PNGs rural

population from the urban population has made it
easier for outsiders to exploit their land and resources.
For examples, loggers have even diverted streams and
rivers to transport their logs for export, affecting their
marine resources.
Her association has developed peer to peer links with
other rural communities in Africa and Asia, in order to
tackle these problems. We bring these ideas back and
see whether we can implement them at home, she
explains in an interview.
One such idea is the holding of village workshops, where
people can process timber from their own forests to sell
for use as building material in other parts of PNG.
When rural people go to the city they are unskilled
people and thats why they become unemployed and
end up in settlements, notes Saini. If we can provide
them with employment using their own resources in
the villages, many problems of urbanisation could be
In order to tackle increasing crime and violence in the
capital, PNG is also looking at the idea of adopting
a social charter, where peoples rights are balanced
with peoples responsibilities towards a harmonious
People living in urban areas still have strong rural
linkage and are willing to return with the right policies
to encourage their return, argues Kep. Those who
remain or choose to reside permanently in urban
settings must live in social harmony... thats why a
social charter is important.
Source: Inter Press Service


Mega-City Without A Master Plan

By Aziz Sanghur in Karachi

akistans commercial capital Karachi is a city

of 14 million inhabitants, but it lacks a master
plan for development. It is not that they dont need
one, just that nobody has bothered to implement
those which have been drawn up over the years
- since 1922 in fact.
The teeming city has survived from one crisis to
another without a master plan for its development
because the bureaucrats have never allowed one
to be implemented. It is believed that 5 master
plans have been prepared for Karachi, the rst
during British rule in 1922 and three after Pakistan
was created in 1947. But all these remained
The City Government planned to prepare a
master plan for Karachi in January 2002, after
they had found that much of the land in the city
is held by organisations which cannot provide
documentation to support their claim to the land.
One barrier to the development of services in the
city has been the problem of land control.


properly accounted for. For example, of the 25

vehicles which belong to them, only one can be
used for surveying work because others have been
given to other departments and undocumented.
In addition, the administration is understaffed
because of the 360 sanctioned jobs, only 292 are
believed to be at their posts.

and they are hired by a private contractor. After

picking the recyclable stuff, they scatter the rest
of the waste in public spaces creating severe
environmental problems.

While Mr Khan has transferred Rs 700,000 to

the Master Plan Department, another Rs 7.8
million owed to them from the defunct Karachi
Development Authority has not been paid.

Meanwhile, the Sind state government decided

in December 2001 to draw up a master plan for
the development of the Karachi city, including
the study of the changing needs and basic
developments for the rapidly growing city.

While the city authorities struggle to nd the

money to draw up a master plan, according to
Karachi water supplies authorities, out of 1.17
million water users, only 758,500 are on the
billing role and a mere 163,000 actually pay for the
services regularly. No action is being taken against
the defaulters and the Karachi Water Services
Board (KWSB) operates at a loss.

Though the Nazim (city government head) Mr

Naimatullah Khan has declared that a city master
plan will be drawn up and implemented, it is yet to
see the light of dawn.

Over 60% of Karachis population lives in informal

settlements known as katchi abadis and 81.6 %
of the lanes in these settlements have built their
own sewer systems. 90% of their homes have
linked themselves illegally to the government
water supply system.

City authorities do not seem to have the funds to

do the job because their assets have not been

There are 21,000 waste pickers, mainly Afghani

boys, who collect waste from the settlements

These are a few of many problems created in an

unplanned city of 14 million people.

Source: This article was written in September 2003 as

part of a TUGI media fellowship programme on urban

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

Guiding The Urban Vision

Since the Rio Earth Summit, the need to make both the
urban and rural communities economically and ecologically
sustainable has been in the forefront of the international
development agenda. The Agenda 21 declaration has been
followed by many others, such as the HABITAT II Plan of
Action (1996) and the Local Government Declaration to
the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2001).
Following is a brief summary of these declarations:
Agenda 21: Agenda 21 addresses the pressing problems
of today and also aims at preparing the world for the
challenges of the next century. It reflects a global
consensus and political commitment at the highest level
on development and environment cooperation. Chapter 28
of the Agenda 21 outlines the role of local government in
addressing sustainable development. It clearly recognises
the right of all people to participate in community life and
inuence decisions affecting sustainability. It highlights a
Local Agenda 21 (LA21) which is a consultative process
where the councils enter into a dialogue with its citizens,
local organisations and private enterprises.

TUGI lists ten issues to help diagnose a Sick

City, and these need immediate attention
At present many of Asia and the Pacics growing cities
are barely coping with these problems in a structured
fashion and there is a need to address these issues in
a creative and integrated way.
To guide the stakeholders in building a vision for a better
city there are many international declarations which have
been adopted in the last decade or more, beginning
with Agenda 21 adopted at the Rio de Janerio Earth
Summit in 1992.

The LA21 training and capacity building programme

developed by UN-Habitat adopts a Strategic Structure
Planning (SSP) process to link short-term improvement of
living conditions with increased planning and management
capacity of local authorities, within a framework for
sustainable urban development.
SSP is a dynamic and continuous process of developing
visions, policies and implementation modalities with respect
to the quality of the urban environment. This process runs
along three tracks: development of a long-term vision
addressing structural issues, acting on urgent problems
and opportunities and communication between all partners
of the community involved.


These three tracks must be continuously interrelated. At

the meeting points of the tracks policy decisions can be
integrated into the process. These are formalised through
Urban Pacts: result-oriented negotiated agreements
between all responsible parties, often having conicting
interests. After several steps, the activities along the three
tracks result in a SSP. This product consists of a vision
on sustainable urban development, a spatial concept as a
basis for the desired structure, a programme of actions and
specic measures, and an institutional framework.
The Habitat Agenda: The Habitat II summit in Istanbul in
1996 also recognised the important role local councils play
in developing a vision for sustainable urban development.
They reiterated the democratic governing principles and
the need for citizens to be involved in the decision making
process of local authorities.
In its goals and principles, the Istanbul Declaration said,
city layout and aesthetics, land-use patterns, population
and building densities, transportation and ease of access
for all to basic goods, services and public amenities have
a crucial bearing on the liveability of settlements. And it
went on further to specify peoples need for community
and their aspirations for more liveable neighbourhoods
and settlements as a guiding principle in the process
of design, management and maintenance of human


The World Summit on Sustainable Development: The

Local Government Declaration to the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2001 stated
that national states cannot, on their own, centrally manage
and control the complex, fast-moving, cities and towns
of today and tomorrow - only strong decentralised local
governments, in touch with and involving their citizens, and
working in partnership with national governments, are in
a position to do so.

While reafrming their commitment to Agenda 21 adopted

at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, they went on to argue
that measures taken under Agenda 21 have not been
adequate to address the effects of economic liberalisation
and globalisation at local level across the cities of many
developing countries. Thus, they expressed the wish to
develop a new and deeper culture of sustainability in our
cities and localities, including a commitment to socially
and environmentally sound procurement policies and
consumption patterns, sustainable planning, investment
and management of resources, and promotion of public
health and of clean energy sources.
The declaration listed four interconnected principles for
local governments, which need to inform and underpin all
their efforts to combat poverty and build a just, peaceful
and sustainable world. These include:
a) The overarching principle of Sustainable
Development (integrating the economic, social,
cultural and environmental dimensions)
b) Effective Democratic Decentralisation (with
a substantial set of key competencies, and
commensurate nancial resources for local
c) Good Governance (effective leadership, transparency,
accountability, probity, proper management and effective
services, equitable access to services, a commitment to
partnership working, and institutional capacity building.)
d) Co-operation and Solidarity (partnerships for exchange
of good practice, support and mutual learning)
(Link for more information: Local Government Declaration at the
World Summit for Sustainable Development, http://www.iclei.org/

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision



his is a nal, advanced version of a chapter of

Agenda 21, as adopted by the Plenary in Rio de
Janeiro, on June 14, 1992.
28.1. Because so many of the problems and solutions
being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local
activities, the participation and co-operation of local
authorities will be a determining factor in fullling
its objectives. Local authorities construct, operate
and maintain economic, social and environmental
infrastructure, oversee planning processes, establish
local environmental policies and regulations, and
assist in implementing national and subnational
environmental policies. As the level of governance
closest to the people, they play a vital role in educating,
mobilising and responding to the public to promote
sustainable development.
28.2. The following objectives are proposed for this
programme area:
(a) By 1996, most local authorities in each country
should have undertaken a consultative process
with their populations and achieved a consensus
on a local Agenda 21 for the community;
(b) By 1993, the international community should have
initiated a consultative process aimed at increasing
co-operation between local authorities;

(c) By 1994, representatives of associations of cities

and other local authorities should have increased
levels of co-operation and co-ordination with the
goal of enhancing the exchange of information
and experience among local authorities;
(d) All local authorities in each country should
be encouraged to implement and monitor
programmes which aim at ensuring that women
and youth are represented in decision-making,
planning and implementation processes.
28.3. Each local authority should enter into a
dialogue with its citizens, local organisations and
private enterprises and adopt a local Agenda 21.
Through consultation and consensus-building, local
authorities would learn from citizens and from local,
civic, community, business and industrial organisations
and acquire the information needed for formulating
the best strategies. The process of consultation
would increase household awareness of sustainable
development issues. Local authority programmes,
policies, laws and regulations to achieve Agenda 21
objectives would be assessed and modied, based
on local programmes adopted. Strategies could also
be used in supporting proposals for local, national,
regional and international funding.
28.4. Partnerships should be fostered among relevant
organs and organisations such as UNDP, the United


Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and

UNEP, the World Bank, regional banks, the International
Union of Local Authorities, the World Association of
the Major Metropolises, Summit of Great Cities of
the World, the United Towns Organisation and other
relevant partners, with a view to mobilising increased
international support for local authority programmes.
An important goal would be to support, extend and
improve existing institutions working in the eld of
local authority capacity-building and local environment
management. For this purpose:
(a) Habitat and other relevant organs and organisations
of the United Nations system are called upon to
strengthen services in collecting information on
strategies of local authorities, in particular for those
that need international support;

(b) Periodic consultations involving both international

partners and developing countries could review
strategies and consider how such international
support could best be mobilised. Such a sectoral
consultation would complement concurrent countryfocused consultations, such as those taking place
in consultative groups and round tables.
28.5. Representatives of associations of local
authorities are encouraged to establish processes to
increase the exchange of information, experience and
mutual technical assistance among local authorities.
Means of implementation:
28.6. It is recommended that all parties reassess
funding needs in this area. The UNCED Secretariat
has estimated the average total annual cost (19932000) for strengthening international secretariat
services for implementing the activities in this chapter
to be about $1 million on grant or concessional
terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude
estimates only and have not been reviewed by

28.7. This programme should facilitate the capacitybuilding and training activities already contained in
other chapters of Agenda 21.


Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Link: http://www.unep.org/Documents/Default.asp?Documen

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

Localising Agenda 21:

Capacity Building Programme of UNHabitat
Vinh City, Vietnam

his capacity-building programme responds

to Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, where local
authorities are called upon to develop and implement
a Local Agenda 21 with their communities. This
process is reinforced through supporting key
actors in selected secondary towns to implement
environmental action plans, within a long-term
sustainability perspective. The Localising Agenda
21 Programme is implemented by the UNCHS
(Habitat) in collaboration with a wide range of
international, national and local partners.
One of the cities chosen for this project in Asia
is Vinh City in Vietnam. Situated 295 km south
of Hanoi, it is the political, economic and cultural
centre of Nghe An province in North/Central
Vietnam with a population of 200,000 in 1996
and growing at 2.1 % per annum. It is one of the
poorest provincial cities in the country. The city has
a harsh climate and is frequently affected by hotdry winds and by storms. Part of the urban area is
ood-prone. Urban infrastructure is outstripped by
the population growth, as evidenced in insufcient
water supply, solid waste collection and liquid
waste management. In contrast with other cities,
Vinh has not yet signicantly beneted from the
Vietnamese Open door policy.
These current development challenges and
related environmental constraints, and the

dynamism displayed by the municipal and

provincial government made Vinh a priority city for
the Localising Agenda 21 programme. It is aimed
at strengthening local government planning and
management capacity in secondary cities.
As the urban development challenges for Vinh
City are many, a consultative process resulted in
agreement on the following priorities for capacitybuilding.

Evaluation, methodological discussion and

update of the current Master Plan up to the
year 2010.

Improvement of solid waste management and

involvement of area based community groups
in solid waste collection.

Revitalisation of a public housing scheme and

evaluate different options for rehabilitation and
adopt new management approaches

Focused capacity-building efforts are needed

in all the above priority areas to more clearly
analyse the problems and widen the range of
options. Therefore, targeted training activities
will be organised for urban planners, managers,
and technical ofcers. Much effort will be put into
promoting openness for consultation and opening

up the range of actors involved in decision making

around key urban development issues.
The Localising Agenda 21 team consists of
members of different departments of the
Peoples Committee of Vinh City and Nghe An
Province. The team is a focal point for information,
exchange, studies and projects concerning the
sustainable urban development of Vinh City.
Proposals are submitted for advice to a broadbased Local Advisory Board chaired by the Mayor.
Members of this board include: the womens
association, representatives of the business
community, representatives of selected urban
districts and co-operatives. The proposed action
plans are approved by the Peoples Council of
the city.
Source: UN-Habitat
(Links: More information on this initiative can be found at:


The Habitat Agenda - Clause 12 of

The Istanbul Declaration

e adopt the enabling strategy and the principles

of partnership and participation as the most
democratic and effective approach for the realisation of
our commitments. Recognising local authorities as our
closest partners, and as essential, in the implementation
of the Habitat Agenda, we must, within the legal
framework of each country, promote decentralisation
through democratic local authorities and work to
strengthen their nancial and institutional capacities
in accordance with the conditions of countries,
while ensuring their transparency, accountability and
responsiveness to the needs of people, which are key
requirements for Governments at all levels. We shall
also increase our co-operation with parliamentarians,
the private sector, labour unions and non-governmental
and other civil society organisations with due respect
for their autonomy. We shall also enhance the role of
women and encourage socially and environmentally
responsible corporate investment by the private sector.
Local action should be guided and stimulated through
local programmes based on Agenda 21, the Habitat
Agenda, or any other equivalent programme, as well
as drawing upon the experience of world-wide cooperation initiated in Istanbul by the World Assembly
of Cities and Local Authorities, without prejudice to
national policies, objectives, priorities and programmes.
The enabling strategy includes a responsibility for
Governments to implement special measures for
members of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups
when appropriate.


Source: Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, 1996

(Link: http://www.unhabitat.org/unchs/english/hagenda/
(for full text of Habitat II Istanbul Declaration)

The Millennium Development Goals The Global Challenge

The Millennium Declaration was adopted by the UN
member states at the Millennium Summit held in
September 2000 in New York. It addresses essential
dimensions of poverty and their effects on peoples
lives and contains eight Millennium Development
Goals (MDG) ranging from poverty reduction, health,
and gender equality to education and environmental
The world leaders by signing on to the document have
not only accepted these goals, but pledged to work
towards reaching its targets. It is a commitment to
the worlds poor, the most vulnerable segment of the
community in todays economic climate.
The MDGs are an ambitious agenda for reducing
poverty and improving lives of all the worlds population.
For each goal one or more targets have been set, most
to be achieved by 2015, as listed below:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
To halve by 2015 the proportion of people living on less
than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.
More than a billion people still live on less than US$1
a day.
2. Achieve universal primary education
Ensure that all boys and girls complete primary school
by 2015. As many as 113 million children do not attend
school, but the target is within reach. India, for example,
should have 95 percent of its children in school by

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary
education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.
Two-thirds of illiterates are women, and the rate of
employment among women is two-thirds that of men.
4. Reduce child mortality
Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children
under ve by 2015. Every year nearly 11 million young
children die before their fth birthday, mainly from
preventable illnesses, but that number is down from
15 million in 1980.
5. Improve maternal health
By 2015, reduce by three-quarters the ratio of women
dying in childbirth. In the developing world, the risk of
dying in childbirth is one in 48, but virtually all countries
now have safe motherhood programmes.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Halt and begin to reverse by 2015 the spread of HIV/
AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major
diseases. Forty million people are living with HIV,
including ve million newly infected in 2001.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
By 2015, reduce by half the proportion of people
without access to safe drinking water and by 2020
achieve signicant improvement in the lives of at least
100 million slum dwellers. More than one billion people
lack access to safe drinking water and more than two
billion lack sanitation.
8. Develop a global partnership for development
Develop further an open trading and nancial system
that includes a commitment to good governance,

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm


development and poverty reduction nationally and

internationally, as well as address the least developed
countries special needs, and deal comprehensively
with developing countries debt problems, develop
decent and productive work for youth, in co-operation
with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to
affordable essential drugs in developing countries
and in co-operation with the private sector, make
available the benets of new technologies especially
information and communications technologies.
In order to assist Member States to realise these
goals, the United Nations has set numerous targets for
each, and selected appropriate indicators to monitor
progress on the goals and achieve corresponding
targets. These MDGs are backed up by an action
plan with 18 quantiable targets and more than 40
indicators to eradicate poverty, hunger, disease,
illiteracy, environmental degradation and gender

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm

It will need a lot of political will in both the developed

and developing countries to make it work, with the
former having to make new nancial commitments and
trade policies which are favourable to the latter. The
UNDP view the MDGs as the best benchmark to built
a growing consensus among the developing countries
in particular, that these goals presents the best chance
yet to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,
illiteracy and disease.
(Link: For more information on targets and indicators to achieve the
MDG http://millenniumindicators.un.org/unsd/mi/mi_goals.asp)


Chapter 3: The Urban Vision

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm


Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm


Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm

Source: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/brochure.htm

Chapter 3: The Urban Vision


Social Impact Assessment

alaysia will be developing a

social impact assessment
module that is similar to the more
widely known Environmental Impact
Assessment or EIA. The effort is
the rst in the ASEAN region, and
Malaysia spearheaded this idea in
a Social Impact Assessment (SIA)
Workshop held in Kuala Lumpur
in February, 2002. The Malaysian
Minister of National Unity and
Development noted that social
assessments were often diluted
and even sidelined in favour of
the economic impact. She dened
the SIA as a process of analysing
and managing the intended or
unintended consequences of
planned intervention on people. This
initiative is supported by the United
Nations Development Programme
in Kuala Lumpur, and is part of a
larger project of promoting and
implementing SIAs at the national
Source: Urban Links, TUGI, May 2002


Urban Population Living In Poverty for

Selected Countries in Asia and the Pacic
Papua New Guinea
Sri Lanka

36.6 %
< 2.0 %
25.2 %
27.6 %
23.6 %
14.5 %
26.9 %
3.8 %
23.9 %
23.0 %
22.4 %
16.0 %
20.4 %
14.7 %
10.2 %
9.0 %

These gures may be presented through a map of the region

with gure for each country appearing within that country.
Sources: UNDP, ADB, 1999-2000.

To achieve these targets, the UN Secretary General in his

report to the 58th sessions of UN General Assembly in
2003, pointed out that the efforts to achieve this should
be rmly based on the common values reafrmed in the
MDGs, namely, freedom, solidarity, tolerance, respect for
nature and shared responsibility. This makes it important
that the governments give top priority to the protection
of human rights and the practice of democracy and good

Issues paper on Urban Governance: Global Vision and

Local Needs - Assessment, Analysis and Action by
City Governments, UNESCAP, Bangkok

Local Government Declaration at the World Summit

for Sustainable Development, http://www.iclei.org/

Local Agenda 21, United Nations Environment

Programme (U N E P), http:/ /www.unep.org/

Localising Agenda 21: Capacity Building Programme

of UN-Habitat Vinh City, Vietnam, UN-Habitat, http://

Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements, 1996,


Millennium Development Goals, http://


Porter, Julia, Sustainability and good governance

- what can we learn from The Urban Governance
Initiative, paper presented at Sustaining Our
Communities conference, Adelaide, March 2002.

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Good Governance and Urban Communities

t is increasingly recognised that

integrity and good governance
are essential building blocks for
meeting the objectives of sustainable
development, prosperity and peace. No
two countries are precisely alike in this
respect. Nevertheless, in all countries
- whatever their cultural differences
- good governance and integrity
require the rule of law, effective
state institutions, transparency and
accountability in the management of
public affairs, respect for human rights,
and the meaningful participation of all
citizens in the political processes and
decisions affecting their lives.
-Ko Annan, Secretary General of the
United Nations


he concept of governance is not something new.

Human civilisations have always had some form
or another of a governance structure which helped
their community function. Governance is equated with
the process of decision-making and the process by
which decisions are implemented or not implemented.
According to the Commission on Global Governance,
1995: Governance is the sum of the many ways individuals
and institutions, public and private, manage their
common affairs. It is a continuing process through which
conicting or diverse interests may be accommodated
and co-operative action may be taken. It includes
formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce
compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people
and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be
in their interest.

structures, management mechanisms and administrative

processes. These are devolutionary instruments that make
a government participatory and responsive.

What is Good Governance?

In broad terms, then, governance is about the institutional

environment in which citizens interact among themselves
and with government agencies/ofcials.
The capacity of this institutional environment is important
for development because it helps determine the impact of
economic policies adopted by the government. It has been
observed that, while many governments have undertaken
broadly similar reform packages, the outcomes have
varied signicantly across countries. There are several
factors underlying these differences, but clearly one is
the quality of governance in the countries concerned:
the ability of governments to implement effectively the
policies they have chosen. Hence, getting policies right
may not, by itself, be sufcient for successful development,
if standards of governance are poor.

Before discussing good governance it is important to

understand the difference between Government and


Government - is described as the repository of

condence and power of the people delegated by them
for a xed period of time for the express purpose of
identifying, mobilising, organising, guiding and directing
all available resources, human and other, to facilitate
planned and participatory transformation of their society
towards enhanced well-being of its people. Governments
are usually political regimes acting through its constitution
and the societys cultural norms pursuing a course of
development action that they consider as most suited
to their society and peoples aspirations. Government
comprises the constitution and laws, institutions and

Governance - is the sum of cumulative practice of

behaviour and attitude of the government as seen in
the manner they create and use the said devolutionary
instruments. Form, style, systems, methods, and
procedures of government generally reect the pattern
of governance in a nation or city. The quality and
effectiveness of governance depend mostly on how
judiciously the government uses the said instruments to
help people achieve the ultimate goal of their progress
- justice, equity and peace.

Good Governance dened

Although policy aspects are important for development,

the Asian Development Banks concept of good

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

governance focuses essentially on the ingredients for

effective management. In other words, irrespective of
the precise set of economic policies that nd favor with
a government, good governance is required to ensure
that those policies have their desired effect. In essence,
it concerns norms of behavior that help ensure that
governments actually deliver to their citizens what they
say they will deliver.
It is for this reason that improving governance, or sound
development management, is a vital concern for all
The experience so far, within the region, does not establish
any direct correlation between the political environment,
on the one hand, and rapid economic growth and social
development, on the other. Successful development has
taken place in countries with different political systems.
Source: ADB, http://www.adb.org/Documents/Policies/Governance/

Governance according to
the United Nations Development
Governance is viewed as the exercise
of economic, political and administrative
authority to manage a countrys affairs at all
levels. It comprises mechanisms, processes
and institutions through which citizens and
groups articulate their interests, exercise
their legal rights, meet their obligations and
mediate their differences.
the Commission on Global Governance:
Governance is the sum of the many ways
individuals and institutions, public and
private, manage their common affairs. It is a
continuing process through which conicting
or diverse interests may be accommodated
and cooperative action may be taken. It
includes formal institutions and regimes
empowered to enforce compliance, as well
as informal arrangements that people and
institutions either have agreed to or percieve
to be in their interest.
the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development:
The concept of governance denotes the
use of political authority and exercise
of control in a society in relation to the
management of its resources for social
and economic development. This broad
denition encompasses the role of public
authorities in establishing the environment
in which economic operators function and
in determining the distribution of benets

as well as the nature of the relationship

between the ruler and the ruled.
the World Bank:
Governance is dened as the manner in
which power is exercised in the management
of a countrys economic and social resources.
The World Bank has identied three distinct
aspects of governance: (1) the form of
political regime; (2) the process by which
authority is exercised in the management of
a countrys economic and social resources
for development; and (3) the capacity
of governments to design, formulate
and implement policies and discharge
Anwar Fazal:
You have one bison, one bear, one dragon,
one snake, one kangaroo, one camel, one
orang utan, one panda, one tiger, one
dolphin and many scared cows. You try
to interest them in group sex on top of
a mountain, taking into account, where
appropriate, population control, gender
balance, sustainable development, poverty
eradication, national sovereignty, nuclear
disarmament, land mines, and generally,
world peace without global warming.
Source: Human Development in South Asia: The Crisis
of Governance, (1999) The Mahbub Ul Haq Human
Development Centre, Oxford University Press; and Anwar
Fazal, The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI), United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Core Characteristics of Good Governance

UNDP has listed 9 major characteristics of good
governance. These characteristics are designed to ensure
that corruption is minimised, the views of minorities are
taken into account and that voices of the most vulnerable
in society are heard in decision-making.
These core characteristics of good governance are
presented with real life stories and examples of good

Example: People rate their municipalities

Recently, the Nepali municipalities of Butwal and
Lalitpur wanted to see how they fared in the peoples
report cards. The main objective was to make the local
government function according to the principles of
good urban governance. An evaluation team gathered
the stakeholders together and asked them to assign
scores to their municipality. The collated information
helps assess tri-sectoral partnerships and evaluate
overall governance. The project also provided the
opportunity for stakeholders to come together and
determine collectively what good urban governance
means to them.
Source: Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, City Care Annual
Newsletter, March 2002, Civil Society Tests Municipalities.



1) Participation
The participation of both men and women is the
cornerstone of good governance. Participation could
be either direct or through legitimate intermediate
institutions or representatives. However, participants
need to be informed and organised.

2) Rule of Law
Good governance requires fair legal frameworks that
are enforced impartially for they must protect human
rights. An independent judiciary and an impartial and
incorruptible police force are essential prerequisites
for this.
Example: Legal Empowerment of the Poor
While it is universally agreed that the poor should use
law to their benet, recent research sheds light that
legal empowerment of the poor is not the work of
only the government and lawyers. Many NGOs (and
similarly oriented law school programmes) help improve
governance and reduce poverty as they address human
rights, the environment, agrarian reform, labour and other
issues. Such initiatives are not conned to legal services
but integrate legal work with other efforts that build
capacities and power of marginalised populations. Legal

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

empowerment can improve the poors material resources

and circumstances. It also alleviates poverty in the
broader sense of strengthening the poors participation in
decisions affecting their lives. Legal empowerment also
helps the poor understand and inuence government,
particularly regarding the rights, needs and issues to
which they attach the highest priority. Many of the
poors legal needs and avenues for addressing them do
not involve the courts. But administrative bodies, local
governments, legislatures, alternative dispute resolution
and informal processes often offer better vehicles for
seeking justice.

precisely their applications stand in the evaluation

process, thwarting corrupt bureaucrats who in the past
demanded bribes to expedite applications or even tell a
citizen the status of his application.

Source: id21, insights magazine #43

Example: HIV Impact Assessment Tool

The HIV Impact Assessment (HIA) tool is a method
for analyzing the impact of development projects on
the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and is currently
being ne-tuned. The tool aims to integrate HIV/AIDS
issues into development policies and planning as well
as project design, appraisal and implementation. It
is targeted to raise awareness and minimize/reduce
the unintended impact of HIV/AIDS on individuals,
communities and nations. The HIA will play a role in
mitigating the potential impact of a development project
on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in much the same manner
as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has had
in minimizing the negative effects of projects on the
environment. A project initiated by UNDP, it will serve
the long-term interests of economic and social growth
by ensuring that current development projects do not
aggravate the HIV epidemic with additional burden on
the society at large. The tool will anticipate risks and
recommend strategies of HIV prevention that are easily
applicable and adaptable to national contexts.

3) Transparency
Transparency means that decisions taken and their
enforcement are done in a manner that follows rules
and regulations. It also means that information is
freely available (in easily understandable forms) and
directly accessible to those who will be affected by
such decisions and their enforcement.
Example: South Korea Giving citizens the ability
track to online the progress of their applications for
In 1998, the Seoul government initiated a comprehensive
campaign to battle corruption. As part of a concerted
effort to bring transparency to government functions
such as licensing and permit approval, reformers not
only streamlined the burdensome regulatory rules
(the complexity of which provided ample opportunities
for extorting bribes) but they also created an online
monitoring system to track the progress of government
applications. Now, citizens will know at all times where

Source: Seoul, South Korea: http://www.metro.seoul.kr

4) Responsiveness
Good governance requires that institutions and
processes try to serve all stakeholders within a
reasonable timeframe.

Source: UNDP


5) Consensus Orientation
There are several actors and as many view points in
a given society. Good governance requires mediation
of the different interests in society to reach a broad
consensus in society on what is in the best interest of
the whole community and how this can be achieved.
Example: The Participatory Budget
For nearly a decade, the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil,
has been involved in an innovative experiment in local
decision-making: the Participatory Budget. Through a
series of regional, sub-regional and thematic meetings,
citizens scrutinize the past years expenditures, agree upon
current priorities and allocate funds for new projects. An
Investment Plan is developed and forwarded to the Citys
executive council. While the executive body retains the right
to modify and amend the Investment Plan, the broad-based
participatory process guarantees that any amendments
are made within the framework of fundamental principles.
Between 15-25 percent of Porto Alegres annual budget is
allocated according to this participatory model. Currently,
over 70 cities are implementing their own Participatory
Budgets based on the Porto Alegre experience.
Source: UNDP

6) Equity and Inclusiveness

A societys well being depends on ensuring that all its
members feel that they have a stake in it and do not
feel excluded from the mainstream of society.


Example: College for the urban poor

Recently in Hyderabad, Dr Reddys Foundation (DRF),
a social arm of Dr Reddys Laboratories, started Kallam
Anji Reddy Vocational Junior College. The college aims

at providing cost-free, livelihood-oriented education to

the deserving deprived urban adolescents. Given its
commitment to the cause of the underprivileged, the college
was recognised by the Board of Intermediate Education.
The courses were designed keeping in mind the needs of
young people as well as preparing them to face the realistic
expectations from the world of work with an appropriate
mix of academics, life skills, technical skills, workplace
preparedness skills, service-learning activities and extracurricular activities, the release said. The State Government
was planning to introduce bridge courses for the students
from the vocational stream to pursue further studies in
professional courses. The Government was also planning
to introduce short-term courses of three months, six months
and one year for the 10th class dropouts, which can fetch
them suitable employment on the basis of the skills they
learn. According to Dr Kallam Anji Reddy, the Chairman
of Dr Reddys Foundation, the goal of the Foundation
was to create a million jobs by the end of current decade.
DRF acts as a catalyst of change to foster, develop and
promote sustainable public-private partnership initiatives
that were engaged with shaping young lives of deprived
urban children and youth.
Source: The Hindu Business Line, Website: http://www.thehindu
businessline.com/2003/11/06/ stories/2003110602681700.htm

7) Effectiveness and Efciency

Good governance means that processes and institutions
produce results that meet the needs of society while
making the best use of resources at their disposal.
Example: Partnering for Slums
SPARC recently pioneered a breakthrough of sorts
when they completed an ambitious housing project in

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Dharavi in Mumbai, India by convincing a multinational

corporation to pitch in. Global corporations, often accused
of exploitative relationships with third-world countries in
which they operate are increasingly showing interest in
knowing how they can prove they have a heart too. This
is exactly what Citibank did when it partnered two local
NGOs the Mumbai-based Society for Promotion of
Area Resource Centre (SPARC) and the National Slum
Dwellers Federation to make housing a reality for the
underprivileged in a tight real-estate market like Mumbais.
But in this case, the corporate donor didnt simply hand
over the money and walk away, but lent its nancial
management expertise on a sustainable and long-term
basis for creating infrastructure for the poor.

able to highlight the partnership in its publicity material.

Though Mumbais real-estate market plunged to new lows,
threatening the viability of the project, and having the
lenders express strong doubts about the initial nancial
assumptions, the project was continued with tenacity.
Meanwhile the Slum Dwellers Federation ensured there
was enough demand among Dharavis inhabitants to
justify the original plans.

The initiative began in 1998 when members of three

groups in Dharavi approached the National Slum Dwellers
Federation, a partner of SPARC for the last 18 years, with
the idea of building on the land they were squatting. A
complex nancing scheme to construct a three-building
structure of more than 250 units to house slum dwellers
in Dharavi was put together. The challenge was to make
the project a commercially viable one. The promoters were
sure they did not want to depend on one-time grants for
nance. So they hit upon the idea of taking a loan for
construction. SPARC had been working with Citibank
India previously and got in touch with some employees
to help produce a project proposal that a bank would
consider. Since Citibank was keen on the experiment the
possibility of the bank nancing the loan emerged.

Source: Society For Promotion Of Area Resources (SPARC), Website:


SPARC also got the UK-based Homeless International

to play the role of a guarantor. Citibank agreed to
lend $750,000 to the housing project, while Homeless
International agreed to reimburse the rst 20 per cent of
the loan in case of default. In return, Citibank was to be

Currently, two of the three buildings have been completed,

and committed buyers have been found for a few of
the for sale units at the asking price. And Citibank has
increased the loan amount to $1.5 million, twice the
amount originally promised.

8) Accountability
Accountability is a key requirement of good
governance. Not only governmental institutions but
also the private sector and civil society organisations
must be accountable to the public and to their
institutional stakeholders. Accountability cannot be
enforced without transparency and the rule of law.
Example: Land Online
An e-governance programme in Karnataka, India
aptly titled Bhoomi (land) has computerised 20
million records of 6.7 million landowners in 176 farming
communities in the state. This allows any farmer in the
state to obtain a copy of the Record of Rights, Tenancy
and Crops a critical document of ownership, which
enables the farmer to secure bank loans for a minimal
charge of Rs.15.


Bhoomi centres are located at the sub-district ofces

and run on a comprehensive software programme that
prints land records and does online updating of land
records. The software also records and identies the
ngerprint of the ofcial who enters the change of
ownership or sale of any piece of land in the state (to
ensure that no one can hack into the system). Bhoomi
also enables the scanning of original mutation orders
and notices served; this method provides a record to the
revenue inspector and ensures that interested parties
do not claim in court that they were not served with a
notice before the change was made. The software also
aims to facilitate more informed policy decisions through
the generation of various reports based on type of soil,
land-holding size, and type of crops grown.
Bhoomi has also eradicated the need for farmers to bribe
ofcials in order to obtain the documents, as manual
land records in operationalised farming communities are
Source: The Communications Initiative, Website: http://www. comminit.

9) Strategic Vision
Leaders and the public have a broad and longterm perspective on good governance and human
development, together with a sense of what is
needed for such development. There is also an
understanding of the historic, cultural and social
complexities in which that perspective is grounded.


Example: Municipalities gear up for reforms

The Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC),
Keshav Sthapit has said that he plans to introduce

a new form of governance, which would make the

working of KMC more transparent. The mayor plans
to form a Metropolitan Forum as well as hold all KMC
meetings in the National Conference Hall, which would
assist in his bid to make the work of the metropolitan
more transparent. The mayor further said that he
would run the city in a business-like manner. A mayor
should be a businessman with political vision, and
that is exactly what I am, Sthapit added. He further
said that a probe organisation would be formed and
immediate action taken against staff found involved
in irregularities.
Running into his third week in office, the mayor
spoke of his ambitious plan for Kathmandu Valley
which included plans for making the capital a selfsustainable city as well as establishment of a Peace
College and an Information Technology centre and
conversion of municipality building as a centre for
Source: Nepali Times, Website:http://www.nepalitimes.com

Whos involved in Governance?

Most people assume that governance is the concern
of the government. But in reality, government is only
one of the actors in the governance process. In
many countries the large stakeholders in governance
include civil society organisations, businesses, the
private sector, political parties, the civil service, local
governments, parliamentarians. Other actors in
governance depend on the type of government, its
political leanings and afliations, as also cultural, social
and economic factors.

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

In rural areas, other actors would include influential

landlords, associations of peasant farmers, co-operatives,
NGOs, religious leaders, community elders or traditional
chiefs, nancial institutions, research institutions, political
parties and the military to name a few.
Urban governance is a more complicated process as
shown in the gure on this page. It provides you a
picture of the interconnections between actors involved
in urban governance. The actors include the urban elites,
the middle class and the urban poor who may interact
via many agents, associations or institutions. These
include the national, provincial and local governments,
business organisations, NGOs, CBOs, trade unions,
academic institutions, media organisations, criminal
(maa) syndicates, etc.
At national level, other actors such as lobbyists, media
(international and national), foreign aid agencies,
multinational corporations, international organisations and
foreign advisors may play a role in decision-making or in
inuencing the decision-making process. All actors, other
than the government, military and foreign corporations
and organisations are grouped together as part of the
civil society. In some countries this civil societys role
in inuencing the decision-making process is seriously
disrupted by organised crime networks.
However, the three main actors involved in good
governance are the State, the Civil Society and the Private
Sector. The State provides the foundation of Justice,
Equity and Peace, creating conducive political and legal
environs for human progress. The Civil Society provides
the foundation of Liberty, Equality, Responsibility and Selfexpression. The Private Corporate Sector provides the
foundations of economic growth and development.


Promulgating laws
Maintaining their rule
Regulating socio-economic standards,
Developing social and physical infrastructure
Ensuring social safety nets,
Civic protection and inclusionary measures to
help mainstream the marginalised, the
disadvantaged and the excluded.

Civil Society

Private Sector

Organizing the communities

Facilitating political and social
Educating the communities
Fostering the cultures city
Supporting solidarity actions
Mobilizing groups to participate in the
economic and social life

Employment and income generation

Setting and constantly upgrading corporate
Service delivery
Increasing Productivity and trade
Human resource development
Providing safety nets and social protection
to include the excluded.

Three major Actors of Governance - http://www.unescap.org/huset/hangzhou/paper/model1.gif


government decision
makers; appointed local
decision makers; formal
business decision makers

middle level
officers; national
& local education
providers & experts;
private sector
employees; CSOs,
The Urban Middle Class:
but has the greatest
potential to bring about change

trade unions

daily wage earners;

low level government
workers in the
informal sector;
The Urban Poor:
suffer the most
are exploited
Must be strengthened,
but beginning to
activated and given space
get organized
so as to empower them

All three are critical to achieve sustainable human

development. The intricate intercourse between and
among these three domains will indicate the direction of
the societys economic and social ight plan. Any attempt at
measuring good governance must have indicators to assess
the effectiveness of interplay among these regimes.



Good governance is both a goal and a process. In helping

us to nd solutions to poverty, inequality and insecurity, it
creates an environment in which civil society organisations,

Link: www.unescap.org/huset/gg/governance.htm


the business community, private citizens and other

institutions can assume ownership of the city development
process and the management of their communities.

People Centred Cities

It is crucial that the different stakeholders in the urban
governance arena play their parts to the fullest potential to
ensure good governance. The following boxes highlight how
different stakeholders can make the essential difference
for the governance process.

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities


...we should be the critical part of the state.
Parliamentarians exist in a critical relationship with
the executive and as much as the state can do
things, we dene very sharply what the state can
do to further development. Where is it written that
parliamentarians have to act critically and make the
state do what it can do? We all agree that the state
cannot do as much as we thought it could do in the
nineteen sixties and seventies. For various reasons
- not all ideological - some are real material reasons,
the state can do less than before. However, we
the parliamentarians need to ensure that the
state does its part as well as preventing the state
from doing things it should not do. One question the
Human Development Report has only addressed
sort of indirectly is where does human development
come from? We make decisions by regions and
states and so on, but that is not the right way to
think about human development.
Human development is what people do in their
daily lives. People make decisions in their daily lives
about house work; whether to work outside; what
kind of work to undertake; what to do about their
childrens health; how to nd good schools for the
children; how to basically plan their lifestyle; wealth
accumulation. And in doing these things, people
encounter both opportunities and obstacles.
The opportunities encountered are basically created
in this enabling environment - job opportunities,
access to assets, the fact that people do not face
discrimination in hiring.

Democracy is not doing people at the bottom any

good because the structures, which have been
set-up have not been designed with the poor in
mind and we have to face this reality. Ill give you
another rule. If the budget legislation doesnt hurt
you, its not good legislation. You are in the top ve
percent or perhaps top one percent of the income
distribution in your respective countries. I know you
all claim thats not so.
We dont like these very simple things because the
so-called right thing is to say that. And we dismiss
them because we have won the argument. But we
should not forget that at the bottom of all of this is
the creation of an enabling environment in which
people create development. People create wealth
and we are essentially the servants of the people who have to help and once more we have to check
each other from lining our own pockets in the form
of another expenditure. This again, clich though it
is, is very difcult to implement, because we havent
even got budget reprocedures. We havent even
got cost-benet calculus, which actually reects
the true incidents of state expenditures. Your
statisticians and your economists will tell you Sir,
we have no data - well tell them to get it. Get the
data and let us see to it that we create an enabling
environment, which is actually enabling and not
just proliferating.
We have talked a lot about sustainable development
and there are lots of denitions for sustainable
development but it is about leaving the world to our

children, making sure that we leave the world to our

children as we found it.
First of all, the world as we nd it is not worth
leaving to our children - its not good enough. We
have to improve the world right now and make it
more equitable before we leave it to the children.
But whats more when you talk about leaving it
to future generations, we talk about them as if
they were not here, but they are already here.
Another test of our policies again, and again is to
ask ourselves. Is the policy benecial to children?
Does it actually reduce child poverty and improve
the life chances of children?
Once you put that question forward, the gender
issue becomes completely and utterly explicit in
any development programme. You dont have to
try hard to latch it onto it because that is where
it all centres. If we can ask ourselves whether
our economic policies are child centred and
actually benet children then we are creating an
enabling environment. Rhetoric is not going to
help people down at the bottom and that is where
help is needed.
- Prof. Lord Desai of St. Clement Danes, Director, Centre
for the Study of Global Governance, Prof. Department
of Economics, London School of Economics, Excerpt
from Keynote Address at the Parliamentarians Forum,
International Conference on Governance for Sustainable
Growth and Equity United Nations, New York, 28-30 July



ur aim is to transform Mexico City into a

space for a dignied and fruitful coexistence
among all who live there, without any exclusion
or marginalisation, so that the very diverse
forms of wealth created there are fundamentally
transformed into benets shared by all. In this
sense the administration of the city, the solution
of its problems and the encouragement of its
potential must be understood as being the
task not only of a single official or a single
organisation, but of all its inhabitants.
This is the force we are proposing to unleash, and
a great challenge is to be faced. It lies at the heart
of our proposed form of government.


To do so, there is a need to change the conception

and the traditional forms of relationship between
the public authorities and the community. To
date, the former has decided vertically and the
latter has passively accepted and waited. The
new government of the Federal District will have
to be a strong promoter of organisation of the
citizens and their political growth. The citizens
will have to be constantly encouraged as active
subjects in the transformation of the city, with
increasingly broad and decisive participation in
decision-making. Democratic management will be
decentralised to the point where the people feel
and know that it is in their hands. The building
of democracy will be carried on by transferring
the real exercise of power from the bodies
and modalities where it has to date been held
and exercised to society in its various forms of
organisation, participation and expression.

The central problem of societies with weak

or emerging democratic cultures is that they
suffer from a great absence - the absence of a
participatory civil society. Very often, another major
lack is also apparent: the lack of mechanisms to
permit and facilitate such participation. Thus a
primordial obligation of democratically elected
local authorities is to promote the legislation
and strengthen the mechanisms that will permit
society to engage in the real exercise of power.
Transforming political power into an independent
and sovereign act of the people is without a doubt
the most important step people can take to making
themselves the decisive factors for the present and
the future. Herein lies, fundamentally, the struggle
between authoritarianism and democracy.
Local authorities are a key element in this process
of transforming societies striving for effective
legitimacy of the real powers of peoples. This is
the change that we countries moving towards
a full democracy are seeking to bring about.
The balance of powers and the full rendering of
accounts continue to be, in many cases, matters
that are still pending.
Together with the democratization of our power
structures, we are faced with the need to develop
new economic policies that take into account
an essential factor: the obligation to redistribute
national income and open up opportunities for
improvement in a just and equitable manner.
Questioning of what we have termed neo-liberalism
is today, a task that is shared among thinkers,
politicians, technicians and administrators. It is not

a pointless act of social and economic criticism,

as those who impose and benet from the socially
exclusive policies of the model would like to depict
it, but a task to be performed today in order to
achieve a better tomorrow. To achieve governance
today, a society is needed that has a State
which reassumes its social responsibilities and a
government that makes an effort to improve the
living conditions of all, and does not govern solely
in order to keep the macroeconomic indicators
in balance.
Responsibility in economic management is dened
by ghting the corruption of authorities and of those
who cluster around them, sharing illicit prots, and
by eliminating unnecessary expenditure. It also
has to do with spending on social needs and not
individual ends. Lastly, it entails sensible planning
with clear objectives, not wasteful expenditure by
governments with no effect controls or real plans.
For all of these reasons, it is essential to work
with local authorities. Co-operation and shared
experience must be the objectives of governments
which, from different countries, we can link with
the will of all. The relationship between authorities,
workers, businessmen and civil society must be
strengthened until they become the links in a long
chain of feedback that permits decision-making on
the basis of real and lasting social consensus.
- Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, Former Head of the Elected
Government of the Federal District, Mexico City, Mexico
Excerpt from Keynote Address at the International
Colloquium of Mayors, International Conference on
Governance for Sustainable Growth and Equity, United
Nations, New York, 28-30 July 1997

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Innovation leads Public-Private Partnerships

ne of the terms often bandied around today

is public-private partnerships or PPP. PPPs
that are effective and beneficial to both parties
involved are not only difficult to create but also
rare to find.
PPP projects help to reduce risks in the run-up
to or at the start of the investment. In northeast
Brazil, near BelTm, automotive parts are now being
manufactured from coconut shell fibers. The idea
for the project has come from the Poverty and the
Environment in Amazonia program. It was one of
their many ideas to reuse the coconut shells. This
has led to the creation of Poematec, a production
company financed by Mercedes-Benz of Brazil
where seats, headrests, sunshields and backrests
for cars are manufactured from coconut shell
fibers. It is the most modern processing plant for
natural fibers in all of Latin America. Small farmers
in the region supply the eight processing plants
with up to 100 tones of coconut fibers each month.
Cutting edge coconut fiber processing equipment
has been installed in an area of 16.000m.

DaimlerChrysler. Since its creation, POEMA has

believed in the opportunity of bringing together a
wide array of partners, whether they belong to the
private or public sector or civil society. The fiber
project brings together the State Government
on behalf of community-related activities, the
Municipality (for the obtaining of the factory
terrain), DaimlerChrysler (for the machinery and
technical equipment on the basis of a leasing
contract), the Bank of Amazonias Banco da Amaz
(for the provision of small credits to the producers
organisation) and the German organisation DEG
(Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft) for the
building of the factory infrastructure.
In the future, tree nurseries will also be set up in
order to supply the small farmers with seedlings of
the various plants. Honda uses seats from coconut
fibres for their motorcycles and VW, General
Motors, and Ford are also interested in the jungle
project that promotes both mixed cultivation and
protection of the rain forest.
More details are available at: http://www.deginvest.

The pilot project began in 1993 for the processing

of coconut fiber on the island Maraj in the
community Ponta de Pedras, by means of a
cooperation agreement between the Federal
University of Para through the Program of Poverty
and Environment in the Amazon (POEMA) and

de/english/home/info_service/press , http://www.poematec.
com.br/eng/historia.htm, http://www.manager-magazin.de,
Source: UNDP - Public Private Partnerships for the Urban
Environment (PPPUE), http://www.undp.org/ppp/


Why Citizens are central to good governance

trengthening the relationship between a

government and its citizens might seem to
be such an obvious priority for democracies that
it hardly needs spelling out. Yet governments
everywhere have been criticised for being remote
from the people, not listening enough and not
seeking participation. Street protests from Seattle
to Genoa may have grabbed most of the headlines,
but less spectacular developments have included a
steady erosion of voter turnout in elections, falling
membership in political parties in virtually every
OECD country and declining condence in key
public institutions.
In 2001, fewer than three in ve people bothered
to vote in the British general elections - fewer
still turned out for a referendum on the French
presidency. Calls for greater government
transparency and accountability have grown
as public and media scrutiny of government
action increases. At the same time, new forms
of representation and participation in the public
sphere are emerging in all OECD countries.


Not that consultation and participation never

happen, they do. But these efforts are too often
focused on specic issues where public interest is
already high, such as the environment or consumer
protection, and have not been imitated enough
throughout government as an integral part of
the whole democratic and law-making process.
Healthcare is another area where consultation
and public participation appear to work well in

several countries, for instance, with Frances

scrutinising public juries, Canadas National
Forum on Health and Denmarks patient advocacy
groups. The pressure is now on to spread this
type of consultation and participation to all areas
of government, from budgeting to foreign policy.
These new demands are emerging against the
backdrop of a fast-moving, globalised world
increasingly characterised by networks rather than
hierarchy. Internet has opened up new frontiers
in the independent production and exchange of
information while providing a powerful tool for coordination among players on opposite sides of the
globe. Businesses have been among the rst to
capitalise on this new reality, while international
civil society has not been far behind. Governments
have, in contrast, been slow to reap the benets of
a network approach to good governance and are
only now discovering the advantages of engaging
citizens and civil society organisations in shaping
and implementing public policy.

ranging from traditional opinion polls of the

population at large to consensus conferences with
small groups of laypersons. Experience has shown,
however, that without leadership and commitment
throughout the public administration, even the best
policies will have little practical effect.

Citizens as partners
Engaging citizens in policy-making allows
governments to tap new sources of ideas,
information and resources when making

The scope, quantity and quality of government

information provided to the public has increased
greatly over the past 20 years and legal rights
to information are widespread among OECD
countries. In 1980 only 20% of OECD countries
had legislation on access to information, by 1990
the gure had doubled to over 40% and by the
end of 2000 it had doubled again to reach 80%.
But six OECD countries Germany, Luxembourg,
Mexico, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey do not
as yet have freedom of information laws.

The starting point is clear. To engage people

effectively in policymaking, governments must
invest adequate time and resources in building
robust legal, policy and institutional frameworks.
They must develop and use appropriate tools,

The key ingredients for success in engaging

citizens in policymaking are close at hand,
including information, consultation and public
participation. Information provided has to be
objective, complete, relevant, easy to nd and
easy to understand. And there has to be equal
treatment when it comes to obtaining information
and participating in policymaking. This means,
among other things, governments doing all they
can to cater for the special needs of linguistic
minorities or the disabled. Several OECD countries,
including Canada, Finland and Switzerland, have
laws ensuring that information is provided in all
of the countrys ofcial languages.

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Le g a l r i g h t s t o c o n s u l t a t i o n a n d a c t i v e
participation are less common. In some
countries, such as Canada, Finland and Japan,
the government is required to consult with
citizens to assess the impact of new regulations.
But it is not enough to inform in advance; if
governments want people to invest their time
in consultation, they must account for the use
of that input in policymaking and explain their
decisions afterwards.
But once these rights are in place, what then?
Timing in public consultation is essential. Indeed,
it should be as early as possible in the policy
process. After all, people may well be more angry
and frustrated at being asked for input when a
decision has already been taken than if they had
not been consulted at all. Early on in preparing
its Freedom of Information Act, passed in 2000,
the UK government conducted extensive public
consultation and parliament received 2 248
comments on the draft bill. The UK is the latest
among the OECD countries to introduce such
an act.
Today, there are widespread efforts to put more
government information online and open up
arenas for online consultation, like the America
Speaks citizens electronic forum in the US, the
UKs discussion and information portal, Citizens
Space, or Finlands Share Your Views With Us. All
laudable initiatives, but they have their limits (not
everyone is online for a start), so when it comes
to feeding citizens suggestions into policymaking,
Internet is not enough on its own.

Clear roles
The respective roles and responsibilities of the
government (making a decision for which it is
held accountable and on which its performance
may be judged) and the citizen (providing input for
the decision-making process) must be clear too.
Citizens are not government, they elect it and want
to be served by it. But if they are to participate
more than just via the ballot box, then they
need proper access to information, meaningful
consultation and opportunities to take an active
part in policymaking.
The government must be clear from the start
about its objectives in seeking the publics views,
as well as being careful not to raise unrealistic
expectations. As the questionnaire received from
New Zealand noted, one of the most common
reasons cited for a consultation failing is that it
was carried out for its own sake rather than to
genuinely shape policy. Asking people vague
questions about, say environmental quality,
rather than asking the public to comment on the
specic policy options available, like choosing
between new railways or roads, only leads to
public disillusionment. But people tend to accept
the outcome of a fair process, even if it is not
the solution they would have chosen. There is
of course a danger that seeking public input
too often may lead to consultation fatigue. By
recognising that the time and effort citizens
invest in being consulted by government is a
precious resource, steps can be taken to improve
co-ordination and avoid duplication across
government units.

Building democracy
The current difficult political and economic
climate has led to talk about the return of
government, not just as regulator and arbiter,
but as a key partner in free-market economies,
as well as provider of security, emergency
services and defence. But its role in promoting
political and social cohesion in our civilisation
has not been emphasised enough. In the present
turmoil, the point should not be forgotten that the
strength of democracy lies in having active and
informed citizens. Governments can no longer
afford to provide incomplete information or just
ask the public its opinions on matters that are
fait accompli.
And while reaffirming governments role is
welcome, it would be no good returning to old
models of large, impenetrable, secretive public
institutions. Transparency, public consultation
and participation are more important than ever
to improve policy and reinforce democracy
and stability. Promoting open and transparent
government, while guaranteeing security, privacy
and civil liberties, is a major challenge of our
by Joanne Caddy
Citizens as Partners: Information, Consultation and Public
Participation in Policy-Making, OECD, 2001, http://www.


ood governance demands the consent and the

participation of the governed and the full and
lasting involvement of all citizens in the future of their
nation. I have been deeply gratied by the movement
towards good governance that is taking place around
the world. The success of this new movement
begins with a single and simple proposition the
will of the people. The will of the people must be
the basis of governmental authority. That is the
foundation of democracy. That is the foundation of
good governance.
Good governance will give every citizen, young or old,
man or woman, a real and lasting stake in the future
of his or her societies politically, economically, and
socially. With that stake in their minds and hearts,
there are no limits to what the peoples of your
countries can achieve.
Many of you have gathered here as mayors
and local leaders because you wish to effect
positive and immediate change in the lives of your
constituents. Many of you have been elected by
newly empowered citizens, who seldom, if ever,


have had the power and privilege of representative

I salute you for your courage and your leadership.
You are showing the way to an era of new and
effective government. You have understood and
more importantly you have demonstrated that good
governance must be built from the ground up.
It cannot be imposed, either by national authorities,
or by international agencies. It cannot be created
overnight, nor can it take root in one day. Good
governance is an accomplishment. It is the fruit of
true dedication, seless leadership, and politics of
Indeed, if all politics are local, so too can it be said
that all good politics begin with good local politics.
By bringing good governance closer to those who
have elected you, by showing that honest, efcient
government is possible, you are giving new life and
new reason to politics.
- Ko Annan Inaugural Address, International Conference on
Governance for Sustainable Growth and Equity, 28-30 July 1997

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Measuring Good Governance

Tool for the common people

Until recently, economic indicators were used to measure

the success or failure of good governance, such as the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the National Per Capita
Income. But, the truth is that economic growth alone does
not result in sustainable human development. History of
the past 50 years gives enough examples to prove that
accelerate economic growth by its own will not result in
human progress.

Often, benchmarks and indicators that adjudicate policies and

concepts that serve the common man or woman, are mired in
specialist jargon. This often puts these very benchmarks and
indicators out of reach of the average citizen. However one of
the more people-friendly tools on the urban governance scene
are the Report Cards.

Good governance is not an accident - it has to be planned

and managed - and managing the process is a task by
itself. The diagram below gives an indication of how an
impact assessment approach could be used to measure
good governance.
The Uses of Impact Assessment Indicators
What's working well in the city
& why?
What needs further attention
& Improvement?

Build Vision & Strategy
Plan the Future
Ensure Policies & Programmes are
responsive to citizen needs.
Reform City Management Systems
Effect necessary Legal Reforms
Provide Platforms for Participation
Create/use Instruments of Transparency

Constant Watch-Tower Review
What are our municipality's strengths
& opportunities?
How can we use them to make
governance more effective?
In which areas is our city
governance weak? and why?

Source: http://www.unescap.org/huset/hangzhou/paper/model2.gif

The TUGI Report Cards are a method for not only assessing
the extent to which local governments practice the nine
characteristics of good urban governance, (i.e. participation, rule
of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation,
equity, effectiveness & efciency, accountability and strategic
vision), they are also a constructive and creative process for
developing plans of action.
There are currently 16 different issues and specic sectors
which the Report Cards examine from the perspective of the
nine characteristics mentioned above. These include Solid
Waste, Employment and Job Creation, Urban Poverty, Water and
Sanitation, Shelter and Housing, Health Services, Transportation
and Trafc Congestion, Participation, Corruption (Integrity),
Cultural Heritage, Gender & Development, Children, Elderly
Citizens, the Physically and Mentally Challenged, HIV & AIDS
and the General Report Card.
The TUGI Report Cards aim to promote the participation of
people in local government in close collaboration with local
councils and members of the private sector community. They are
a participatory tool for people to gain ownership of governance
processes. For humane governance to be achieved, people
should be the ultimate end of governance as Mahbub ul Haq
said. We must try to reect peoples values and aspirations, only
then can we achieve an innovative breakthrough towards good
governance practices at all local and national levels.


Report Card Success Stories



Metropolitan City Council used the General Report
Card (Nepali translation) with 150 children in the city.
They participated in an assessment of how well their
urban environment was being managed. Community
support and response were excellent. Issues
associated with urban governance and managerial
issues were discussed with the children at a level
at which they could respond and actively participate.
The TUGI Report Card proved extremely adaptable
to child users, unlike other political participation
tools that tend to overlook their adaptability to the
special requirements of child participants. As a result
of the use of the Report Card in this manner, ve
environmental clubs were established in local schools
in February, 2000.
on Cultural Heritage was eld-tested in Medan,
Indonesia and Penang, Malaysia. The results of
the eld-test were presented directly to the Chief
Minister of the State of Penang in a workshop that
was organised specically for that purpose. Penang
scored 40% on the Report Card. This result was
met with a constructive response from the State

government, which also made a commitment to

cooperate with the agency that operationalised the
eld-test of the Report Card on Cultural Heritage,
the Asia and West Pacific Network for Urban
Conservation (AWPNUC), together with all other
interested parties. In this manner, the TUGI Report
Card played the role of facilitator in essence bringing
the government closer to the governed.


caught the attention of the Division for Democratic
Issues at the Swedish Ministry of Justice set up in
1999 specically to intensify citizen involvement, in
the wake of low voter turnout in the last general
elections. They contacted TUGI for new and
interesting ideas for promoting political participation
in aspects of the eld-testing of the Report Card
on Political Participation. These included citizen
response, the indicators that had been developed,
the method of implementation, obstacles and
achievements. In this way, TUGI facilitated the
exchange of information and experience gathered
by organisations in the developing world to those that
hope to make changes for the better in the urban
governance of industrialised countries.

Chapter 4: Good Governance and Urban Communities

Samples of Report Card



What is good governance?, <www.unescap.org/
Human Development in South Asia: The Crisis of
Governance, The Mahbub Ul Haq Human Development
Centre, Oxford University Press, 1999
A s i a n D e v e l o p m e n t B a n k , h t t p : / / w w w. a d b.
Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, City Care
Annual Newsletter, March 2002, Civil Society Tests
id 21, Insights magazine #43, www.id21.org/insights/
insights43/ insights-iss43-art01.html
Seoul Metropolitan city http://english.seoul.go.kr/
UNDP, www.undp.org/dpa/frontpagearchive/2001/
UNDP Poverty page, www.sdnp.undp.org/poverty/
links/Poverty/ Anti- Poverty_Strategies/Alternative_
The Hindu Business Line, Website: http://
www.thehindubusinessline.com/2003/11/0 6/


Society For Promotion Of Area Resources (SPARC),

Website: http:///www.sparcindia.org

The Communications Initiative, Website: http://www.

Nepali Times, Website:http://www.nepalitimes.com
UNDP- PPPUE website, www.undp.org/ppp
Caddy, Joanne, Citizens as Partners: Information,
Consultation and Public Participation in Policy-Making,
OECD, 2001, http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/
UNDP-TUGI website, www.tugi.org
Porter, Julia, Sustainability and good governance
- what can we learn from The Urban Governance
Initiative?, paper presented at the Sustaining Our
Communities conference, Adelaide, March 2002.

Chapter 5: Practical Approaches to Good Governance

ood governance ensuring

respect for human rights and
the rule of law, strengthening
democratisation and promoting
transparency and capability in
public administration is now
more than ever the condition for
the success of both peace and
- Ko Annan, Secretary-General of the
United Nations

ood governance will give every

citizen, young or old, man or
woman, a real and lasting stake in
the future of his or her societies -politically, economically, and socially.
With that stake in their minds and
hearts, there are no limits to what
the peoples of your countries can
- Ko Annan, Secretary-General of the
United Nations


t the core of a practical participatory governance approach

is an emphatic commitment by a given municipality to
deliver effective, efcient and relevant services to urban
citizens and stakeholders. The good governance lenses such
as Report Cards and indicators are geared towards creating on
a sustainable basis a process which creates bonds of mutual
trust and co-operation between the municipal authorities and
various urban actors such as the civil society and business.
This chapter looks at how some of these processes of good
governance perform in various parts of Asia and the Pacic,
and possible lessons to be learned by others through their
successes and failures.
Edgar Pieterse of the ISANDLA Institute of Capetown
and Jyri Juslen of the Urban Management Programme
(UMP) of UNHabitat list 4 dimensions or spheres that a
municipality can practically activate to maximise the benets
of a participatory governance approach. These are:


1) City-wide Decision Making Frameworks

The traditional municipal administration approach
which involves centralised decision-making, narrow
technocratic urban management strategies and topdown policy-making are simply inadequate responses.
A new approach rests on the need to draw on the
multiple strengths and capacities of all the urban
actors, ranging from large and powerful multinational
corporations to the dense array of informal traders
that provide goods and services to the urban poor. It
also includes the myriad of civil society organisations
who may focus narrowly on interest-based issues or
grassroots associations that champion social needs
of the citizenry. In practice this means some form of
city-wide gathering that creates a platform for different
stakeholders to express their interests and vision for the

city. The purpose is to foster a shared vision that can lay

the basis for rationalising energy, sharing resources and
collaborative action (refer boxed story on Colombo).
2) Mobilising Around Priority Flagship Programmes
In most cities, urban actors will agree on a few critical
high priority issues (ie. reducing urban poverty or
environmental degradation). On the basis of this shared
understanding, high prole agship programmes can
be designed as a practical means that urban actors can
use to learn to work collaboratively and systematically.
For example, a city-wide participation forum can develop
a city-wide greening campaign to link questions
about urban open spaces with socio-economic issues
stemming from poor environmental health.
3) Institutional Reforms
Most cities boast large municipal bureaucracies that
operate along traditional Weberian lines and are largely
incapable of working exibly and responding rapidly to
multiple and shifting demands. Levering in the expertise
and contribution of other urban actors will assist in
shifting these cultures, but, it can only be complimentary
to internal organisational change processes. Such
restructuring has to rst affect the role of the elected
representatives and especially their interface with the
citizenry and the municipal administration.
4) Monitoring and Learning to Maintain Momentum
If governance strategies are not underpinned by
concrete mechanisms to allow continued monitoring
and periodic impact assessments, these would fail to
deliver results. To sustain the momentum of deepening
participatory governance, it is imperative to foster
a reective and learning culture in the search for
sustainable urban development solutions.

Chapter 5: Practical Approaches to Good Governance

From recent experience in many cities, it may be

concluded that good urban governance could be
energised and sustained in these 4 spheres, only if the
following prerequisites are in place:
a) Political will to increase participation and
b) Institutional Structures/mechanisms to implement the
c) The necessary working methods to operate through

The Colombo Experience

he experience of the Colombo City

Council, Sri Lanka is a good example of
the participatory governance approach.

meetings led to the main city consultation

meeting, during which an action plan was

City-wide Decision Making Frameworks:

In November 1998, the Colombo City Council,
Sevanatha Urban Resource Centre and the
Urban Management Programme (UMP)
signed an agreement to start the Colombo
City Consultation (CCC). The area dened for
collaborative action was the improvement of
urban governance through developing revenue
mobilisation, community participation and the
decentralisation of municipality services.

Institutional Reforms:
Recommendations in the action plan included
institutional support for ensuring effective
community participation by (a) making
appropriate policy decisions to recognise
CDCs as relevant institutions for peoples
participation in municipal service delivery,
(b) strengthening the institutional and
nancial aspects of CDCs, (c) revitalising
the CDC structure. In addition to these
recommendations, it was agreed that new
methods of participation should be introduced
to ensure that communities are able to
participate effectively in the development

Mobilising Around Priority Flagship

Programmes :
The practical work started off with an
awareness meeting for the heads of
municipal departments and a workshop for
Community Development Councils (CDC).
The CDC system was established in 1979
by the Colombo Municipality Council (CMC).
During the 20 years that CDCs have been
operating several problems have emerged. In
1998 only one-fth was operational. Through
the CCC process there is an attempt to
strengthen the CDC system and use it as a
means of increasing community participation
and decentralising the service delivery system.
During the CCC process a series of meetings
were held between CMC ofcials, the CDC
leaders and various stakeholders. These

Monitoring and Learning to Maintain

Only time will tell whether the prerequisites for
governance have been fullled in Colombo.
Success depends on quick improvements in
some areas of municipal service delivery, the
sustainability of the revitalised CDC system
and the acceptance of the city consultative
process as an effective framework for joint
Source: Dossier, South Asian Journalists workshop on
urban governance, TUGI-UNDP, 2003.


Peoples Town

Young Democracy

bout 1,000 families are in the

process of relocating from
squatter settlements around the
city of Nakhon Sawan, to a peoples
town they are designing on land
in the centre of town. The Thai
National Housing Authority (NHA) is
to provide roads and infrastructure,
the people will build their own
houses with loans obtained from
the Urban Community Development
Ofce (UCDO), on land obtained
from the central governments
Finance Ministry. Two young and
enthusiastic architects sketched out
the development plans together with
the women-led community network,
including schools, playgrounds and
markets. The result is a city-wide
project to provide secure housing
for all the poor in Nakhon Sawan, so
there would be no more squatting in
insecure and squalid conditions.

t a forum organised by NGOs,

children from seven slum
communities outlined what they
hoped the new Bangkok governor
would do for them. About 60
youngsters aged between 8-17
years took part in the discussion
which was attended by several
candidates for Bangkok governor,
although the eventual winner was
not present. The children raised
nine problems which concerned
them most about including drug
abuse, poor public facilities, lack
of social welfare, safety of life
and property, unequal access to
education, poverty, pornography,
gambling and the environment.
They said that they wanted a
governor who is honest, who keeps
his promises, who helps the people
no matter rich or poor, who is
good and dedicated, who helps
underprivileged children, who has
patience and responsibility and who
listens to the public.

Source: Urban Links, January 2001, TUGI

Source: Urban Links, October 2000, TUGI


Building Consensus Through City Consultations

One of the mechanisms which has proven to be useful in facilitating
participation is the city consultations. Building on practical experience
gained over the years, methods and tools to support city consultations
have evolved and developed. Some of the key questions to remember
in building this consultation process are:

Why Are City Consultations Needed?

The main purpose of a city consultation is to build consensus
among key stakeholders. A city consultation may concentrate
on stimulating public debate, exchanging views and agreeing on
broad courses of action. If the aim is to address a specic issue,
a tightly structured city consultation could act as an entry point
to a process of negotiating strategies and action plans among

Who Is Involved?
Participants in city consultations must be stakeholders - those who
are affected by the issues and those who have relevant information,
expertise and implementation instruments. Inclusiveness is the
key element of a city consultation and the urban poor should be
among the key stakeholders.

How Can Stakeholders Be Mobilised?

Mobilising stakeholders needs persuasion. They need to feel
that they are coming not merely to provide data or information,
but to share information and be part of the preparations and
implementation of the solutions to the problem.

Initially in a city consultation the atmosphere may be towards
blaming each other for the problem - the them vs us mentality
- but, as the consultation progresses, it should give way to
responsibility sharing thought process. Once that is achieved,
follow-up action will be easier to plan and implement.

Chapter 5: Practical Approaches to Good Governance

Town Councils On A Corporate Path

purred by the need to improve services to Fijis

growing urban populations and encouraged by
international development agencies, Fijis city and
town councils are embarking on a corporate path.
While Fijis urban centres have become the
major source of entertainment, study and job
opportunities, these have also become the centres
of crime, squatter settlements and the source of
major environmental pollution.
To address the problems of urban areas and to
improve services to the community, Fiji Local
Government Association (FLGA) estimates that
over the next 5 years, the councils need F$ 90
million (US$ 52 million) to upgrade its infrastructure
and develop the skills levels. This is four times
the budget of the ministry responsible for local
Realising that it is not possible to raise this money
through local revenue or government grants,
the FLGA has adopted a White Paper on Urban
Development Policy to lobby government to change
the local government act so that the city and
town councils would have more leeway in raising
funds through commercial ventures, borrowings
and collaborations with the private sector and
international agencies.
Lack of nances for infrastructure development is
a major problem and town councils in Fiji have gone

by Kalinga Seneviratne in Fiji

into commercial joint ventures to increase their

income, such as constructing commercial buildings
and renting it to tenants for shops Charan Singh,
Mayor of Tavua Town Council and FLGA spokesman
told a Regional Workshop on Urban Governance
in Nadi last month.
The FLGAs White Paper views corporate planning
not only as means of strengthening and improving
governance at local level, but also as a stepping
stone towards more integrated, permanent and
organised strategic thinking with the national
government of Fiji.
Mataiasi Vave Ragigia, the Minister for Local
Government, Housing, Squatter Settlement and
Environment and a former Lord Mayor of Suva, who
opened the Nadi workshop said that he was the rst
mayor from the Pacic to produce a strategic and
corporate plan. His 20 year plan for the Suva City
Council (SCC) received a standing ovation after
it was presented to an international gathering of
municipality ofcials in Isfhan, Iran in 1998.
Then ESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social
Commission for Asia and the Pacic) followed
this by helping city councils with the provisions of
strategic plans he added.
Ragigia explained his strategy was to invite all
stakeholders of the city to contribute ideas on how
they want Suva to be in the next 20 years. They

wanted a clean city, a vibrant city and a safe city

recalled the minister.
We all agree that the priority now is to go into
partnership with various agencies that come to
participate in council activities says Ratu Peni
Volavola, Suvas Lord Mayor.
Our funding base is limited and we have to move
out of that base to get direct external funding added
Ratu Ilitomasi Verenakadavu, Town Clerk of SCC.
He pointed out that under the existing legislation
councils are not allowed to access capital markets
to raise funds, nor are they allowed to raise taxes
without national government approval. We are
subjected to many restrictions he complained.
Singh agrees. We have to get national government
permission before increasing rates, before
embarking on commercial ventures, or taking bank
loans, even to raise salaries of our staff or before
raising market fees and for all other services (we
provide) he explained, adding, we feel were not
We have only 375 rate payers complained Ratu
Isikeli Tasere, Mayor of Sigatoka Town Council.
Many people from outside use our services and
facilities. Villagers from outside contribute to crime
in the town, such as drugs, and we have to nd
resources to solve these problems.


A common complaint of the councils is that, while the

local government act restricts them from raising funds
from outside their traditional funding sources, people
from outside their boundaries use their facilities and
services daily without contributing to the council coffers
Verenakadavu pointed out that Suvas road system is
an example of this: most of the road users are from
outside the SCC limits, who come to the city to work
and for other needs, but, the council has got to nd the
money to maintain these roads.
The SCC with assistance from the United Nations
Development Programmes The Urban Governance
Initiative (TUGI) and the University of the South
Pacic has made an evaluation of its road assets.
This report which indicated that the community
gives top priority to good road access, is being
used to outline the councils priorities on improving
the roads.
The SCC has F$ 68 million worth of road assets, but only
F$ 300,000 a year is allocated for their maintenance.
Thus, this report has drawn up a road management plan
to upgrade the roads for the next 5 years and funding
is prioritised accordingly.
The council has taken a loan close to F$ 5 million for
the rst stage of the road upgrading.


SCCs deputy works engineer Mr Jagdish Singh says

that what the TUGI funded report gave was an assets
management register which could now be used to raise
funding for implementation and improvement of roads

in the city. The government could aid with a percentage

of the fuel tax to the council.
But, for that to happen, the local government act, which
was passed in the 1940s will need amending.
The local government act is too archaic and we need
it changed Volavola told Fiji Island Business magazine.
We dont get any grants from the government.
Our revenue mainly comes from rates, business
licensing, garbage collection and parking meters. We
keep knocking on the door of power in the national
government and we hope one day they will open their
doors for us.
If the act is going to change, now is the time, because
they have a minister with his heart in the correct place.
I have my heart in local government. I have asked
councils to come up with amendments Mr Ragigia told
Fiji Island Business .
He has asked all town and city councils in Fiji to formulate
their strategy for the next decade and already 10 of the
12 councils have drawn up their corporate plans.
The FLGA hopes that the corporate plans produced
by the councils would help the government to allocate
appropriate nancial resources to the councils, while
by amending the act, the national government would
be able to develop a strategic partnership with the
councils to draw the attention of donor agencies to the
relevance, usefulness and impact of urban development
policies in Fiji.
Source: Fiji Island Business magazine, January 2004.

Chapter 5: Practical Approaches to Good Governance

Democratising Cities
The goal of the global campaign on good governance is
The Inclusive City - meaning a city where all residents
or stakeholders are included in the benets available.
It is not a city where only certain people based on their
socio-economic standing, ethnicity, religion or gender are
enjoying these benets.
Exclusion and marginalisation create and reinforce poverty
in urban societies. Exclusion means that some groups are
denied access to services that will enable them to engage
fully in the economy and in society.
The Inclusive City campaign aims to provide support to city
government all over the region to break away from political
systems which excludes people. This inclusiveness is the
red threat that runs through all the normative goals of
good urban governance.

Trishaw rider runs for Governor

rishaw rider Rasdullah is challenging

incumbent governor Sutiyoso, the citys
former military commander, for leadership of
Jakarta. According to Rasdullah If someone
like me sits in the Government, maybe the little
people wont suffer anymore. It is the little people
who have borne the brunt of Sutiyosos policy of
destroying slums, seizing pedicabs in an attempt
to eliminate them and removing street vendors.
Antipoverty activists have said that the governors
attack on the slums has purportedly left 50,000
people homeless in the last year. He reportedly
defended burning and bulldozing the shacks as a
ood-control measure.
Source: Urban Links, August 2002, TUGI

Moving Towards Creating Inclusive Cities

In most urban societies endemic corruption disables
a community, while in some others free universal
democratic rights will help to make its local authorities
more receptive to the concerns of its poorer residents.
Yet in other communities, co-operation among residents
could help to build and maintain services which
otherwise will need large nancial resources. The
stories (in boxes) in this chapter from Bhaktapur in
Nepal, Tavua in Fiji and Naga City, Philippines reect
these issues and actions.


Creating An Island Of Integrity

haktapur is a small city of 80,000 people in the

Himalayan kingdom of Nepal, where many of its
people are those struggling to survive on less than
dollar-a-day. When such a person is forced to pay for
a service which is otherwise available for free, survival
becomes a bigger battle.
This is the battle the poor in this community have to
ght every day - the battle against endemic corruption
- common in most local authorities across Nepal.
Salaries paid to council staff in the country are
very low, which leads to them getting engaged in
supplementary activities to boost their income. While
corruption is said to be largely low level, it still has an
impact on the ordinary person - especially the dollara-day citizen.
Building construction permits are generally a large
source of bribes, as people often change their plans
after being given approval to build in a certain way.
This is signicant in the Kathmandu valley, which has
been the site of numerous earthquakes.
Citizenship certicates which require many transactions
become a common source of bribes. Business registration
and sales of land are also sources of bribery.


When corrupt actions are identied and publicised in

the local press in great detail, no action is taken by
the police or the judiciary. Thus, there seem to be no
legal consequences for corrupt behaviour.
In order to do something about this, the city authorities
and Transparency International - Nepal decided to
take some preventive action. They decided on a very
Nepali path of action - that is to try and involve all or
the most important parties in nding a solution for
the problem.
This meant having extensive discussions with the
employees of the council which turned out, ultimately
successful. The process also included speaking to
the citys suppliers. In the end, the city council and
Transparency International succeeded in getting all
parties to sign a pledge of non-corrupt behaviour.
In this way, they have tried to create an island of
integrity with city employees and city suppliers of
goods and services pledging to stop giving and
taking bribes.
Source: Presentation made to a workshop on Ethical Local
Government in Durban by Ramesh Nath of Transparency
International-Nepal, 1999

Chapter 5: Practical Approaches to Good Governance

Nagas People Power Program

or the local government of Naga City (Philippines),

power is to be shared with its constituents.

Inspired by the People Power revolution of 1986,

the Naga City government drew up the People
Empowerment Program that sought to empower
the public, especially the marginalised sectors, to
enable them to participate actively in the decisionmaking and policy-setting processes of the city
government. Besides promoting transparency and
exacting accountability in local governance, the
program harnesses the skills and capacities of
individuals and organised groups to work for the
city. At the same time, it guarantees the acceptability
of its programs and activities, and increases the
chances for their long-term success.
The People Empowerment Program, a brainchild
of the City Council under the leadership of Mayor
Jesse M. Robredo, is supported by City Ordinance
95-092 called the Empowerment Ordinance.
The ordinance mandated the establishment of the
Naga City Peoples Council (NCPC) composed of
accredited non-government organisations (NGOs)
and peoples organisations (POs) in the city. Among
other things, the council engages government in
conceptualising ordinances, resolutions and other
executive decisions.
It is divided into 13 sectors: urban poor, co-operatives,
transport, women, labour, business, youth, children,

peasants, senior citizens, the handicapped, NGOs,

and the Barangay Peoples Councils (BPC) the
village level expressions of the NCPC. The NCPC
is so interwoven with the citys legislative body,
the Sangguniang Panglunsod (SP), that sectoral
councils have been created.
In 2002, the city government set up the IGovernance Program as a continuation of the
People Empowerment Program. It seeks to bring
the current partnerships-driven model of governing
in the city to the next stage, of encouraging stronger
participation by individual citizens. I-Governance
stands for inclusive governance, information
openness, interactive engagement, and innovative
One manifestation of I-Governance is the website
of the city government (http://www.naga.gov.
ph/) which provides accurate, relevant and
engaging information about Naga to the global
Internet community, particularly to web-enabled
individual Naga residents and constituents here
and abroad.
The Naga City Citizens Charter, a list of 150 things
that City Hall does for its residents, drawn up by
the city government in consultation with the NCPC,
can be accessed online. The charter is also made
available to Naga residents in hard copy. Aimed
at enhancing transparency and accountability in
government service, the charter describes how to

avail people of government services and pinpoints

the persons in charge in the delivery system.
The Empowerment Ordinance had a rough
start and it took some time to build trust and
condence between the LGU and the NCPC. But
eventually, the two sectors began working hand in
hand. The People Empowerment Program is now
multi-awarded. Mayor Robredo says the People
Empowerment Program works in Naga because it
is consistent with the character and nature of the
Nagueno who like to get involved when called upon.
The citys formula for participatory governance
is based on dialogue, a critical, essential, and
primordial ingredient for its success.
Source: Cyberdyaryo (Philippines news portal), 8th August




Pieterse, Edgar and Juslen, Jyri, Practical Approach to

urban Governance, Dossier, South Asian Journalists
workshop on urban governance, August 2003, TUGI/

Fiji Island Business magazine, January 2004

Kebede, Guletat, Building consensus through city

consultations,Dossier, South Asian Journalists
workshop on urban governance, August 2003, TUGI/

Satterthwaite, David, Reducing urban poverty:some

lessons from experience, Poverty reduction in urban
areas series, working paper 11, May 2002, International
Institute for Environment and Development.

Nath, Ramesh, Ethical Local Government in Durban

presentation,Transparency International-Nepal, 1999

Lippe, Michael, The crusade against corruption,

Dossier, South Asian Journalists workshop on urban
governance, August 2003, TUGI/UNDP

Cyberdyaryo (Philippines news portal), 8th August


Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Making A Difference

he difference between what

we do and what we are capable
of doing would sufce to solve most
of the worlds problems.
- Mahatma Gandhi

e must become the change

we want to see.

- Mahatma Gandhi

f you believe in yourself, you can

even move mountains and ll in
the ocean: no matter how difcult
the task, you will see the day when
you succeed. If you do not believe
in yourself, you will not be able to
even lift your own hand or snap a
slim twig; no matter how easy the
task, you will never see success.
This is how important the mind is.
It is the origin of all things.
- Sun Yat Sen


n earlier chapters we have looked at the problems

associated with urban settlements and how good
governance methods and processes help to alleviate these
problems. Yet, many of the problems like access to water
and sanitation, to secure and decent land, to affordable
housing are too great for any one group to solve alone.
Solutions to these problems, on a large scale, must involve
collaboration between many actors. In this chapter we
bring you some success stories from Asia and the Pacic,
where people are trying to solve these problems and
create modern liveable urban communities.

Promoting A Collaborative Urban Poor

Development Process
With increasing evidence that the traditional development
paradigms are inadequate to address the problems
created by rapid urbanisation across Asia and the Pacic,
many innovative schemes are being implemented by
NGOs in the region with support from the international
aid community and UN agencies.
Rather than merely following the conventional approaches
within existing institutional systems, this involves
rethinking and experimenting with new ways of improving
good governance in urban communities.

Urban Community Development Ofce

- Thailand

Thailand has over 2,000 slum communities in which

approximately two million people, regarded as the urban
poor, live. The true number of urban poor is much larger

than that, since many who live scattered outside the slum
communities are not counted, but slum-dwellers and
squatters comprise the largest groups. 70% of Thailands
urban poor earn their living through the informal sector
- the majority as daily wage earners and small traders. The
major problems are land and housing insecurity, poverty,
access to basic infrastructure, health and education.
To solve these problems in a more co-operative manner,
the Urban Community Development Ofce (UCDO) was
established in Bangkok in 1992. The Government granted
a revolving fund of 1,250 million Baht (about US$ 32
million) through the National Housing Authority to set up
a special program and a new autonomous unit - UCDO - to
address urban poverty on a national scale. This new Urban
Poor Development Fund (UPDF) was to be accessible to
all urban poor groups who organised themselves to apply
for loans for development projects.
Today using very basic micro-credit schemes, more than
600 urban poor communities have organised themselves
into community saving and credit groups and development
networks in over 40 provinces across Thailand.
These community networking models have become a
collaborative development mechanism where the poor
people themselves are involved in developing their own
communities, by implementing programmes. Issues such
as land acquisition and housing projects, community
enterprise, community welfare strategies, environmental
improvement activities, service provisions are addressed.
For the urban poor, organising themselves into savings
and credit groups is a simple and direct way of taking
care of their immediate day-to-day needs. Savings
activities become a tool which links poor people within

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

a community to nd ways of working together, from

handling simple basic credit needs to managing more
complex development activities which link them with the
formal system. Thus, the UPDF is the resource with which
community people develop themselves.
The idea, however, is not simply to provide low-interest
loans to the poor. Community savings and credit activities
are a means for engendering a communitys own holistic
development, which should gradually be able to deal with
the root causes of poverty. More important than cheap
loans is the development of community managerial
capacity and stronger community organisations which are
able to lead various community development processes.
It is therefore important that development process
include community action planning and the creation
of partnerships with other local development actors especially the municipalities - and to link up with various
other local development activities.
Link (for more information): http://www.achr.net/networks.htm

Thai Government Launch

Nation-Wide Programme

he Thai government has launched a

significant, nation-wide program to
solve the housing problems of Thailands
urban poor communities within a period of
five years. On 14 January, 2003, the cabinet
approved the program and allocated funds
for solving the urban poors housing
problems through two major low-income
housing programs: the Baan Eua-Aa-Thorn
Program (which is to be carried out by the
National Housing Authority) and the Baan
Mankong Program (which is to be carried
out by the Community Organisations
Development Institute - CODI).
The Baan Mankong Program is an
important breakthrough because it is to
be implemented by a community based
organisation and aims at solving the
problem of housing insecurity in Thai cities.
By creating an opportunity for existing
slum communities to participate actively
in a local development process their
settlements are upgraded and their tenure
is secured through a variety of terms such
as long-term lease or co-operative land

The Thai government has approved the CODIs

nation-wide slum upgrading programme for
2004 which will involve 174 communities in 42
cities. Total budget approved is about US$
25 million to which CODI will add another
US$ 2.5 million. This programme is expected
to be the rst of a 4 year project which will
ultimately upgrade poor housing in 200 cities
across Thailand.
The important elements of this upgrading
program are:

Providing land-tenure security.

Upgrading of the community from site
to total reconstruction or land-sharing
or resettlement.
Building strong and legitimate community
social and economic units with community
owned management system,
Integrating new community environment
Building legitimate and stronger
relationships with others in the city.

Link (for more information): http://www.achr.net/

bann_ mankong.htm


strongly feel that this work with

urban poor communities that
many of us have been doing all
our lives has come to an important
turn in many places, in the world, at
different paces and development
stages. They all have great potential
to develop in this new direction of
large scale development by the
poor people with support from
local partners and development
actors. It is very important that
we have clear vision so that we
can help strengthen it rightly and
enable powerful change on a large
scale. This change will not only
affect the quality of housing or
infrastructure but also impact on
many other aspects of peoples lives
and their relationship with the city
as a whole.
- Somsook Boonyabancha , Director of the
UCDO Thailand and Secretary General of


Karachis Crusader for the Poor

bout 4 million people in Karachi live in what are called

katchi abadis - sprawling squatter settlements without
sewers, drains or other public services. These squalid shanty
towns are perceived as home to every imaginable social
evil - drug abuse, prostitution, racketeering and the like.
The citys middle classes live in fear of katchi abadis taking
shape in their neighbourhood. Most bureaucrats would
probably prefer to bulldoze them, or at best ignore them.
But, Tasneem Ahmed Siddiqui, a career civil servant, now in
his 50s, had other ideas. With something akin to a missionary
zeal he has swept aside years of ofcial neglect to tackle
the problem affecting Karachis poor. For his efforts, in
1999, Siddiqui received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay
Siddiqui believes that, contrary to common perception,
the katchi abadis dwellers are neither criminals nor drug
pushers, pimps, illegal immigrants, terrorists or left-wing
revolutionaries. He insists that they are ordinary, law
abiding simple folk, eking out an existence. What they
need, he argues is less prejudice from the establishment,
less barriers from authorities, and more assistance to help
them to help themselves.
The katchi abadis began as shanty towns at the time of
partition in 1947 when Muslim migrants from India settled
here. In the 1950s these grew as rural folk came to the city
in large numbers seeking employment and after the 1971
Bangladesh war these communities swelled again.
In 1972, the government of Pakistan nally recognised the
existence of these communities and integrated them into
the city proper providing them infrastructure and services.
For many years nothing much changed as katchi abadis got
caught up in the Pakistani political conicts between Urdu
and Punjabi speakers. It was in 1991, when Siddiqui became
the director general of Sindh Katchi Abadi Authority (SKAA)
that things started to take a turn for the better.

Rejecting the stereotype of the poor as freeloaders and

criminals, he saw the katchi abadis as centres of dynamism
whose occupants were both industrious and resourceful.
He thus started a hosing project for the urban poor
which imitated the way illegal squatters actually built their
At SKAA, Siddiqui boldly cut through red tape by taking the
City Hall to the community. Knowing that residents fall prey
to land cheats because government procedures are timeconsuming and often prone to corruption, he introduced
on-the-spot lease camps with one-window operations
that allowed slum dwellers to register their hones with the
Siddiqui says that most people in the katchi abadis are daily
wage earners and they cannot afford to leave their work
to make a large number of visits to the ofces. Thats why
they get cheated by agents. The lease camps became very
popular as soon as they were opened and katchi abadis
residents soon began to get their land registered and
become part and parcel of the Karachi community.
Siddiqui has also introduced low-cost technology for SKAA
infrastructure projects so that the community itself along
with local NGOs can build and maintain these. They now
install and pay for their own water and sewerage system,
maintain SKAA built storm drains, coordinate neighbourhood
leasing processes and collaborate with SKAA and NGOs to
introduce the social services they most need.
With a small staff of around 200, SKAA has to stretch its
resources to the limit to service the community. As active
partners in upgrading their own neighbourhoods, the
katchi abadis dwellers are the key to the programmes
Source: Ramon Magsaysay Award 1999 citation and
Asiaweek magazine.

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Urban Poor Development Fund - Phnom

Penh, Cambodia
The Urban Poor Development Fund (UPDF) was set
up in March, 1998 with a small capital of US $60,000.
It is a collaboration between Solidarity and Urban Poor
Federation (SUPF), Municipality of Phnom Penh (MPP)
and Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR).
UPDF Contributors
Solidarity and Urban Poor Federation
Municipality of Phnom Penh
ACHR ( SDI, Selavip Caritas, HI )
MISEREOR (Germany)


Source: ACHR

One of the most important functions of the UPDF is to

build a collaborative, exible, negotiated housing process,
in which all the stakeholders are involved, and the focus
is on making sure solutions are designed allowing all of
their needs to be met.
The UPDF is a partnership builder. It brings the key
development actors to work together, to work out solutions
to everybodys problems with everybodys contributions.
While its important that several kinds of local partnerships
develop, between the poor and other local actors, in order
to support the people process in different ways, these
partnerships must remain balanced, productive and allow
the poor to remain the owners of the process and the
managers of their own development.

The UPDF aims at strengthening communities capacity

to manage their own development process by creating a
revolving fund to provide affordable credit for housing and
settlement improvement to poor communities, Sat the same
time developing an institutional mechanism to promote
change in the development process of the city.
The fund provides low-interest loans for housing, settlement
improvement and income generation to urban poor
communities that are actively involved in a community
savings process. Loans are made only to communities, not
to individuals, through their savings groups and community
The UPDF also offers a support system for the poor in
several ways, adding capital to community savings to help
people work beyond their nancial limitations, supporting
community innovations in housing, improving settlements
and negotiating tenures which demonstrate fresh solutions
and test new kinds of institutional set-ups.
The UPDF operates independently, but under the umbrella
of the Phnom Penh Municipality, which provides ofce
space, staff support and moral support.
A critical task of UPDF is to use money strategically.
The fund can strengthen the negotiating position of poor
communities in bids for land, services and access to other
resources. This is a key to building genuine, working
partnerships in the long term, between the poor and the
city. The UPDF is also a morale booster. When people see
clearly that the fund is available to them, and that the fund
supports what they are doing, its like having a cheering
section saying Go ahead! Im right here behind you!
Source: ACHR
Link (for more information): http://www.achr.net/updf.htm


Big Breakthrough
Phnom Penh, May 25 2003: The Cambodian
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a policy
to provide secure land tenure and to assist
in the onsite upgrading of 100 inner-city poor
communities each year for the coming five
years, until all of Phnom Penhs urban poor
communities have secure land tenure and
full basic services.
The prime minister announced this policy
in front of a gathering of 5,000 urban poor
people from Phnom Penh and 10 provincial
cities, national and local government
officials, representatives from local NGOs,
aid agencies, and community leaders from
9 other Asian and African countries. The
gathering was organised to celebrate
the fifth anniversary of the Urban Poor
Development Fund (UPDF) and to promote
the idea of onsite community improvement,
as an alternative to eviction and relocation
to distant resettlement sites.


The Prime Minsters hour-long speech culminated

in his announcement that his government has
agreed to the proposal from the Solidarity for the
Urban Poor Federation (SUPF) and UPDF to
support the upgrading of 100 poor communities in
Phnom Penh in the coming year and promised to
provide secure land tenure to all those settlements,
except where communities fall in the way of
planned civic projects such as parks or drainage
improvement. In those cases, he pledged the
governments help in securing relocation sites
that are close to job opportunities.
The Prime Minister even took the peoples
idea a step further, asking why stop at 100
settlements and proposed upgrading 100
settlements every year for the coming five
years, so that in ve years, almost all of Phnom
Penhs poor settlements can be improved and
have land titles.
Source: ACHR

Urban Forum Movement - Thailand

Urban Forums are loosely organised entities promoting
civic engagement enabling stakeholders involved in
urban development - common citizens, civic society
actors, the private sector and local government
officials alike - to discuss urban issues at the sublocal, local, regional and national levels. Through
participatory and strategic planning processes and
action plans this vision can be achieved. Urban Forums
are instrumental in achieving sustainable and effective
socio-economic and environmental development of
urban areas.
In recent years, UNESCAP has assisted several cities
and countries in Asia and the Pacific in initiating and
supporting Urban Forums. In Thailand, some 15 Urban
Forums are actively promoting civic engagement in
different areas of participatory urban development.
The activities of these Forums range from public
gatherings, workshops, seminars and conferences
to information dissemination, social animation and
Regular activities of some of the Thai Urban Forums are
described in the following page.

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Chiang Mai


Nakhon Si Thammarat

Songkhla Forum
Songkhla Forum - located in South Thailand
and created in 1993 - organises monthly
forums to discuss and exchange knowledge,
ideas and experience on hot and interesting
issues as well as regular seminars and
workshops. In addition, Songkhla Forum
organises activities for civic groups to enable
them to learn from each other.

Campaign Committee for Local Authority

The Campaign Committee for Local Authority - the Urban Forum of Chiang Mai
- is located in North Thailand and was created in 1993. The Committee strives
to promote local empowerment for local autonomy (decentralisation), social
mobilisation for a reorientation of focus in local politics and participatory good
governance. Activities to reach this aim include civic education (participatory
learning through edutainment; a combination of education and entertainment),
local-local community dialogue to identify and resolve community problems,
a healthy city programme and a civic movement for an elected governor of
Chiang Mai.
Korat Forum
Korat Forum - located in Northeast Thailand and created in 1998 - focuses
its activities on enhancing greater public awareness of the principles of
participatory democracy, making Korat a more healthy, liveable and friendly
city and achieving an environmental, social and cultural balance for all citizens.
Issues at stake are preservation of the cultural heritage (conservation of
monuments), slum upgrading and the care of elderly people.
Bangkok Forum
Created in 1992, Bangkok Forum serves as a catalyst within the Urban Forum
Movement. Its activities are aimed at creating awareness on the necessity of
decentralisation of political and administrative power as well as of restructuring
and reforming Bangkoks bureaucratic local government system. This will
promote public participation in public affairs and restore a sense of community
among the residents of Bangkok.
Nakhon Forum
The Urban Forum of Nakhon Si Thammarat - is located in South Thailand and
was created in 1995. Its activities focus on improving urban living and livelihood
through igniting thoughts and ideas related to urban planning and management,
environmental issues (e.g. cleaning the city canals and improving the landscape
along the canals) and the conservation of the cultural and historical heritage
of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Link for more information: http://www.unescap.org/huset/forums/urbanforums_th.htm


Tiet Kiem Mua Xuan (Spring Saving Group) - Vietnam

Tiet Kiem Mua Xuan saving group is located in the
Triangle Community of My Tho City, a suburb of Ho
Chi Minh City (HCMC). The Triangle Community was
formed in the early 1990s when the district authorities
demolished community houses on a cemetery and
transformed it into a new real estate site. The poor
families living on the cemetery grounds were relocated
to a small triangular plot of land behind the new housing
estate. However, many families did not have the
nancial means to build new houses and quickly sold
their new plots of land to better-off families, causing
fragmentation within the community.
The Tiet Kiem Mua Xuan savings and credit programme
began in February 1994 after a small group of women
from the Triangle Community participated in a training
visit (organised by the Youth Association of HCMC
with nancial support of Environmental Development
Action -ENDA- an European aid agency) to successful
credit and saving schemes in neighbouring slum


The Spring Saving Group is composed of 3 different

groups, mostly consisting of women, some older
men and even children, each chaired by an elected
committee of three group leaders: a money-keeper,
an accountant and a manager. The groups hold
monthly public meetings to review the groups nancial
activities as well as applications for loans. The group
members (totalling 228 at present) determine loan
rates according to a calculation of repayment days. The
interest rate (3 per cent per month) is concerted into
the number of days in which the loan should be repaid
and specifying the daily amount of the loan.

Loans issued range from VND 100,000 (US$ 8) to

VND 5,000,000 (US$ 400) and saving amounts depend
on peoples capacity and contribution. The main
characteristic that distinguishes the Spring Saving
Programme from other credit programmes in HCMC is
its autonomy. Group management is extremely exible
and varies across the group according to the needs
and capabilities of each group member. Repayment
schedules (daily, weekly or monthly) are chosen by
borrowers and depend on their individual nancial
In the 5 years it has been in operation, the Spring
Saving Group has been quite successful in sustaining
its programme, turning the Triangle Community into
a fairly rich community consisting of two main roads
and offering group members lots of possibilities to do
business. The main activities that have evolved over
the years are related to small businesses and trade,
including amongst others breakfast and fruit selling
stalls and a construction material and stone furniture
factory. Besides an increased average family income
of group members, living circumstances have improved
as well, due to constructive co-operation with local
authorities willing to provide community services (water,
electricity etc.) the Triangle Community can afford.
Amongst the group members there is also increased
solidarity, trust and condence to share good and bad
Link for more information: http://www.unescap.org/huset/savings/

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Eggs For Waste

t has been argued that unity and co-operation

among slum dwellers can help the urban poor to
improve their standard of living and this story perhaps
proves them right.
In the late 1990s at the height of the Asian nancial
crisis, Bangkoks Klong Toey slum community began
waking up early in the morning on Sundays. Obviously
they were not going to church in this predominantly
Buddhist community. Instead, they were going to clean
up their streets. A new wave of civic pride sweeping
through this jaded city? Not really.
They were really taking part in an innovative
recycling project in which litter, such as glass and
plastic bottles and old newspapers, is exchanged
for fresh eggs .
The weekly garbage-for-eggs exchange starts at 7
a.m. at the community recycling centre and its always
packed. When the hustle and bustle ends around 9
a.m., theres a mountain of garbage waiting to be sold
to recycling factories .
The project kills two birds with one stone: the slum
dwellers get more food, a treat in time of economic
crisis, and their community gets cleaned up .
The brainchild of 43-year-old Wanrop Hirikul, head
of Klong Toey Environmental Preservation Group,
the project aims to motivate slum dwellers to keep
the streets clean and to reduce the great quantity of

garbage through recycling. It has become a stunning

The money earned from selling trash to recycling
factories goes to buy eggs which are then used to
continue the communitys cleanup efforts. So its a
self-perpetuating system .
Wanrops work won him the Sadudee Chon Award
from the Duang Prateep Foundation in 1998 as part
of the foundations 20th anniversary celebration to
honour the Klong Toey residents who have devoted
themselves to improving their neighbourhood .
Foundations secretary-general Prateep Ungsongtham
Hata, said after giving the award that they, need to
encourage and support those who have sacriced
their time and energy to serve their communities.
Without these active leaders, its extremely difcult
to get slum dwellers organised to work as a team to
improve their quality of life.
Wanrop said that outsiders often think that slum
dwellers make the city dirty, but the fact is that
they received very little help from the authorities to
keep their environment clean. We want to correct
that misunderstanding by proving that we can keep
our communities clean ourselves, said the slum
leader .
Source: Based on an article written by Chompoo
Trakullertsathien in the Bangkok Post in February 1999.


The agency has focused mainly on environmental aspects

of town planning especially on drainage improvement
strategies. Pollution of rivers and drains in the low-lying areas
of the capital Apia, due to overowing of pit latrines and
septic tanks, has created serious environmental and health
problems for the community. PUMA has helped to rebuild
drains and then given the maintenance of the system to the
communities involved (see interview in box).
Local urban planner Faafetai Sagapolutele, argues that
previous attempts at urban management and planning have
not been successful because the needs and aspirations of
the community have not been understood. In the PUMA
method there is an ongoing attempt to raise community
awareness of the issues and participation of the stakeholders
and the community in the process. The PUMA board has 6
government and 6 community representatives.

Samoas Planning and Urban

Management Agency (PUMA)
In the small Pacic island nation of Samoa, a successful
urban planning model has been set up involving the
Started in March 2002, the success of the Planning
and Urban Management Agency (PUMA) is due to its
community consultation model. It has a staff of 25 and
it is located within the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Environment, but autonomous and independent of
the ministry. Since its inception, PUMA has developed a
framework of operations which enables it to relate to its


The Samoan government has passed new legislation to

underpin PUMAs functions, activities and tasks.

Planning and urban management projects are more likely to

succeed in Pacic towns and cities where there is a political
will, commitment and leadership, argues Sagapolutele. In
addition there must be realistic goals and development of a
participatory approach with all stakeholders.
Given the major commitment the Government of Samoa
has made to improve planning and urban management
outcomes for all stakeholders in Samoa, there is much
interest at the Pacic regional level in monitoring how the
Samoan model performs and delivers its outcomes said
consultant Paul Jones.
Source: Presentation by Paul Jones, Planning and Urban Management
Advisor to UNESCAP and Faafetai Sagapolutele, Principal Urban
Management Ofcer, Planning and Urban Management Agency, Samoa
to a regional workshop in Fiji, on Urban Development in the Pacic,
December 2003.

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Community Consultation Pacic Way

efore PUMA there was no formal planning

system. With PUMA, we have a community
consultation process. We go to the village through
the fono (village committee) and meet with them,
including women. We listen to their concerns, then
come back draw up the issues and then go back to
them to explain this is what we got from you and
this is our recommendation. If they want to make
amendments to it, we consider them.
The main issues they raise are drainage system,
water supply, sewage and waste disposal. We draw
up plans discuss these and put into action.
At the moment we are implementing a drainage
and sewage system. We are looking at rubbish
We want the villages to have the same services as
city people in water, sewage, drainage and waste
disposal. We have included the community in the
maintenance of the system and it has worked well.
We encourage privatisation by giving the people
the contracts to maintain their systems.
People come to the city for services, work,
business, schooling and health facilities. If we
provide them the same quality housing (as in the
cities), they will be happy to live there and come to
the city for these services. We will then discourage
people from coming to the city to live. After PUMA,
the Government is now trying to put in place a
planning system.
Source: Interview with Faafetai Sagapolutele, Principal
Urban Management Officer, Samoa, Fiji, December

Combining Top Down and Grassroots

Land Approaches - Mumbai, India
Mumbai is Indias economic capital but more than half
its 12 million population live in slums. Over the years,
authorities have implemented a variety of policies
to provide adequate housing to the poor, with some
degree of success. But if anything, governments largely
top-down policies and the markets own shortcomings
have highlighted the pressing need for community
involvement in slum policies.
In Mumbai, slum policies have evolved from slum
clearance in the 1950s and 1960s to protection and
provision of civic amenities in the 1970s. In 1976, local
government conducted a census of slum-dwellers
and issued so-called photo-passes entitling them to
relocation should the land they occupied be required
for public purposes. Central government provided grants
towards a number of basic amenities including water,
sanitation and power.
Cross-subsidisation was rst introduced in the 1980s
under the Bombay Urban Development Project (BUDP).
One of the schemes, which ultimately beneted 85,000
families, provided land and services to a variety of
people, with the better-off segments of the population
subsidising slum-dwellers.
The BUDP was the first scheme recognising the
importance of both land tenure and civil society in
housing policies for the poor. Its Slum Upgrading
Programme granted tenure of local government land
to co-operative societies of slum-dwellers, and public
amenities were provided on a cost-recovery basis. Some
20,000 families beneted.


The programme launched in 1995 by the newlyestablished Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) decided
that a higher proportion of the area of any land was to
be made available for building. Cross-subsidisation for
slum-dwellers was supported by revenue from the sale
of any extra tenements built, or of the rights to build
other tenements at other locations.
The SRA programme entitled existing slum-dwellers to
free accommodation or, if required, relocation. The scheme
was also the rst to include pavement-dwellers.
To date, only 20,000 SRA tenements have been
completed and another 80,000 are at various stages
of development, against a local government target of
800,000. The problem was that the builders edged the
slum-dwellers out, and a collapse in real estate prices
provided a poor incentive to complete the scheme.
Despite these market-related shortcomings, the SRA
scheme remains the only way for Mumbais urban poor
to get both access to otherwise unaffordable land
and subsidies from the market. The SRA scheme has
thrown open the doors for co-operative societies of
slum dwellers to participate in their own redevelopment
and with adequate nancial support.
Source: Habitat Debate, December 2003
Link: http://www.unhabitat.org/hd/hdv9n4/20.asp


Toilets for All with a Little Bit of

Community Education - Pune, India
Adequate supplies of safe water and sanitation are
essential for a healthy and productive life. In India, more
than 733 million people of a population of 1,027 million,
either defecate in the open or use unsanitary buckets,
dry privies or community facilities.
Poor sanitation coverage in India is primarily due
to insufcient motivation, a low level of awareness
of the problems and a lack of affordable sanitation
technology. Most of these people are from lower socioeconomic groups and are not aware of the health and
environmental benets of sanitation. It is still not seen
as a high priority, resulting in absence of peoples
Th e S u l a b h S a n i t a t i o n M o v e m e n t ( S S M ) h a s
been actively involved in the development and
implementation of sustainable technology in the field
of sanitation since 1970. They introduced the twin pit
flush toilet, popularly known in India as Sulabh toilet.
The technology is simple, affordable, appropriate and
socially acceptable. It requires only two litres of water
to flush excreta.
The provision of public toilet complexes at public
places and in slums on a pay and use basis is another
important SSM landmark. Pavement dwellers, the
oating population, rickshaw pullers and those who
cannot afford their own household toilets, can all use
well designed and managed pay & use community
toilets with bath, urinal and laundry facilities. This
system has proved a boon to the local authorities in
their endeavour to keep slums clean.

Chapter 6 - Making A Difference

Recycling and reuse of human waste for biogas is an

important way to get rid of health hazards from human
excreta. The SSM biogas plant does not require manual
handling of human excreta and the biogas is utilised
for cooking, lamps, electricity generation and body
warming during winter.
Much of the demand for latrines comes from women
as they suffer the most due to non-availability of
these facilities. SSM employees make house-to-house
contact to educate and motivate householders and
disseminate information about the system.
Because children are more receptive to new ideas, SSM
visits schools to make children aware of the importance
of sanitation and personal hygiene In order to inculcate
the habit of using toilets at a young age, schools are
provided with sanitation facilities.
Thus, through education, training, building of affordable
facilities and proper maintenance, the SSM has been
able to help the community to improve their hygienic
and health standards.
Source: Habitat Debate, December 2003 - http://www.unhabitat.




Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) http://


UNESCAP - http://www.unescap.org/huset/forums/
urbanforums_th.htm; http://www.unescap.org/huset/

Trakullertsathien, Chompoo, Bangkok Post, February


Jones, Paul, Urban Development in the Pacific

presentation, December 2002

Habitat Debate, September 2003 - http://www.


Habitat Debate, December 2003 - http://www.


Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

Reporters With A Role To Play

alanced reporting is a
euphemism for status-quo
journalism. If the scale is already
tilted, balanced reporting just
favours those who are already rich
and powerful. Journalism has to be
part of the solution, and not part of
the problem in trying to solve the
crisis of global human survival.
- Kunda Dixit, former Regional Director
for Asia and the Pacic, Inter Press Service


The quote on the previous page by Nepali journalist Kunda

Dixit addresses a fundamental problem the journalism
profession faces today around the world. The current
crop of journalists are the best trained in history with
access to many modern forms of communication tools
and production technology. Nevertheless, their profession
is constantly called to account for lack of coverage or
understanding of the human condition which leads to
urban poverty, misery and even violence.

To Take or Not To Take Sides

In the introduction to his book, Dateline Earth Dixit argued

that despite the global information explosion, it is not easy
to get the other news published. Television, radio and
newspapers have less and less time for serious analysis,
the alternative press is often satised with mediocrity, and
many media gatekeepers still cant see that mainstream
media is littered with bias - for the simplistic, sexy,the
orthodox or the scandalous he observed.

Proponents of this media school claim that such balanced

and neutral reporting is a time-tested model of journalism
and the only one that works. But, we know that status-quo
journalism is biased because it cannot take sides against
wrong. And by denying this bias, mainstream media actually
shows partiality argues Dixit.

We have seen in previous chapters that the urban

development challenge in Asia is perhaps the most
serious issue of human survival we are facing today. Yet,
it could be argued that to report on these issues from
the perspectives of the people involved (or affected), the
stories still fall into the category of other news Dixit
refers to.
How can we change this situation so that the other news
becomes the news in the mainstream media? In this and
the following chapter, we will explore these issues and
discuss some ideas of how we can make a difference.


One of the rst things a journalism student is taught in

traditional journalism schools, is how to be objective. This
objectivity according to - the Western school of thought - is to
be balanced and this means being neutral, when reporting
a story. No matter how unfair the system is, being balanced
and neutral means, that journalists must show aloofness and
not be moved by injustice and greed.

Thus, in a balanced and neutral report, stories of human survival

should merely record the facts and not blame anybody. If there
is a ash ood in a shanty town, report on the oods, how many
died and how many houses were destroyed and how the disaster
relief is being delivered. But, most stop there and do not report
about corruption in the local authority administration which may
have stopped the rain water drainage system from being built, or
illegal constructions which gave rise to this problem.
It is not to say that some of the media dont report these, but,
very often sterile one-dimensional type of reporting does the
body count and advertises the relief agencies.
If we are to address the serious threat to our urban environment
there is an urgent need to develop a new kind of journalist,
who, as Dixit describes will have the energy and the vision to
move beyond the traditional classroom concepts of reporting
and writing. Reporters who do not just report, but look behind
the headlines to examine cause and effect.

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

Development Journalism - Committed

Journalism or Government Propaganda?
Development Journalism came into fashion in the 1970s in
the midst of the New World Information and Communication
Order (NWICO) debates. Sri Lankan journalist Tarzie Vitachi,
who founded the Asian Press Union and was also deeply
involved in the NWICO debate, is one of the pioneers of this
movement in Asia. As he described (refer box) in an UNTV
interview in 1984, when Asian journalists came for training they
did not want themselves to be called economic or business
reporters, so they were called Development Reporters. But,
Development Journalism was not meant to be feel good
journalism, instead it should be a critical assessment of the
on-goings in their own countries and communities.
Development-oriented journalism has a major aim - to make
the people play an active role in communication. If one were
to conceptualise a contemporary framework for developmentoriented journalism, one might consider Galtung and Vincents
point in the book Global Glasnost: the task of the journalist is
to unravel the threads of the development drama that takes
place both in the centre and the periphery, pick them out of
the intricate web of relationships, hold them up in the sunlight,
and demonstrate the connections to readers, listeners and
Current journalism is the public relations and opinion
polls driven brand of journalism where politicians and
mainstream media are sometimes covertly working towards
what the American media critic Noam Chomsky describes
as manufacturing consent. In the 1970s, Development
Journalism was criticised by the Western media for reporting
only the good things that governments do in order to support
national development. Todays opinion polls driven journalism in the
West which tends to support government policy is no different.

How to create
development-oriented news media


proposals are listed for a developmentoriented news media:


Relate development to people.

Focus on more than economics.
Disperse data.
Cover differences and relations.
Focus on concrete life situations.
Never forget democracy dimensions.
Report constructively.
Allow the people to talk.
Give people some media control.
Let people run/report on society.

Source: Global Glasnost: Towards A New World Information

and Communication Order, 1992

But, it is not only in the West that the entertainment-driven

media is not serving the peoples needs properly. Owais Aslam
Ali, secretary general of the Pakistan Press Foundation says
that in Asia many feel that the Western or the libertarian
model of journalism has not served the cause of national
development because of its emphasis on entertaining
readers and its treatment of information as a saleable market
commodity. At the same time, they are not happy with the
government-sponsored model of development journalism
where the role of the media is to support authority, highlighting
the role of the government in national development. He argues
that if development journalism is to serve the people, the press
should reect more the values and hopes of the majority and
not just of the elite.

did not invent Development

Journalism, the word was coined
by Asian journalists who came for
training. They did not want to be
called Economic Journalists, they
wanted to be called Development
Journalists, because for them it
was largely a matter of development
reporting. Unfortunately this term
was got hold of by governments
which limited the meaning of
that phrase to publicise the good
things that happened in that
country and to ignore the bad
things. The whole point about
Development Journalism was that
it was a critical assessment, not a
hostile assessment, but a critical
assessment of what was going on in
their own countries. So the readers,
the viewers and the listeners of
radio, who are the people, would be
involved in their own development.
That was the whole point about
Development Journalism.
- Tarzie Vitachi, founder of the Asian Press


ublic journalism uses a new

approach in setting the news
agenda and covering the news, by
offering opportunities for public
discussion and debate over what
issues should be top priority and how
these can be addressed. Its aim is not
simply to persuade the public that a
problem exists, rather it is to engage
the public in a search for solutions.
- Red Batario, Executive Director,
Centre for Community Journalism and
Development, Philippines.


ublic journalism tries to place

the journalist within the political
community as a responsible member
with a full stake in public life. But
it does not deny the important
differences between the journalists
and other actors, including political
leaders, interest groups and citizens
themselves. What is denied is any
essential difference between the
standard and practices that makes
for responsible journalism and the
habits and expectations that make
for a well-functioning public realm,
a productive dialogue, a politics we
can all respect. In a word, a public
journalist wants public life to work. In
order to make it work they are willing
to declare an end to their neutrality
on certain questions.
- Jay Rosen, Associate Professor of
Journalism, New York University.

Public Journalism or Civic Journalism Reinventing Committed Journalism

While the concept of development journalism and its
implementation has been an ongoing debate in the
developing countries, in the West, similar concerns began
to arise in the 1980s with intense commercialisation of
the media. The consistent criticisms and falling public
image of journalism gave rise to a reconceptualisation of
responsible community oriented reporting in the category
of public journalism introduced by media scholars such
as Jay Rosen, David Merritt, Philip Meyer and John Merrill
who prefer to call it existential journalism. The Pew
Centre for Civic Journalism in Washington (http://www.
pewcenter.org/) was established with the purpose of
promoting an alternative media practice to empower the
The basic principles of this genre of journalism are
somewhat similar to development journalism espoused
by developing country governments in the 1960s when
there were active lobbying for a qualitative change in the
Western media coverage of developing countries.
The public journalism movement - which began in the
US in the 1980s - sought to redene conventional news
values, to question the value of objectivity and related
ethical guidelines, to push for greater involvement of
journalists as active participants in the community, to
call on journalism to truly reect the multi-dimension
composition of the society they live in, and to suggest
that journalism should place itself within the discipline
of communication.
The emergence of this movement was a reaction to
what some scholars have described as conventional

journalisms neglect of its obligations to foster effective

public life: that journalism should be, and can be, a
primary force in the revitalisation of public life; and
that fundamental cultural and generational change in
conventional reporting practices is necessary before
any positive contributions by journalists to community
development can occur.
In retrospect, advocates of public journalism have
inadvertently duplicated much of its theoretical principles
and assumptions from the model of development-oriented
With the devolution of powers and responsibilities from
the national to the local government, the news media
is facing the challenge of how to determine the track
of the news that will lead to better understanding by
citizens of community issues argues Red Batario of the
Centre for Community Journalism and Development in
the Philippines.
Thus, he asks will the journalists remain in their comfort
zone and stand at a distance as communities slowly
fragment and disconnect from public life? Or will they
catalyse community discussions, dialogues on how citizens
can identify and begin to solve their own problems?
Batario argues that public journalism is a concept and
an experiment where journalists refuse to be cynical.
It helps readers, listeners and viewers understand the
impact of the news on their lives and how they can
actively participate in developing and building the news
agenda. By offering such opportunities, this new brand
of journalism helps the community to set the agenda of
what community issues should be top priority and how
these issues can be solved.

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

Engaging The Media In Communicating

Good Governance
The media has a very important role to play in communicating
the message of good governance. The challenge facing
local government authorities, the civil society and the
journalists themselves is the question of how to involve
the media in good governance.
Malaysian journalist Zainon Ahmad argues that the most
important function of the media is to provide correct
information for the people to make their choices. They
choose because they know and not make wrong choices
because they do not know he says, adding that mostly
it is information about what the government is doing and
what it is going to do. But, generally the media focus
very little today on what the common people are saying
and doing.
Rajesh Tandon, Programme Director of Citizens and
Governance Programme of the Commonwealth Foundation
argues that the media has been playing a major role in
good governance in countries where they have acted
as the watchdog of the government. But, he says new
paradigm suggests that the media and civil society work
closely together to strengthen processes and structures
of good governance in society.
Tandon recommends the following roles for the media
to play:

Giving visibility to the voice of ordinary people so

that policy-makers can pay attention to them.

Highlighting the actions of civil society which

contribute to the peoples own initiatives.

Projecting the lessons emerging from

partnerships between citizens and governments
in pursuit of effectively addressing problems of
poverty and maginalisation.
Communicating the results of the efforts
being made by peoples own initiatives in selfgovernance.
Promoting a dialogue on issues that can help
build a consensus on the priorities of public

(Source: Keynote address to the seminar on Civil Society and Media,

Kuala Lumpur, July 2001)

Batario argues that the media should play a role in

increasing public discussion, encouraging citizens to
think more clearly about issues, strengthening a sense
in leaders and citizens alike that they could solve local
problems and help to build a society which educates itself.
This he says is Public Journalism.

Principles of Public

ublic Journalism is similar to

development-oriented journalism
in the following operational criteria:

Careful, timely and sensitive listening

to community needs.
Systematic consultation of the
community by means of polls and
focus groups.
Listening more closely to their
audience and facilitating dialogue
or conversation so that everyone
talks. Participatory communication
across differences, particularly in
a multicultural society, to create
Dialogue with panels of resource
specialists chosen for their differing
expertise and perspectives.
Media-sponsored public forum
deliberate on key issues.

But, he warns that Public Journalism does not mean

practising public relations, boosting an image, presenting only
the good side or projecting the agenda of interest groups.

Continuity of in-depth reporting

on issues chosen independently
by journalists for their immediate
relevance to citizens concerns.

In engaging the media to communicate the message of

the campaign through public journalism, the journalist acts
more as the enabler, a catalyst, a facilitator who does not
impose or dictate the strategy or outcome of the action
explains Batario, rather the journalist is a participant
who will chronicle not only problems and difculties but
also important news of hope and success by offering

The journalist must be a fair-minded

participant in a community that
works. The journalist must become a
properly attached advocate of serious
talk to enable the community to
recognise itself and make choices.
Source: Old wine in new bottles paper
by Shelton Gunaratne, 1996.


The need for training of social groups and activists to

work with the media is an option many in the civil society
have chosen to ignore argues Shangon Das Gupta,
Executive Director of Communication for Development

Making Report Card Study Newsworthy

well established civil society organisation in

Bangalore introduced Report Cards to monitor the
status of the quality of services in the cities. A Report
Card was created for the services existing in each city.
Among the wide spectrum of services surveyed were
electricity, postal and telegraph, water, sewage, garbage
removal and job efciency.
The ndings of the report card study were used to inform
the government departments and other institutions
of the public perceptions of their services. Corrective
strategies were also identied and activated. This is an
approach which has received much attention both within
the country and internationally. Thus, it also generated
public and media interest.
This media interest in the report card study by one
department provided the stimulus to several public
service agencies in the city to review their performance
and attitude towards their customers. The community
service organisation (CSO) which introduced the report
card study in the city went a step further - they worked
actively to develop a partnership by placing the ndings
for further discussion via the media. This partnership
created a climate where the study has emerged as
a reference point for subsequent reporting on urban
governance issues.


and Learning (CDL) in Bangalore, India. The challenge

lies in being able to inform and convince the journalists
on the importance of the issue and their integrated

This did not happen out of the blue. Training in

communication skills, press conferences, story briefs,

primary and secondary sources of information, credible

and factual data were all brought together in order to
inform, stimulate and provoke reader response. The
media was encouraged to own the issue and perceive
their role not just as a channel of communication, but
as advocates of the common cause.
The partnership that evolved was based on strengths,
equality and a common agenda,
where the research team collated the data,
the media disseminated the ndings and
the community responded with enthusiasm.
Training for CSOs in media skills is a prerequisite to be
able to build partnerships that are long lasting. Needbased training will help build skills which can enable
activists to open the issue and simplify the contents to
draw in more people, build public opinion and set the
agenda for social change.
The onus lies with training bodies and CSOs where
the approach must change from one of pointing to
inadequacies in the media to one of strengthening the
services in capacity building. Our house needs to be
set in order rst.
Source: Setting the House Right: Training for the Media, paper
presented by Shangon Das Gupta to a seminar on Civil Society
and Media, Kuala Lumpur, July 2001.

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

What Makes News?

he Bangalore based NGO Communication for Development and Learning (CDL) has published a handbook on What
Makes News? to help community-based organisations to build relationships with the media.

In the handbook, the following guidelines are provided on how to make an issue a news story:
The Human Angle
- Never forget the news is about people.
- Human interest stories should always include people at the centre of the report.
- Where possible make them available for interview.
- If you are targeting local media, keep an eye open for a strong local angle to a current national story.
Be Clear About Your Message
- Above all, you must be clear about the news story you are trying to sell.
- Stories which fuel controversy always make news.
- If your organisation has an angle on a current story, think how it could be presented as an exclusive to
a journalist you know.
- Alternatively consider distributing a news release to selected news media.
Make Yourself An Expert Source
- Your organisation can also benet by establishing itself as a source of expertise, for example, by issuing
surveys or reports.
- On publication day make sure that spokespersons are available for comments and interviews.
- If you have in-house specialists on the subject, they should be made available for comments and
Getting To Know The Media
- The rst step towards ensuring that your news ends up in print or on air is to research your target media.
- Make sure you are familiar with the content and style of the different media in your area.
- Establish which of the media organisations offer opportunities for your organisation to gain publicity.
- Ask yourself which publications or programmes are most likely to be interested.
- Distributing news releases is often not enough, they may need follow up with calls to individual
Source: What Makes News? - Understanding Media for Advocacy, published by CDL, India, 2001


Reporting As If The People Mattered

Good governance is about people - making life
better for everyone. In reporting issues of good
governance it is important that the people are at
the centre of your story. In other words, you report
as if the people mattered. But, that does not mean
you ignore facts, figures and other economic or
social indicators.
The challenge is to present these facts and
figures in such a way that your stories will help
the people involved to make informed decisions
which affect their lives. Most reporting is about
conflict, who said what to whom or who did what
to whom. Its about winners and losers framed
through the 5 Ws - who, what, where, when,why?
But we rarely ask how or so what? If you ask
these questions, you are more likely to get a story
which will be more centred on the people rather
than the statistics or the numbers.
On pages 141-143 are two articles, one from Delhi
and the other from Kathmandu. Both the stories
are lled with facts and gures, and give a good
account of the problem they are focusing on.
Yet, they lack the colour which would make an
editor take notice of the story to publish it. Even
if this was published, there is a possibility that the
reader may have not read beyond the rst couple
of paragraphs, unless he or she is deeply involved
in the issue or is interested in the problem from
an intellectual or professional capacity.


To make the lay reader interested in the issue

and ensure he/she reads through the article,

the authors should have brought the peoples

perspective into the story by interviewing
people in the community and using interesting
quotes from them in the story, especially at the
For example let the people tell you what they felt
like when they saw the monsoon rains flooding
their streets and the gardens, but their taps at
home running dry. Get people using ground water
to talk about any problems they are facing and
ask builders and building owners why they havent
put up rainwater tanks on their roofs. Mixing these
comments with those of officials would add colour
to the story and attract lay readers interest.
The same applies to the story on Kathmandus
environmental woes. This particular piece would
have worked well as a news release from an
environmental organisation, which is also offering
expertise for interview by the media. But, to attract
the lay readers attention the author has to canvass
the peoples views on issues such an pollution,
solid waste collection and ask them how they
nd living in such conditions, what could be done
about it, what they would like to do themselves
and what obstacles there are to doing it. Then the
author could also speak to the local council, town
planners and environmentalists for their views.
These quotes could then be mixed with the useful
facts and gures given in the article.
The two stories by Zofeen Ebrahim on pages 146147 are good examples of how to colour a story
bringing the human angle into it by using peoples
voices. The story on the Clifton Beach reflects the

problems faced by the informal sector in urban

communities across Asia. They are self-employed
and are often the backbone of the local economy
providing many of the goods and services at the
grassroots level. Yet, when a disaster occurs,
they not only loose their livelihood, there are no
avenues of assistance from government sources
as most of their businesses are deemed illegal.
Evils of Governance addresses this issue well
through a human angle to the story. Perhaps this
is what Tarzie Vitachi calls a critical assessment
of development and not a hostile assessment.
The same applies to the second story on the child
labourers in the bangles industry in Pakistan. By
quoting the children the reader is immediately
taken into the community and their feelings.
One may even develop a feeling of empathy or
sympathy for the child workers. The article is not
a hostile attack on child labour, but it exposes its
exploitative nature at the same time showing how
this industry supports a family and the community.
Thus, when a NGO study questions the morality
of the bangles industry and its child labour, the
issue is seen in a more balanced context with
all its complexities. Though not canvassing a
solution, the peoples voices do give one ideas
on how this problem occurs and what could be
done to address it.
In this chapter we have looked on how journalists
could contribute to good governance and in the
next chapter we will explore media structures and
how the media - both mainstream and alternative
- could become a part of the good governance

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

Delhi Taps Remain Dry As Monsoon Waters Flow

By Soni Mishra

New Delhi, July 26th,2003: The water-decient

national capital has received record rains this
monsoon, but the taps will continue to be dry.
Courtesy laxity on the part of the authorities, the
ambitious plans to harvest rainwater have barely
taken off and most of the water will ow into the
river Yamuna once again.
The Government may have made it mandatory
for all public buildings, institutions, industrial
establishments, hotels, farm houses and
residential complexes in the city to adopt
rooftop rainwater harvesting, but, the deadline
for buildings to harvest rainwater has now been
extended for the third time. A public notice issued
by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA)
and the Ministry of Urban Development initially
set the deadline for December 2001. But the
deadline was shifted to March 2002 and then
to December 2002. Now the authorities have
decided to extend the deadline to November
The reason cited for the extension is that the
deadline is only intended to pressure and push
people to adopt rainwater harvesting. A senior
CHWA ofcial admits that there is no intention
to take legal action against those not meeting
the deadline.
On whether the pressure of the deadline has
worked, the ofcial says the authority has in the
last almost 3 years been approached by over 1000
individuals and organisations to help them set up
roofwater harvesting structures.

At least a 100 more requesting the CGWA for

permission to dig tube wells have been allowed to
do so on the condition that they balance the water
they pump out with water recharge structures.

Moreover, says Sudhirendra Sharma of the Energy

Environment Group that basic infrastructure as well
as the traditional but forgotten means of capturing
rainwater need to be recalled.

A beginning has been made, and with more

awareness, rainwater harvesting structures will
become more common he says. But, experts feel
the start is just too slow and that the continual
extension of the deadline smacks of insincerity.

Natural water bodies that have become useless

due to excess silt and pollution and the old Baolis
(wells) can be used to collect rainwater in which
the concrete that covers most of the city does not
seep in and ows down the storm drains into the
river Yamuna says Sharma.

The shifting of the deadline is a clear indication

of the lack of seriousness on the part of the
government and that a more active approach needs
to be adopted in a city in which the water table
has dropped alarmingly, at places up to 50 metres
below ground says Sumita Dasgupta of the Centre
for Science and Environment, as NGO involved
in popularising conservation of natural resources
including water.
There is no doubt she says that rainwater harvesting
can improve not only the quantity but also the
quality of ground water, says Dasgupta, citing the
instances of the 5 rainwater harvesting models that
the centre has constructed in the city and been
monitoring since June 2002.
The recession in ground water post monsoon in
these model sites was arrested by at least one
metre despite the city receiving paltry rainfall last
year, she says. Plus, the quality of water in terms
of colour, hydrogen ion concentration, alkalinity, etc
also improved as per the analysis carried out by the
Pollution Monitoring Lab of the CSE.

A survey conducted under the directives of the

Delhi High Court in August 2001 found that 508
water bodies were present in the capital city, but
in various stages of decay.
Delhi Government was asked to restore these
water bodies, but little has been done, except for
the desalting of one baoli in the heart of the city
claims Sharma.
Delhi gets about 611 mm of rain per monsoon and
even if 50 percent efciency of rainwater harvesting
system is assumed, the city would have harvested
450 billion litres annually, which is 35 percent of
the total water demand of the city, as per gures
provided by the CSE.
But, the city could well continue to be a leaky
bucket till rainwater harvesting expands beyond the
present 1000 sites and truly becomes the norm.
Source: This article was written as part of a TUGI media
fellowship programme on urban reporting.


Transparency A Priority For Urban Governance

by Sushil Mainali

Kathmandu, September 2003: Transparency and

peoples participation in decision making is a major
character of governance. Secure life and equal opportunity
indicate that corruption is zero and social and environment
justice are the major character of the administration.
Peoples participation in decision making is necessary for
good governance. This is the basic need of development.
Theoretically it sounds great. An elected local body is an
example of peoples participation. But, the effectiveness
of such elected bodies depends upon the person elected
and the political party. In practice, the local body and the
elected representative do not represent the peoples
voice once they get elected.
In Nepal, 13.9 percent of the total population live in
urban areas. About one-third or Nepals 23 million


people live in 58 municipalities. Urbanisation is an

indicator of development. It gives change for the
decentralisation, better management and effective
and planned urbanisation. However, most of the Nepali
cities decision-making processes are centralised. They
are unmanaged and unplanned. 30.9 percent of the
urban population live in Kathmandu, the capital city.
The municipality is declared by head counting. Many
of them have not fullled the minimum requirement
of health and sanitation facilities and infrastructure
One of the primary aims of good governance is the
inclusion of all the urban actors, particularly the urban
poor, in the development of the cities. The valuable
urban citizens, whose knowledge and experience

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

are vital for good governance and sustainability

of any modern city, have been excluded from any
development planning.
The number of urban poor is growing these days. In
Kathmandu Metropolitan City, there are 60 settlements
of squatters. The number of such squatters doubled in
the last 10 years. Other cities are worse than the capital
city in terms of the management of squatters.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted
more than 50 years ago, recognise the right to
adequate standard of living. However, urban poverty
is growing by the day. Many children spend their
childhood in the street. Many organisations are working
in the eld of child rights, but the number of street
children in urban areas is increasing.

assessed. Some environment organisations oppose

such projects.
People are not willing to allow the authorities to use
land in their vicinity for landll sites because they have
seen the mismanagement of such projects in the past.
However, their voices are not heard, as the local body
use the police to suppress the peoples concern for
the environment.
Development for VIPs is another trend in our urban
development. For example, at the time of the SAARC
(South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation)
summit in Kathmandu, Department of Roads and
the KMC tarred the road almost overnight. On
such occasions the city is clean and green. Trees
are planted overnight, but, after the summit is over
maintenance is stopped.

Some NGOs and individuals are working on minimising

urban poverty. They are involved in advocating housing
rights of the urban poor. However, the government
does not make any housing plans. The rules and
regulations are not followed by the local body.

Meanwhile, some NGOs are working as pressure

groups. They raise issues and organise regular
interaction programmes.

The planned strategy for Kathmandu metropolitan city,

the KMC City Development Strategy was completed in
January 2001. Other urban areas do not have a urban
development strategy.

Recently, Birantnagar sub metropolitan city began

mobilising peoples and private sector participation
in solid waste management. The responsibility of
managing solid waste is given to a private company.
The company charges city dwellers a certain fee,
towards the partial cost of solid waste management.

Pollution is a very big problem for Nepals urban

population and solid waste management is very
poor. An open solid waste composting project is
operating in the middle of the city. Link roads and
embankments of major rivers are lled with city
waste. Environment impact of such projects is not

They are working on the principle polluters have to

pay and the city is now much cleaner.
Source: This article was written as part of a TUGI media
fellowship programme for South Asian journalists.


Environment Placed Higher Than Peoples Plight

fter the Tasman Spirit oil tanker spilled its load

off the Pakistani coast and polluted the waters
of Clifton Beach, a popular recreational area, the
academicians, and the local environmentalists
have been shouting themselves hoarse on the
incident. But, nobody seemed to care about the
daily wage-earners and street vendors. Is anyone
paying heed to what they are saying? Zofeen
Ebrahim reports from Karachi.
Mian Faqir Ijazzuddin set up his riding school (he
has some 30 thoroughbreds) at Clifton beach
some 14 years ago. After the closure of the beach
he was asked by the police to take his horses
elsewhere. I told them to let my students ride on
the service road parallel to the beach but they
would have none of that, says the disgruntled
old timer.
The number of students has dropped to half. The
parents dont want to send the kids for fear of
the little ones catching something lethal, he says
helplessly, and adds, If this continues, I dont know
how Im going to feed the horses.


He has no condence in the authorities, Frankly

I dont think they will be able to clean up all the
mess, or even have the capacity to do so. But they
have suddenly become so health conscious. What
about the rivulets of sewage in so many places
on the beach, going untreated into the sea? Can
nobody see that as a health hazard?

by Zofeen Ebrahim

A trip to the Clifton beach makes one realise that

the serenity and the deserted look that the beach
has taken on over these past few weeks is kind of
surreal. Save for a lone crow and the brigade of
uniformed men twiddling their thumbs idly, even
the stray dogs that you normally see following
you everywhere are keeping a safe distance from
the beach.
Surprisingly, being so close to the sea, you dont
nd the air unbearable or pungent enough to
cause irritation to the eye. That is because of
the stuff they keep spraying here, says Mian
Sahib, who lives in an apartment facing the sea.
However, one immediately remembers SEPAs
(Sindh Environment Protection Agencys) warning
that the odourless elements inhaled over a period
can be extremely harmful.

term devastating effect on our economy? This is

bound to increase the level of disease with a whole
generation of sick people unable to work.
Ali Amir, a resident of Defence, is suffering from
high fever as are his wife and young son. This
may very well be due to the foul smell that is
everywhere and has virtually made us prisoners in
our own homes. He is livid at the complete apathy
of the concerned authorities. Why cant they, for
once, shoulder the blame? They should at least
issue daily bulletins. Till now we dont even know
how much crude oil has gone into the sea, and
how much has been saved. There have been no
ofcial gures.

This year deaths caused by drowning during

the monsoons must have reduced considerably,
observes a cynical friend, living close to Sea View.
But perhaps that sudden stroke of death was a
better option than what the future holds for us,
he adds.

Dr Nuzhat responds, People dont realise the

magnitude of the pollution caused by the spill.
She explains that the vapours we inhale from
the crude oil have BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl
benzene and xylene), all four components being
carcinogenic. Children exposed to this air for a
longer period may develop memory loss, mental
problems, and it may well affect their bone
development, she warns.

Dr Nuzhat Ahmed, director of the Centre of

Excellence for Molecular Genetics, Karachi
University, paints a rather harrowing picture for
the future, and he doesnt mince his words. The
disaster has increased pollution levels beyond
imagination. Has anyone even thought of the long-

Dr Nuzhat reproaches the government for

its complacency. While foreign experts and
environmentalists were called and their advice
sought the government didnt nd local scientists
and environmentalists competent enough to
involve us.

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

For over a decade, her centre has been working

on growing and modifying environment-friendly
oil-degrading micro-organisms. We could have
handled this situation quickly and at half the
cost, if only our help had been taken. She even
believes that the dispersants used to break
the layer of oil are toxic. These will only take
down the oil and the hydrocarbons in them are
Every evening now for the past one week despite
warnings from the local authorities small-time
businesses have rmly and resolutely set up their
carts along the road leading to the Clifton beach.
The economic crunch far outweighs the health risks
that they are willing to brave.
I cant afford to sit home anymore, says Qamar,
who opened his mobile cholay alu kiosk on the
side road leading to the beach after a lapse of
two weeks. The father of seven has been doing
business for almost seven years without a days
break, and had to take loans from relatives to feed
the family. Even now business is lean. Its good to
be back, he says happily but adds fearfully, Those
days without work were devastating.
The Indian actress Rani Mukerjee looks at
you seductively from a photo frame made of
seashells. There are other Bollywood superstars
pictures, as there are necklaces, earrings, and
rings. In fact Sadiqs cart is loaded with knickknacks made from seashells that he collects from
the Clifton beach. His shop has been selling this
stuff now for forty years at the same place near

the Playland from ten in the morning to eight at

night. Even he, who does not do business on the
beach has felt the pinch. A father of six, he says,
I used to make something like Rs200-250 a day
but now its down to Rs50 a day, if Im lucky.
While Nazir Mohammad Khan refuses to tell us his
exact nancial losses, he says, From cooking 100150 kilos of meat, we are down to 30 kilos a day,
and have laid off four waiters till things normalise.
He has been working now for eight years at one
of the more popular Salateen restaurants as a
A waiter working in the same restaurant says, I
used to make Rs100-200 a night in tips but now
its a mere Rs20. Listening to our conversation is
Allah Ditta. One cant help noticing the ice-cream
vendors smiling demeanour as he tells me that
his business , too, has been adversely affected.
I get the same commission Rs8.5 for every 100
ice-creams that I sell, but from making Rs2500 a
day Im down to Rs1300-1500 a day, because no
one visits the beach anymore.
Saleems business of selling cold mineral water
closed down when the visitors stopped coming,
I used a towel to wring some oil out of the sea. I
managed three drums (16 litres each) that I sold for
Rs120 each. But after that the police just would not
let us go to the beach.
While untoward incidents of the poor resorting
to such activities in utter desperation have been
reported, it is heartening to see people from various

like the Edhi
Fo u n d a t i o n , t h e
local government,
the Defence
Housing Authority,
the police, and the
Karachi Port Trust
involved in massive
operations but
without proper
gear: no gloves,
boots or masks.
Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed,
Deputy Town health
ofcer, was sitting
with his face halfcovered with a mask, at one of the few medical
aid camps set up by the government. I think even
the road running parallel to the beach should be
closed so that there is a complete stop to any
human activity. People dont seem to understand
how dangerous it is to be here near the beach.
The air they are breathing is carcinogenic. Have
people been coming to him with any complaints?
We are dispensing anti-allergy medicines to these
people and the policemen who have been on duty
for 16-18 hours.
Source: The Review, Dawn, 11-17 September, 2003 (This
article was written as part of a TUGI media fellowship
programme for South Asian journalists on urban


A Deprived Childhood Making Bangles

ent double, as close to the ame as possible,

bangle in one hand and a long thin glass stick
in the other, Shumila, 15, sits on the oor in a small
back room of their two room house, all windows and
doors closed. Slowly, and with slightly unsure hands,
she makes a oral pattern with the long glass stick
on the glass bangle.
Im not very good with murai (decorating the bangles),
not as good as my sisters who have been at it for
much longer she stops and wipes the stream of sweat
trickling down her forehead. Her back is drenched too.
Shumaila can decorate six dozen bangles per day,
which can get her Rs 16 (US$8.50) and shes been
doing this work for 4 years. In all we are able to make
742 rupees a week says her older sister.
The work is ne although I get tired sitting in one
position for so long, but its the heat that makes me so
dizzy. It burns my eyes. I point to some burned marks
on her ngers. For these I put mehndi and that eases
the pain. having only studied till Grade 5, she had to be
taken out of school to feed the many mouths - they
are 11 in all - 9 children and 2 parents.
We start work at nine in the morning, up till one when
we break for lunch, then we start again at four and
work till ten. In between she helps in the household
chores too like wiping oors, washing clothes, dusting,


What time does she go out with friends? Im not

allowed to go out, my brothers dont let me, but I visit
friends at home. We sit and chat or play Ludo. When
I was young we played running-catching. I like to play

By Zofeen Ebrahim

with the skipping rope too. In the evening she takes

an hour off to see various Indian soaps shes hooked
to on Star Plus television channel. We have cable at
home she says with pride.
Its Anas eyes which transx you. Big, soulful eyes
that are really too big, but thats not all, they look
very grieved. Shes 12 but looks not more than 6 or
7, and is just bones. Initially she refuses to talk to me,
but, when I cajole her she says, I hate this banglemaking work. Its like sitting in an oven and I often
burn my hands. I like to go to school, I have friends
there, she does jorai (welding the two edges of a
bangle together).
Shes got typhoid says her mother who has 5 other
children. This is the third time that shes had a relapse.
After work and after housework, she, like Shumaila,
likes to go into the make-believe, bold and beautiful
world of Indian soap operas.
For the money Munir, 13, one of the youngest banglecutters, has earned and saved from working in the
glass bangle-making factory, he will buy a bicycle. Ill
be the rst one in my community to have a bicycle
and that too from my own money he says excitedly.
He has already collected Rs 1450 and needs another
Rs 450 before he can buy a bicycle. He earns Rs 100
(US$2.50) a day and gets his wages every fortnight.
My uncle collects them for me and gives it to my
mother. Munir works in a glass-making factory in
Hyderabad where he cuts the lone, cylindrical glass
ing with a cutting le, counts to make a tora (which
makes 300 bangles) before it can go to various houses
for sadai and jorai.

The process of sadai involves aligning the cut in the

bangle by placing it over a ame, while the process
of jorai involves welding the bangle together. For
fuel, either natural gas or kerosene oil is used and to
keep the ame alive fans cannot be used. The already
polluted environment is further aggravated where
cross ventilation is considerably poor.
While the process appears deceivingly simple, it
requires patience and skill. Many times the glass will
cut the skin of the bangle-cutters and one can see
Munir wearing a masking tape around his forenger.
He starts work at 7 in the morning and gets off at 3
or 4 in the afternoon. I live in Tando Mohamad and
it takes me an hour by bus to get here. Once home,
he sleeps off the days toil, gets up to eat and then
goes back to sleep for the night. I take two days off
a month he said.
Munir has few illusions and fewer dreams of what he
wants to be - Ill probably stick to doing what Im doing.
Its easy, Ive learned it well since I started two years
back and Im at home with the people I work with.
And school? I dont want to he says adamantly. He
expresses no regrets of not having attended school,
or no desire to enrol in one if given a chance.
Save the Children-UK conducted a study on the
prevalence of child labour within the Glass Bangle
Industry (GBI) in Hyderabad, Pakistan. The intent was
not to eradicate child labour from the industry, but to
explore the root causes and understand the plight of
the children involved says Jiwan Das, programme
manager at SC-UKs Child Labour and Emergencies
division. He concedes that while the work itself is not

Chapter 7 - Reporters With A Role To Play

life threatening, it is hazardous in a number of ways

if you go by the International Labour Organisation
(ILO) denition.
It takes place in conned spaces; is conducted in an
unhealthy environment with exposure to dangerous
substances; involves working in difcult conditions for
long hours; involves residing at the site of the work
with little personal free time and, offers no form of
preliminary safety training observes Das.
The key ndings in the study are that there is an
increased prevalence of children in the GBI and
for many this labour starts at a very young age
and continues even after adulthood. The reason
identied is poverty that leaves few options for
the family other than for the children to lend a
hand in income generation. The study also points
out that eradication of this labour is not a viable
option unless new avenues and opportunities are
One major impediment is that alternative forms of
work are negligible or not as lucrative, Saima, now 22,
who started work at the age of 7, is a matriculate. I
can teach at a local school, and of course it is more
appealing, but the wages are low she complains.
Unlike others, Saima presents a different scenario.
Her family places no restrictions on girls getting an
education. In fact, girls are encouraged to do so.
Instead, nancial constraints and lack of opportunities
in the area have resulted in educated girls returning
to this mundane home-based work.
The study found 3 localities, namely, Hali Road,
Ilyasabad and Latifabad Unit No. 11 with the highest
concentration of glass bangle work. From the 509
households surveyed, about 73 percent of children

were involved in glass bangle making in one form

or another. These trends reveal a confoundingly
high percentage (90%) of child labour among
communities in both Hali Road and Latifabad area
as opposed to a remarkable lower percentage at
Ilyasabad at only 56 percent. While the level of
poverty is more or less the same in all 3 localities, the
low percentage of child labour observed, particularly
in the bangle-making industry in Ilyasabad, says the
report, could be attributed to child labour diverted
towards alternative vocations like working as motor
mechanics, salespersons in shops, waiters in hotels
or being self-employed.
The survey reveals that the concentration of bangle
work is carried out within the connes of home with
the number of workshops comparatively minuscule.
According to the survey, there are some 26 factories
both run mechanically and manually, and some 42
baking facilities in the project areas. A total of 627
children were interviewed whose average age was
12 years and though picked at random, resulted
in 79% of the interviewees being girls and 21%
The involvement of children (both girls and boys) at
this stage of bangle-making was seen to be highest
as the process being home-based allowed children
to be actively involved while still under the care of
the parents. The current wage for sadai and jorai
is Rs 1.68 (US$0.04) and Rs 3 (US$0.08) per tora
respectively. In a day, an individual can complete
anywhere from 25 to 35 toras depending on the speed
and number of hours.
In order to carry out the task one must sit in a
crouched position for long hours and be exposed
to an open ame. The cuts in the bangles being

small along with the glare of the open ame causes

strain in the eyes, while the crouching position can
be a cause of chronic backache and pain in joints
says Abdul Ghaffar Shirani, co-ordinator, Pak Social
Welfare, a community-based organisation on child
The factories usually operate from 3 in the morning
until noon, as the scorching Hyderabad heat makes it
impossible to work during the day. These factories are
shed-like structures, made of cement with ventilators
and windows as the only form of ventilation since fans
cannot be used. The heat of the furnace can reach
up to 500 deg centigrade and sometimes even more,
creating an extremely hot working environment. The
workers wear no protective gear and the possibility
of injury through burning is considerably high.
The study was unable to gauge exactly how much
each child earns, as most work is home-based and the
children assist their parents, the money generated for
the work was handed in a lump sum to the parents.
From that the child received an average of Rs 50 a
month to spend however he/she wished. The rest went
into the household kitty, and the young breadwinners
had little or no control or decision making power
over how it was spent. The average monthly income
came to Rs 4280 (US$75 approximately), of which
an average of 63% was generated through glass
bangle work.
The report concludes without a shred of doubt, the
need for these children is to work and generate
supplementary income.
Source: This article was written as part of a TUGI media
fellowship programme for South Asian journalists on urban




Ahmad, Zainon, Role of media in good governance,

paper presented to the seminar on Civil Society and
Media, Kuala Lumpur, July 2001.

Ali, Owais. Aslam. Freedom of the press and Asian

values in Journalism, from www.oneworld.org/ppf/

Batario, Red, Public Journalism: A New Approach

to Setting the News Agenda, Manila Times, 14 July,

Batario, Red, Engaging the media in communicating

good urban governance and secure tenure, talk
delivered to the 38th General assembly of the League
of Cities of the Philippines, 2002.

Das Gupta, Shangon, Setting the House Right: Training

for the Media, paper presented to the seminar on Civil
Society and Media, Kuala Lumpur, July 2001.

Dixit, Kunda, Dateline Earth:Journalism as of the

Planet mattered, IPS, Manila, 1997.

Galtung, Johan and Vincent, Richard, Global Glasnost:

Towards A New World Information and Communication
Order, Hampton Press, USA,1992.

Gunaratne, Shelton, Old Wine in a New Bottle:

Public Journalism Movement in the United States
and the Erstwhile NWICO debate, presented to 20th
General Assembly and Scientic Conference of the
International Association for Mass Communication
Research, Sydney, 1822 August, 1996.

Tandon, Rajesh, Civil Society and Media:Contributions

to Good Governance, keynote address to the seminar
on Civil Society and Media, Kuala Lumpur, July 2001.

Vitachi, Tarzie, Development Journalism and

International News, Interview on UNTV Chronicle,

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

he media thrives on its

audience and the audience
likes sensational and/or
entertaining messages. The media
therefore does an excellent job
covering poverty as manifested
during natural disasters, famine and
other calamities. Ordinary poverty,
however, is a day-to-day affair
and therefore unattractive from
the media perspective. Even the
poor themselves are uninterested
in everyday poverty and would
rather forget it by looking for
entertainment far removed from
- Zahiduzzaman Faruque, Editor of Daily
Arthaneeti, Bangladesh

ainstream media pay little

attention to the interests of
the poor, because they have no
money to pay for media services and
the topic does not make good copy.
The only segment of the media that
reports on the increasing population
of poor people is the alternative
media and some idealistic, young
journalists who had a political
background or relationship with
social activist groups.
- Danilo Songco, CEO, Caucus of
Development NGOs, Philippines.


Reporting Urban Poverty - Mainstream

Media and Its Constraints
At a time when the post-September 11th war against
terrorism was dominating the world media headlines, a
group of journalists, academics, government and NGO
representatives from South and South East Asia met
in Bangkok to discuss the role the media could play in
helping to eradicate poverty in Asia. During the meeting,
Bernardo Villegas, Dean of the School of Economics at
the University of Asia and the Pacic in the Philippines
argued convincingly that ghting poverty was even more
important than ghting terrorism. More than a billion
people the world over are victims of dehumanising poverty
he said, adding, while victims of terrorism die quickly, the
victims of poverty die a slow and agonising death, with
both their bodies and souls being brutalised.
In ghting this war against poverty, which is a hallmark of
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
adopted in 2000, there is no doubt that the media could be a
very powerful weapon. While the promise is there, especially
with the advent of new and cheaper digital technology, there
are many constraints to be overcome.


Even at the Bangkok seminar, which was organised

by the Singapore-based Asian Media Information and
Communication Centre (AMIC), the mainstream media
was put in the dock for many of its failures and limitations.
It was pointed out that the media is too obsessed with
politics, and has a supercial and fragmented approach
to development issues; its attention span is limited hence
the constraint to ghting poverty which is not an event
but a process. It needs consistent reporting of everyday
issues dealing with endemic poverty which may not be
as dramatic as news stories.

On the other hand, the media could also be an effective

interlocutor between the poor and other sections of
society, a role which could be described as a mirror, a
magnifying glass, the voice of the poor or a watchdog
of the interests of the poor. The media could even go
further by actually becoming an advocate for changes to
assist the poor or by acting as a conscientising agent of
the poor. The values and ethos of the mainstream media,
however, may not be compatible with such a role. This is
where alternative media plays a role.
In this chapter we will look at some models and structures
of the media, where these roles could be performed both in the mainstream as well as the alternative. We will
also explore some innovative models using new media
technology widely available today.

How the Media is Responding to Poverty

in Asia
In the decade of the 1990s the media scene across
Asia has changed dramatically. Economic liberalisation
measures undertaken by governments have also been
accompanied in many countries with the liberalising of
the media, especially regulations which restricted private
media for long. This has led to a proliferation of new
newspapers and magazines, private FM radio channels,
private television stations and cable operators and the
increasingly unrestricted access to the internet.
All this sound promising in terms of freedom of
expression, but the fact is, that privatisation of the media
has not necessarily led to the people, especially the poor,
getting a greater voice in the media. It has been the
contrary. Many of these media outlets are commercially

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

driven and they have no interest in the poor, since

they do not have the disposal income to support their
advertisers. In addition, privatisation of the media has
led to a corresponding decrease in public broadcasting
structures, a sector with its non-commercial nature has
greater capacity to address the needs of the poor.
A free or privately owned media has not been able to play
an active part in the panchasila of good governance by
raising issues of social justice, ecological sustainability
and people-centred economic productivity, nor have they
been able to open up the media for articulating peoples
voices and helping to open the doors for peoples political
participation in order to promote better governance. In
addition, privatised media has played a very minimal role
in creating a vibrant cultural atmosphere by encouraging
more local talent especially in broadcast.
As Bangladeshi newspaper editor Zahiduzzaman
Faruque argues, the media strives on sensationalism and
entertainment, thus, the day-to-day struggle of the poor
is unattractive to the media. While the media can play a
role in providing useful information for the poor to improve
their living standards, yet, in a country like Bangladesh,
he points out that any improvements in the accessibility
of information for the poor must be accompanied with
infrastructure development such as roads and access
to markets to improve the income of the poor. He also
warns against giving too much emphasis to the internet
as a communication media because it will make the cost
of media exclusion greater.
In Cambodia, the number of publications has risen
from a dozen in 1992 to over 200 by 2001 as a result of
media liberalisation policies in the country. But, media
practitioners themselves admit that the media in Cambodia

Source: UNCHS/P.Wambu

(one of the poorest countries in the region) has shown

very little interest in the awareness and understanding
of poverty related issues. The new media according to
Prach Sim, secretary general of the Cambodian Club
of Journalists is too engrossed in prot making and
reporting on politics being more attractive than poverty


Prachs Popular Magazine has tried to raise awareness

of poverty issues, such as an article on a poor woman
who wanted to sell her child in order to survive, which
generated money and sympathy for the woman. But,
he says such reporting cannot be sustained due to the
money and time involved in such coverage. Because of
its poor literacy rates, radio could play a greater role in
the country than print media in raising the awareness of
the poor, but, it has become an instrument of propaganda
for the leaders.
In Indonesia after the fall of the Suharto regime in 1998,
media regulations have been gradually liberalised with
a new media law passed in 2002 allowing room for the
establishment of community radio across the country.
Yet, after hundreds of publishing licenses were given
out by the government in 1999, within a year or so a
rash of so called X-rated publications hit the news


stands much to the dismay of those who fought long and

hard for media freedoms. Instead of giving the people
a better voice in the media, these publications were
semi-pornographic magazines and tabloids. For the new
publishers this was an easy way of making money rather
than employing good journalists who could do the daily
grind of preparing reports on the countrys battle against
growing poverty. Not surprisingly, soon, there was a
clamour from the community for restrictions on this type
of media freedom. Meanwhile, the new private television
channels and radio became more entertainment oriented,
and less interested in information based programming
which are more expensive. Thus, the new broadcasting
laws which allow community based radio licensing
are promising and already many community groups,
especially in urban centres have gone on air without
even waiting for the government to grant them a license
(see following story).

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Revolution Underway in Peoples Radio

JAKARTA, July 9, 2003 - The hundreds of
community-owned radio stations beaming local
music and peoples voices across the huge
Indonesian archipelago today reflect a sea
change from the Suharto years, when a handful
of the former presidents business cronies
dominated the local media.
Today, five years after Suhartos oust from
power, people like Ali Pangestu, co-ordinator of
the Indonesian Community Radio Network, say
they are enjoying the dividends that democratic
change is bringing to a media landscape where all
newspapers were owned by Suharto associates
and all radio and television were in government
Its a relief to be able to run a radio station without the
fear of it being closed down by the government since
a new broadcasting law was passed in November
2002, Ali Pangestu, co-ordinator of the Indonesian
Community Radio Network, said in an interview.
The new broadcasting law, for the rst time, contains
provisions for the establishment of community-based
broadcasting. In August 2003 the government
is expected to announced a multiparty national
communications commission to begin the task of
issuing community broadcasting licences.
But dozens of impatient community radio enthusiasts
are on the air already some for as long as two

years. Government authorities have been turning

a blind eye to the broadcast proliferation as long
as national security is not affected.
Among the active broadcast pirates are the
radio station recently started for children of
a scavenger community just outside Jakarta,
for a fishing community north of Jakarta, for
riverbank communities in Jogjakarta, and for
villagers on the slopes of Mount Merapi in
Central Java.
Some, like Radio Suara Persaudaraan Matraman
(RSPM), have set themselves a challenging
agenda. RSPM has been dubbed the peace
music station for its innovative model of using
local dangdut music to bring peace to feuding
communities in East Jakarta.
M Satiri, the radio technician who started the
station, did so in an attempt to put an end to the
conict between two squatter neighbourhoods in
the Matraman district. There has been conict
here since 1971, Satiri said in an interview.
Nothing has worked to bring peace. The
governor then advised us to do positive things.
So Satiri decided to set up a studio at home, spent
15 million rupiah (about 1,800 U.S. dollars) of his
own money, drafted his wife and teenage daughter
in as disc jockeys, and spent another 7 million
rupiah to construct a relay tower on his roof.


That was three years ago and Satiri quickly

saw his effort pay off - the youth of the two
communities began visiting the radio station to
request songs, mainly their favourite dangdut
Now his studio is a meeting place for people
from both communities, who nd they can mingle
without rancour with their former enemies.
To get the attention of people in the area,
I distributed lea ets asking them to request
songs on air, Satiri explained. Now he charges
1,000 rupiah (12 U.S. cents) for each request he
broadcasts. This helps keep his radio station
aoat, and Satiri has trained 13 local youth to be
volunteer disc jockeys.


Laksmi, Communication Ofcer of Tifa foundation

said that community radio will allow people in
Indonesia to have their own voice.
Most local newspapers are owned by just two
giant publishing companies: Kompas and Jawa
Pos. And, since the fall of the Suharto government
in 1998, commercial private broadcasting has
expanded rapidly and saturated the frequencies,
especially in the cities. Without applying for
government permission, community radio
operators instead select a frequency they nd
free and broadcast on it, using home made lowpowered transmitters and cheap broadcasting

RSPM has been given a restricted licence

under local government laws and Satiri says
he gets some funds from local authorities to
help keep the community peaceful. But the
peace music station may not have stayed on
air without broader intervention in 2001 and 2002
by activists.

Akuat Supriyanto, external relations co-ordinator

of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AIJ),
believes that community radio activists should
not accept any form of licensing regime from
the government and must broadcast political
problems at the local level. In rural areas,
there is no control of government agencies and
community radio is a good medium to exercise
these checks and balances, said Supriyanto.

At the time, the Indonesian government was

considering dropping the community radio article
on grounds of national security, and only sustained
lobbying by civil society groups, including groups
like the Tifa Foundation, prevented that.

Yet he sees an absence of strong political

conviction. The movement to build community
radio is not based on political awareness to
protest against regulation of broadcast media in
Indonesia, he noted.

Although the new laws are vague on the

denition of community radio - they are described
as owned, controlled by the community, Shita

AIJ is helping re ne the new communication

space too. It recently organised a workshop at
radio stations for local journalists on reporting

conflict resolution. Satiri was held up as an

example not how to report con ict, said
Supriyanto, but as a brilliant idea of how to
resolve conict using radio.
They used the radio as a forum for community
leaders to explain the history of the conict, he
added. Thus, our reporters got a perspective
on what the conict is, and how to mediate and
stop it.
There is still a measure of ofcial distrust about
communities taking to the airwaves. Garin
Nugroho, filmmaker and community media
activist, explained: Government is afraid that
community media could become a tool for
disunity. But if civil society develops in the
periphery, Indonesia will be stronger.
Local areas need their information and their
entertainment, which gives them an identity, he
added. National media can give a window to local
media and vice versa. This form of multicultural
broadcasting is our vision of the future.
Source: Inter Press Service

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

radio to promote hatred and violence, Pakistan should

have hundreds of private radio stations throughout the
country with minimum time allocated to public service
broadcasting. For example in Karachi each major district
could afford to have at least two or three radio stations he
says, so that the rich diversity of the city in all respects is
articulated and in order that vocal participation by citizens
in debate and discussion on the citys issues can be
freely aired as a necessary step towards the formulation
of change.
In the meantime, organisations working for social change
are putting their messages across by buying air time
on the national radio network - Pakistan Broadcasting
Corporation (PBC). The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation
Funds sponsors these windows which are weekly
programmes in Urdu broadcast nationally called Poverty
Line (see box).

In Pakistan, where poverty-alleviation is a priority issue

for the government, the state-owned electronic media
devote space and time to the coverage of these issues,but,
angled towards positive projection of government policies
and government sponsored programmes. The print media
has its limitation in giving access to the voices of the
poor because literacy rates are very low among the poor,
but the electronic media, radio in particular, could play a
major role.
Javed Jabbar, a former federal information minister
argues in his book Global City that rather than misusing

In the Philippines, even though the mainstream media

faces the same constraints as in other countries with
increasing commercialisation, yet, medias engagement
with development goes back to the post-World War
period when Filipino agriculture experts began to press for
development communication models. As a result, a thriving
alternative media culture coexists with the mainstream
commercialised media in the country. The discipline of
development communications has found its way into the
curriculum of most Filipino journalism courses and news
organisation still allocate space and time for stories that
discuss the problems of the poor and the reasons for its
Arnold Tenorio, a feature writer for Business World
argues that many journalists themselves have empathy
for poverty-related subjects because they feel insecure

Radio A Weapon To Fight Poverty

Baanhn Beli (Friend Forever) is an NGO
which has been working with the poor in
the Sind province for over 15 years. It has
worked in villages in parts of outer Karachi
where there is no electricity, no potable
water, no metalled roads, no telephones
and very low access to the mass media.
The residents are Brahvi-speaking people
living under the poverty line.
The men in this community are more mobile
with greater contact with the outside world
and they speak the national language Urdu.
But the women are homebound and mostly
speak only Brahvi.
Baanhn Beli organised a day long
workshop recently with the women in
these villages where radio and womens
development were brought together.
During the workshop the women of the
community took part in lively discussion
(perhaps for the rst time in their lives)
and made many suggestions for practical
action to improve their lot.
Proceedings were recorded and radio
programmes were prepared for broadcast
via Pakistans national radio network PBC.
Radio sets were presented by Baanhn
Beli to the community for the women to
listen to these programmes and make
regular programmes involving the women
- thus making radio a potential weapon to
ght poverty.
Source: Poverty in Asia: Media Challenges and
Responses, 2002


about their middle-class status and nd themselves

nancially squeezed in ways comparable to those they
write about.
Looking at the brighter side, the Philippines has provided
a model of an activist media where both in 1986 and in
2001, the media played a prominent role in the peoples
power movement which brought down two presidents.
But, on the darker side, sections of the media has also
served as the instrument of the elite in hiding the truth,
and creating false images for power-hungry politicians
and corrupt public ofcials.
Former President Joseph Estrada is a classic example of
how the media in the Philippines created a false image of a
public ofcial which the public, particularly the poor, lapped
up, and fell for, hook, line and sinker argues Danilo Songco,
CEO of the Cacus of NGO Networks in the Philippines
(Puri, 2002, ch 9). Estrada hired spin doctors who use the
media to build on his screen image as a saviour of the poor,
and fed him the constant ow of rhetoric that fuelled the
idealism and the hunger of the poor.


In Vietnam, which still has a largely government owned

media structure, public service broadcasting is the norm.
Since 1999, the government has invested more resources
in the media to assist it to become a weapon in ghting
poverty in the country. All three channels of Vietnam
television have their own shows related to poverty
alleviation and the news channel VTV1 has a weekly news
programme devoted to addressing poverty alleviation
issues. Every Saturday on the education channel VTV2,
a special programming slot was allocated for farmers to
discuss poverty related issues with experts, agriculture
ofcials and policy-makers. Radio stations also broadcast
regular programmes on poverty alleviation issues.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number

of journalists covering poverty related issues in Vietnam,
with more training and resources given for journalists to
report on poverty alleviation processes in far-ung areas
and identify problems faced by the poor. The training has
led to a perceptible change in the attitude of journalists,
who no longer just report on the statistics put out by
government departments, but, communicate directly with
the poor to give the stories more perspective and context.
Yet, having to compete with foreign media beamed into
Vietnam, the broadcast media is increasingly taking the
entertainment path.
Thailand is another Asian country where there has been
a great expansion of the media in the 1990s along with
liberalisation of media regulations. But, it is a similar story
as elsewhere with entertainment getting priority over
information oriented programming. Yet, there are many
examples where civil society groups have been able to
mobilise media resources to create windows in the media to
get the peoples voices heard. One of the reasons for this is
the fact that many people working in the media today have
had NGO backgrounds which orients them towards poverty
related issues. Many television stations, especially the
state-owned ones, have shown news features immediately
following the news bulletins, where issues like poverty
alleviation have been discussed or explored.
Poonsap Tulaphan, manager of Thailands Appropriate
Technology Association says that a positive fallout of this
media attention has been an increase in programmes on
womens issues, which has inspired women to set up selfhelp groups. The media has also successfully projected a
new image of women as producers and helped them to
market their products by giving the business community
and others knowledge about these products and their

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

producers. On the negative side however, some womens

groups have failed in their new ventures, because the
media only focused on success stories and did not follow
up on the failures.
The communication media has grown spectacularly in
India since independence with over 5000 dailies, more
than 16,000 weeklies, 200 plus radio stations and a national
television network transmitted via 1000 transmitters across
the country. In addition, cable and satellite television have
mushroomed in the 1990s and the internet is rapidly
expanding among the middle classes. A study done
in 2001 by Arvind Singhal and M.Rogers indicated that
between 1950 and 2000, the combined reach of all mass
media in India has increased from 15% of the Indian
population to 65%. However, 350 million people in India
are still untouched by Indias communication revolution
and these are the poor communities whose exclusion
from the communication resources goes hand-in-hand
with their economic backwardness.

many communication NGOs across India who are trying

out new schemes, where the contents production would
be done in collaboration with the communities and the
dissemination may be via the mainstream media structures
or outlets. Others like the PROOF project in Bangalore, a
joint-venture radio programme produced by an NGO and
broadcast on a local FM channel brings the local council
and people together in encouraging good governance
(see story on page 158). Yet, others are establishing
their own media outlets such as community radio, where
licenses are being offered for the rst time in India.

The mainstream media, whether state-owned or private,

has subordinated itself to the ruling elite, and by and large
reects its priorities and values, in its coverage of news
and its programming contents, rather than the interests
of the poor, which often conict with those of the elite
argues R.K Nayak, Founder-Coordinator of NISWASS,
an Indian grassroots communication NGO. Such media
cannot develop a comprehensive theory oriented towards
poverty eradication.
India has however experimented with a number of
development communication projects over the years. But,
these have failed due to its top-down processes, overbureaucratisation and superimposed ideas and ideologies,
with has a strong element of paternalism. Today, there are


Meet PROOF Puttanna

ROOF (Public Record of Operations and

Finance) is a public campaign launched on
4 July 2002 in Bangalore. It aims to create a
structure where on the one hand, the city Municipal
Corporation - Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP)
- makes public its quarterly performance data and,
on the other, citizens participate in the process.
Public debate and discussions follow the
announcement of each of the BMPs four quarterly
reports and provide the opportunity to bring nancial
accountability and performance measurement into
the public space. In the larger process of bringing
the government and the public closer together, they
act as catalysts.
PROOF is a collective campaign initiated by four
organisations - Centre for Budget and Policy Studies
(CBPS), Public Affairs Centre (PAC), Janaagraha
and VOICES. Each of these organisations brings
with them experiences that are vital for the PROOF
campaign. VOICES - a community media outt - is
responsible for the community communications
component of the campaign.


PROOF provides a powerful opportunity for

government and citizenry to join hands and
collectively strengthen governance. A process of
such texture and magnitude requires one to go a
step beyond mass media mechanisms. This brings
into play one of the most fascinating communication
strategies - community communications.

Mass media with its limitations has a tendency

to exclude grassroots voices. Community
communication mechanisms enable a threepronged approach to a campaigns information
a) Dissemination of information to a wider spectrum
of citizenry.
b) Feedback mechanisms embedded in each of the
media used in order to track the responsiveness
among people.
c) Building linkages between people, the
government and the campaign partners to
enable the vision of participative governance.
Since the launch of the PROOF campaign, there
has been a concerted effort to enable citizens
participation in the process. An advocacy campaign
of such magnitude requires, along with academic
analysis and citizen awareness efforts, a strategic
community communications mechanism. Radio was
decided upon as one of the prime media to begin
the process of dissemination for the campaign.
So it was that VOICES launched a radio programme
series in Kannada on All India Radio (AIR - 101.3
FM), on the 18th of September 2002.
The series comprises of 15 minute-programmes
aired once a week. Each programme features

the campaign mascot PROOF Puttanna, in

conversation with guest speakers either from the
BMP or from the citizen community, and ends with
a listener quiz-question for the week.
Every episode deals with one aspect of the
campaign and while communicating signicant
information and updates, also provides a space
where the community can address any ambiguity
or query.
Source: Voices Newsletter
Link: http://www.voicesforall.org

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Working With The Mainstream Media

Rapid liberalisation in most Asian countries in the
last decade has not resulted in the opening up of
the media, especially the airwaves, to the voices of
the people. In a mainstream media climate where
entertainment takes precedence over information
and discussion, there is much debate within
civil society and development communication
practitioners whether to press the mainstream media
to open up its pages and airspace to peoples voices
or to develop new communication technologies as
a counter balance.
Before we look at possible alternative media
structures to supplement or even supersede the
mainstream media, let us explore some attempts
made by civil society groups to work with the
mainstream media to promote good governance and
poverty alleviation issues at community level; as well
as some actions taken by the mainstream media to
promote good governance in the implementation of
development schemes.
Building Links and Co-operation: In Indonesia,
a World Bank sponsored Social Safety Net (SSN)
programme was introduced in 1998 at the height
of the Asian nancial crisis. This was designed to
provide a socio-economic cushion for the those
worst hit. The crucial issue here was targeting identifying those in the densely populated urban
areas, especially in Java, who were hard-hit by the
turbulence of the system.
According to a study done by Prof Bambang Shergi
Laksmono of the faculty of social welfare at the

University of Indonesia, the media played a key role

in improving the delivery mechanisms of the SSN
programme. With regards to the coverage of the
Indonesian SSN, the national media has provided
the space for making known public grievances about
the implementation of the programme he observed
(Puri, 2002, ch 15). Some newspapers have been
very effective in addressing accountability issues
and taking them to key decision makers.
The study of newspaper reports on the SSN over a
period of 18 months included 482 articles from six
major national and local newspapers. It indicated that
the coverage was divided into three phases:
Phase 1 (July - December 1998) - The Welcoming
During this period the media helped to shape the
initial public response to the SSN programme, by
providing information on the distribution mechanism,
the amount of money involved in the project and also
initiating discussions on its relevance.
Phase 2 (January - April 1999) - Critical Tone
In this phase, the media began to critically assess
the programme, reporting on confusion and
ineffectiveness in the implementation procedures.
It began to question the possible political motives
behind the SSN. One newspaper reported about
how SSN funds have been cornered by Jakarta
Municipal ofcials and the Urban Poor Consortium
was quoted in the newspapers that up to 90% of the
SSN funds have been misused. This led to the World
Bank and the Asian Development Bank questioning
the efcacy of the administration of the scheme and
entertaining complaints from vocal NGOs.

Phase 3 (May - June 1999) - Outcomes

During this period media published statements from
government ofcials admitting that funds have been
mishandled in some regions. The then President
B.J.Habibie promised to correct these and the World
Bank threatened to freeze funding. The programme
continued, after several modications to streamline
the delivery with several ministerial departments
not relevant to channelling the funds excluded from
the project.
This experience may have several lessons for both the
media (see box on page 160) and civil society groups
in exploring ways to improve good governance in the
delivery of social welfare programmes at grassroots


What The Media Can Do To

Improve Social Welfare Delivery

he experience in Indonesia with

the role played by the media in
improving the delivery of the Social
Safety Net (SSN) programme has many
lessons, and this is what the media could
do in such a situation:
help create watchdog mechanisms that
promote transparent and accountable
government by spotlighting malpractice
and advocating reform
work to strengthen organisations of
civic associations so that they can
develop networks of information
exchange and promote joint action
among community organisations
promote consultation mechanisms
so that citizens can express their
satisfaction with local government
help strengthen public (both citizen and
the media) access to public meetings
and records
promote local government procedures
that allow citizens to provide inputs
before decisions are made about
resource allocation, and establish
oversight procedures
build capacity at all levels of government
regarding decisions to disseminate
information regularly to citizens and
other levels of government.


Source: Poverty in Asia: Media Challenges

and Responses (chapter 15), 2002

Capacity Building and Providing Content: Another path

of getting the peoples voices into the media is by setting
up a news agency style NGO run content production
structures. This involves training young journalism
graduates and others in producing news features where
the peoples voices are used to tell the story, as well as
giving emphasis to analytical reporting - the type of public
journalism discussed in chapter 7. There are many examples
across Asia where this approach has been adopted.
The Press Institute of India (PII) started a monthly journal
called Grassroots a few years ago in response to the urban
middle class bias of the news media. The magazine was
designed to promote media coverage of the human condition
and community developments at the grassroots of Indian
society. Grassroots consists of eld reports on the human
condition selected from a wide range of newspapers. Though
these reports were rare or occasional in the daily newspapers
selected, all the reports in one monthly publication, gave a
good insight into the problems and living conditions of Indias
poor communities. The magazine soon turned itself into a
Grassroots Feature Network where their news features
are distributed to a wide range of provincial and district
newspapers. The PII also organise workshops on Media
and Human Development to train journalists from these
newspapers on reporting poverty and the human condition.
Victoria Cabrera-Balleza, media director of ISIS International
Manila argues that we do not see the media reporting much
on NGO activities, issues and perspectives because the
media do not nd civil society information newsworthy. It
really has to do with how we package our information so
that the media will nd them useful for their purpose she
points out. It is about understanding how media operates
and putting our media strategies in tune with the medias
operating systems.

It is with this realisation that ISIS an international womens

organisation developed the concept of the Womens Media
Team (WMT) Project. The project has developed an unique
strategy combining news coverage with actual training
on developing and implementing a media campaign. The
project aims to:
1) build up womens NGOs capability in formulating and
implementing a media and communication plan geared
at mainstream media,
2) carry out a NGO Media and Communication Plan for a
specic event that impacts on women, and
3) sustain the information and communication campaign
for a major event that impacts on women.
The WMT project has thus assembled a team of international
women reporters at major conferences, such as Beijing +5
Review, which composed of writer-trainees from womens
NGOs, editor-trainees from mainstream media, a media liaison
staff, an administrative staff and one project co-ordinator. The
writer-trainees take part in an onsite training to formulate
and implement a media and communication plan targeted
towards regional and national mainstream media outlets.
Stories and news releases produced by the writer-trainees
are disseminated to media outlets of the host city, countries of
the writer-trainees and via international newsagencies. While
some stories have been used, what ISIS has found is that
most national dailies prefer to use stories from established
wire services because of their long working relationship (with
these newsagencies), which has created credibility. Thus, the
challenge for new projects like that of the WMT is to build up
such relationships with the national news media across the
region. Cabrera-Balleza feels UN agencies like DPI need to
help organisations likes hers to establish these relationships
as well as create alternative news services (to areas giant
media conglomerates are unable to reach).

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Creating Windows in the Mainstream: Another

strategy which community based NGO media content
production units have adopted is to create windows
within the mainstream media for their news and
information programmes. The idea is that the media
organisation need not invest in the production of the
contents - which in the eyes of commercial media is
an expensive business - rather they make available a
space in their newspaper or magazine or in the radio
or television for these contents to be disseminated.
Sometimes the media organisation itself could earn
income by selling this space or time to a content
producer. The PROOF Puttanna project described earlier
in this chapter is one such example.
In India, community radio aspirant groups have used this
strategy in recent years, while they prepare to run their
own fully pledged radio station in the future. Over the
years, many NGOs with funding from organisations like
UNICEF have implemented such projects, particularly on
radio. But, many have folded up when funding ran out.
In Jharkhand, one of Indias poorest states, Alternative
for India Development (AID) has been working with local
communities to develop community radio since 2000.
Chala Ho Gaon Mein, a 30-minute weekly programme
produced in the local language by a team of 16 village
reporters is broadcast by the local Daltongunj All India
Radio FM station. Using dramas, songs and interviews,
the programme deals with issues ranging from corruption
and child labour to dowry and alcoholism. According
to Salam Khan, of AID , as in other places, media in
our area is dominated by coverage of politicians and
celebrities. We are working to shift the focus to the
community level and to put the last man rst and the
rst man last.

The experience of Young Asian Television (YATV) in Sri

Lanka is a good example of the barriers NGO based
media content production houses have in long term
survival (see story on pages 162-163). YATV has a stateof-the-art television production house in Colombo where
they employ a number of young high school and university
graduates, but, they do not have their own television
channel. They rst started by hiring half an hour of air
time 5 days a week on an evening time-slot from a local
private channel to air programmes in English for youth
audiences on issues such as human rights, development
and poverty, cultural festivals, womens issues, etc. The
programmes were popular with Colombos urban middle
class and they soon ventured into Sinhalese and Tamil
programming to expand their audience. They also had a
network of stringe rs in the region who provided overseas
footage for their programmes.

Strategies to Bring to Light

Urban Issues
in the Mainstream Media

Building links and Co-operation

Capacity Building Giving Proper Training to


Content Production

Creating Windows

YATV was also able to sell programmes to other

networks in the region, but, though the programmes
were high in production quality they could not compete
with the global networks who have established their
brand name. Thus, by the beginning of 2002 with initial
funding sources drying out and new income difcult
to raise, they had to scale down their local broadcasts.
The YATV model of youth perspectives-based
broadcasting strategy using windows on mainstream
television would have worked only if the mainstream
television stations themselves were willing to make
some investment in the venture.
Yet, the windows model holds the greatest promise
for community-based media NGOs to access the
mainstream media, particularly the broadcast media.
We will discuss more about this model later in this


Asias Only Public Broadcaster Struggles to Stay Alive

COLOMBO, Nov. 20, 2002 - Seven years after
the launch of Asias only public broadcaster, the
pioneering station is struggling to stay alive because
corporate sponsors shy away from support, pushing it
to become increasingly dependent on UN agencies
and other supporters.
Its a struggle to keep this station going, said
Hilly Ahmed, the managing director of Young Asia
Television (YATV), launched in Colombo by Worldview
International Foundation, a Norwegian-backed NGO.
We want to be a leader in social communications
but we lack the support of the private sector which is
essential for any media organisation, he says


to development, supported by the United Nations

Economic and Social Commission for the Asia-Pacic
(ESCAP), and a locally-backed programme on human
rights education are part of this new approach.
The locally backed programme is supported by the
Sri-Lankan based Institute of Human Rights and has
a 26-episode series of ve-minute videos discussing
torture, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation and internally
displaced people.
One story, for instance, relates how people living in a
residential area outside Colombo were informed that
a major highway was running through their properties
ve years after the project began.

Today, YATV, which uses MTV-like presentation of

news and issues surrounding the news, reaches
up to 40 million people in 22 countries in Asia and
Europe. Its programmes range from human rights,
development, the needs of young people and
conservation. It hopes to expand its reach to 63
countries including Africa and the Americas, targeting
particularly young people. But the challenges of
maintaining development-oriented programmes and
attracting commercial supporters for material that is
usually seen as commercially unviable are forcing
YATV to take a second look at its current approach.

These people have been kept in the dark. That

is the problem. The right to information is a basic
fundamental right, Lalanath de Silva, human rights
advocate, said in this series.

This is why, Ahmed says, our new strategy is to

deal with UN agencies and be their media campaign

Thats the problem. Our programmes are good and

well received by everyone including the corporate
sector. But when it comes to nancial support, the
corporates shy away because we deal with controversy.
Also advertising on these programmes wont directly
help to sell products, Chanmugam said.

Sharmini Chanmugam, YATVs editor-in-chief, says

that its broadcasting of a programme on the right

Both series on rights are being offered free to

any broadcaster and will be launched on Dec 10,
international human rights day.
Like any public broadcaster, YATV focuses on nonsensational news, highlighting social injustice, and
providing an alternate approach to news.

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Chanmugam, who had a long stint at national

television broadcaster Rupavahini before joining
YATV at its inception, however rmly believes there
is a space for public broadcasters like her station.
There should be laws tied to licences given to private
broadcasters by governments to offer space to public
and social broadcasts. People need to know their
rights and about social injustice. It is a public interest
issue, she explained.
YATV does not have its own channel and has to
negotiate with state and private broadcasters across
Asia for space on their channels. In Colombo, its
programmes are run on Rupavahini and TNL, a
private station, with similar contracts in the rest of
the world.
YATV was launched in 1995 at a time when the
Internet and satellite television began breaking down
conventional media barriers. Programmes like YA
Tribe and Nature Calls have young pony-tailed men
clad in jeans and T-shirts discussing music festivals
and dramas across the world. Space to Let focuses
on marginalised women and those who are helping
to improve their lives.
We also want to highlight Asians who are doing
things, who are inuencing society. We dont only
talk about problems. We like to also nd possible
solutions and present these, Chanmugam said.
Some 40 stringers across Asia and a full-time staff
of producers and camera crew churn out stories on
issues including the rights of women, education and
the peace process in Sri Lanka.
We have interviewed personalities like S P Tamil
Chelvan, head of the Tamil rebels political wing,

long before the peace process began and the BBC

(British Broadcasting Corp) or CNN (Cable News
Network) came into the picture, says Ahmed.
He adds that the stations two peace programmes
Sathi and Vilippu (meaning awakening in the
Sinhala and Tamil languages respectively) have
an audience even abroad. YATV is using a London
broadcaster to transmit its programmes to 35,000
households of Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in
The stations other content is not far off - in
stimulating public debate, raising concerns and
demanding action. HIV/AIDS forms a prominent
part of YATV coverage, challenging misconceptions,
creating awareness on safe sex and on the
importance of introducing sex education in the
school curriculum.
Chanmugam said their focus would be the issues
that the mainstream media does not sufciently
cover or completely ignores. The station produced
only English-language programmes at the beginning
but gradually began local-language programmes as
corporate sponsorship began drying up. The strategy
has paid off to some extent.
We are reaching larger audiences through local
language programmes, she said.
Ahmed hopes that the fact that YATV is probably the
only one of its kind should attract many supporters.
But he concedes, The biggest problem however is
that we are in the non-government world and thus
cant attract corporate advertising.
Source: Inter Press Service


Urban Governance Workshop

Leads To Community Radio Programme

ne of the young enthusiastic journalists

who participated in the South East Asian
Journalists Workshop on Good Governance
in Kuala Lumpur in October 2002, went on to
create a remarkable radio programme for his
community. Abner Francisco, a journalist with
Mindanao Free Headliner wrote this letter to
TUGI after his return home.
Peoples voices go on air!
Immediately after the Kuala Lumpur
workshop, the Federation of Reporters for
Empowerment and Equality (FREE) started
conceptualising a new strategy on how can
we truly be instrumental in the promotion of
good governance. As a result, we agreed to
widen our reach through the launching of
a radio programme entitled Tinig ng Bayan
(Peoples Voice) aired over the radio station
DXCA. Tinig ng Bayan is a spinoff of Ulat ng
Bayan (Citizens Report) a regular feature
of our community newspaper, the Mindanao
FREE Headliner. We launched the new radio
programme last November 18.


With Tinig ng Bayan aired over a community radio,

our campaign to promote the good governance
initiative has not only widened its reach but has
given us opportunity to dig deeper into the issues
on a daily basis. Both the Tinig ng Bayan and the
Ulat ng Bayan cater to address the grievances of
citizens especially those who have no and/or very
limited access to media and government ofces.
Modesty aside our programme is fast gaining
listenership and support. Proof is the large volume
of letters we receive from the community and the
press releases sent in to our programme. It must
have been a coincidence that one of the two
organisations we helped introduce on air was UNHabitat and its programmes. In fact it was the rst
time they went on air to introduce their programme
and we re glad they chose Tinig ng Bayan as a
venue. We also covered their launching programme
and we agreed to do more collaborative efforts in
the next days to come.
In the rst three days, our programme focused on the
issues of the indigenous peoples struggle to reclaim
their ancestral lands, transportation problems,
juvenile delinquency, curfew for minors, corruption
in the government among others. Recently, we
facilitated the repair of roads and streetlights in some

areas of the city. The city governments response was

immediate because we closely monitored how they
acted on the complaints aired in our programme.
Government ofcials pick up the issue faster when
the media highlights it. We also did special reports
on the human rights violations in conjunction with
the International Human Rights Day, the Mindanao
Week of Peace and Dyandi- the indigenous peoples
traditional rite for peace and unity. We are also having
as a running issue arsenic poisoning in our rivers
and streams. The brochure on Running Water was
of great help.
All the people behind Tinig ng Bayan work as
volunteers. One of our programme anchors Connie
Brizuela is a lawyer who gives her time and legal
advice on-air for free. Some of our correspondents
are campus journalists whom we are developing as
secondliners. They too serve as volunteer workers.
All the radio transceivers we use were borrowed
from friends and advocates of good urban and rural
governance. DXCA has given us three months free
airtime after which we will be paying the station. We
expect that after three months we can already have
our own advertisements from which we will get the
fund to pay for the airtime.
- Abner Francisco, Mindanao Free Headliner
Source: Urban Links No 40, 2003, TUGI

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

Community Radio Getting The Peoples Voice

On The Airwaves
There are many forms of alternative media practised by
community groups around the world - from four page
news letters and theatre groups to internet discussion
groups and web publications to cable driven television
services. But, it is community radio which is most
popular and perhaps the most effective alternative
media today.
In the 1990s there has been a community radio revolution
sweeping the world and Asia and the Pacic have not
been immune to it. Some of the most effective forms
of community radio are found in Asia today, such as in
the Philippines and Nepal, and hopefully, in Indonesia,
Thailand and India very soon.

The CMC, chosen to run the community media system

is a group of leaders who represent a cross-section of
the community, such as farmers or shermen, women,
youth, ethnic minorities, labour groups, education
sector, church, local government representative,
business groups and even political factions. These
representatives have to be nominated and elected by
various sector organisations, and handpicking by local
inuential people or politicians is discouraged. The
members have to be re-elected each year.
These media systems were originally to be established
in 12 remote locations in the Philippines over a ve-year
period beginning in 1992. They would be chosen on the
basis of economic deprivation and limitation in access
to information. By the beginning of 2001, 25 Tambuli
stations across Philippines have been established.

Tambuli Radio - Philippines: The Tambuli Radio

project in the Philippines offers a unique model where
community based broadcasting could not only be
community driven in content but also in developing
a grassroots communications strategy which would
involve multi-sectors.
Tambuli is the brainchild of Louie Tabing a former
programme executive with the Catholic radio station
Radio Veritas. It was launched in 1992, and was
funded by UNESCO and the Danish development
agency Danida, during its rst 5 years. The project was
essentially setting up a rural communication system at
the centre of which is a low-powered community radio
station, which will be controlled by a community elected
Community Media Council (CMC).


Barangayan Sa Himpapawid Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

he Barangayan Sa Himpapawid
visit would be prearranged with
the community leaders. They would
spend at least two days, where the
programme would be rehearsed on
the rst day and recorded on the
second. The programme includes local
talent in singing, musical recitation
and poetry. There would also be
community discussions and very likely
a discussion between the local Mayor
and the people. The programme
would be presented by the local
people with minimal guidance from
the professionals.


Tambuli founder Louie Tabing describes

this process thus: It is designed to
give people living in remote sections
of the stations coverage area the
opportunity to express themselves
politically, culturally, socially and
spiritually. This is an excellent venue
where regular peoples talents,
sentiments, feelings and views
could nd an outlet. Where people
would be hindered by geographical,
social, and economic constraints,
Barangayan sa Himpapawid would
provide them access to the means of
communication elevating them from
mere receivers of messages.
Source: Interview with Louie Tabing, 2001

Tabing says (interview 2001) that looking back on the

project, that they have proven to the Filipino nation that
there is something else, another type of media system
that can be put up. That is more or less close to the
idea that programming is not there to make money, not
to project the image of a politician more nicely, but a
facility that will treat issues fairly and objectively, and
with substance of pluralism than elitism. So this is the
kind of facility we have set up, twenty ve of them.
The Tambuli project has developed an interesting
community access programming model which aims to
give access to the airwaves for those who live in farung communities. Called Barangayan Sa Himpapawid
(A neighourhood radio production), the Tambuli team
would visit one of these communities with a Karaoke
machine and a power supply to record their voices and
then broadcast it back to the community as well as
adjoining ones (see left box).
Tabing says that he himself has been taken aback
by the enthusiasm members of the community have
shown to operate and manage their own stations. At
the beginning we were intending to provide everything
to the community and we did not expect that the
community people would invest anything in setting up a
radio station. We were not even sure that the community
would be listening to small stations and small facilities
like this on a regular basis let alone sustain the
operations. We take it that we should be providing all
the incentives and motivation including all the pieces of
equipment. Then we realised that indeed, most of the
community are willing to put up some money, equipment
and more importantly their time. Prestigious members
of the community are putting their status on line for
the project. That means the enthusiasm is denitely

very high among the community people who are from

the depressed, very poor, economically deprived areas
of the country, where most stations are.
In addition to creating the CMC model of administering a
community radio station, some of Tambulis radio stations
are a joint-venture between the community and a local
educational institution such as the one in Banga in Aklan
province (see following story). This model holds much
promise for urban communities, where a community
based organisation could tie up with a local educational
institution to run a radio station, which could ensure the
economic survival of the radio stations.

Community Radio Makes Its Voice Heard

BANGA, Philippines, July 10, 2001 - Robert
Rala sells pork at the market early in the morning
in this town in the Philippine central province of
Aklan, then proceeds to his other job as business
correspondent for a radio station.

In this quiet little provincial town surrounded by

rice-growing communities, the local university is
providing a community-based radio model that is
combining community participation with agricultural
extension work.

When I come in to the market at six, I go around

talking to the vendors to nd out the prices of their
products. I note them down and then go over to
the radio station and give out these prices on air,
says Rala, who is president of the market vendors
association and broadcasts a 15-minute programme
at 7:15 a.m. daily

DYMT-FM is part of a network of 25 communitybased radio stations set up previously under

a project called Tambuli (horn). The projects
proponent Louie Tabing, a former programme
executive of the Catholic Church-run Radio Veritas,
had designed it to promote community radio in a
country where the majority of 80 million people
have access to the medium.

Sometimes I get their (vendors) comments on the

prices, especially for vegetables and fruits which
change by the day, he explains.
For his part, senior police ofcer Crispin Requiola
is the stations crime reporter. Requiola, who has a
daily, 15-minute slot on the radio station DYAT-FM,
says: I always report the daily activities of the police,
based on our 24-hour activity reports. He says he
reports crimes committed in the neighbourhood and
what the police have done about them.
Rala and Requiola are two volunteers for Radio
DYMT-FM, which broadcasts from the premises of
the Aklan State College of Agriculture (ASCA) and
whose existence shows how the Philippines has
been an exception to the slow takeoff of community
radio in Asia.

Tabing says DYMT-FM is a model of a communitybased radio station that would help sustain the
impact of the Tambuli revolution for years to come,
now that the initial funding from the United Nations
Educational, Scientic and Cultural Organisation
(UNESCO) and the Danish government has
The station was set up in 1993 as part of the
Aklan colleges agricultural extension work. But
to become a part of the Tambuli network, it had
to include a community participatory model of
While the university put up the administration
costs of the station, as a Tambuli station it had
to be managed by a Community Media Council

(CMC) that ensures local participation through

representation from a variety of sectors of the local
community to which it is broadcasting.
Thus, the media council of DYMT-FM includes, in
addition to the universitys nominees, representatives
from the local church, local government, market
vendors, police, health authorities, taxi drivers,
farmers, senior citizens, rural women, youth and
the business community.
In 1992 we drew up a plan so that we could
disseminate the information we generated from
agricultural research here, explains Professor Ping
Bullo, station manager of DYMT-FM.
But this agriculture technology cannot be
disseminated to all the Aklan (island) people
because it is impossible to go there one by one.
Every family in the Philippines has a radio, so we
wanted the radio station to do it, says Bullo.
Bullo admits that the university-radio proponents
originally did not have community participation on
their mind, but they did not see a conict between
the broadcasting philosophy of Tambuli and the
needs of his university.
Tambulis concept is that the community should
participate in the ownership and management
of the radio station. Theres nothing wrong with


One of the functions of the college is rural

development and we believe that for rural
development to be effective, we have to solicit
the participation of the people in the realisation
of these extension programmes. So it matched
with our thrust, he adds.
The marriage of the universitys need to use radio
for educational extension work and the importance
of getting the community to participate holds great
scope for future expansion of community radio in
the Philippines and in Asia in general.
How these two needs coexist here is interesting.
The university funds the radio station by the fact
that they have two staff members who double up
as broadcasting executives and academics. Only
one, the technical ofcer, is assigned full-time to
the radio station. A number of students are also
volunteer broadcasters, lling up airtime on the
Bullo teaches rural development in addition to
his duties as station manager. Salvacion Villasis
is an agricultural extension trainer with the
university and programming co-ordinator at the
radio station.


I have to go to the barangay (villages) to train

the farmers, as well as talk to students here to
encourage them to become volunteers. When they
are interested, three of us train them, explains
Villasis. This station is basically run without a
budget, she adds.

When volunteers come forward, the station offers

them free air time to do whatever programme
interests them. They are given three weeks
training in basic radio production by the DYAT-FM
staff before they go on air.

Looking back, I think we have proven to the

Filipino nation that there is something else,
another type of media system that can be put
up, where programming is done with substance
of pluralism than elitism.

The local Catholic church also gets air time on the

station. Apart from the night-time slots, mass is
broadcast live on Sunday mornings via a landline
between the church and the radio studio.

Source: Inter Press Service

The church use the radio facility to proclaim the

good news of God, says the local parish priest,
Monsignor Raul Gonzales. The radio helps to
give spiritual enrichment, especially to people in
the barangay (villages) who cannot make it to
Bullo adds that there is much more the station
can do for the community here. They are about
to upgrade the power of the transmitter from 20
to 300 watts. But the lack of funds is a handicap
to gathering news, as there is no budget to pay
allowances to the volunteers.
To overcome this, the station has launched a
campaign to raise 1 million pesos (20,000 U.S.
dollars) in the next two years. These funds are to
be deposited in a bank and interest earned from
them to fund the volunteer programme.
Tabing calls the DYAT-FM station a success story
because it is trying to make an initiative under
the Tambuli project sustainable. He muses:

Kotmale Internet Community Radio - Sri Lanka:

Kothmale FM is a good example of communitybased-development via the airwaves and internet.
Kotmale Community Radio (KCR) began transmission
in February, 1989. At that time the Mahaweli (River)
Authority relocated more than 2,900 families for
Sri Lankas second largest damming project. The
objective of setting up the radio station was to provide
information to people who had been relocated, losing
crops and farm land. The purpose of KCR was to
provide the re-located people information about selfemployment and health.
By February 1991 the station was on-the-air only three
days per week with three hours of transmission per day.
In 1999 the station extended its broadcast hours to 8
hours. The morning broadcast was also commercialised
so that the station could collect approximately 75 per
cent of its operational costs from commercial revenue.
In 1998 UNESCO provided US$50,000 to start the
implementation of Internet Radio thus the Kothmale
Community Radio Internet Project (KCRIP) was born.
This has established KCR as a resource centre,
where local people come to obtain further information
after listening to radio programmes which broadcast
information extracted from the internet. Many local
school children use both the radio and stations
internet facility as a resource for their school projects.
The aim is to spread knowledge, increase awareness
and entertainment through radio and internet and
motivate the KCR community to participate and express
themselves freely and receive uncensored information
from all parts of the world, for the betterment of their
own lives and their community. Thus, there is a strong
bond between KCR and the community.

Radio Sagarmatha - Nepal: Established in May 1997,

Radio Sagarmatha is the rst independent community
broadcasting station in South Asia. After the successful
launch of this rst private FM station in Nepal, more
and more private stations have been established
with a commercial purpose. But Radio Sagarmatha
has always remained as the pioneer public interest
radio station in Nepal. Spearheaded by the Nepal
Forum of Environment Journalists, Radio Sagarmatha
concentrates more on news, views and brainstorming
sessions, with entertainment equally important.
As an organisation working closely with the public
and community, Radio Sagarmatha increases peoples
participation in important day-to-day issues that affect
their lives. It also serves as a forum to examine the
merits and demerits of ongoing development efforts
and approaches. Though based in Kathmandu, Radio
Sagarmatha works as the bridge between people
throughout the country and the decision-makers at
the center.
Namma Dhwani Cable Radio - India: Namma Dhwani
in Kannada (the state language of Karnataka state)
means Our Voices. Based in Boodikote, a village
about 100 kms from Bangalore it is a partnership
between the community of Boodikote, and VOICES
and MYRADA two grassroots NGO, with support from
UNESCO. VOICES is an NGO that looks at using media
for social change and has been actively lobbying for
community radio in India. MYRADA has been working
in the Kamasamudram area for over 10 years towards
integrated rural development. So, this partnership
is unique because of the skill sets that each of the
organisations bring.

Radio Sagarmatha Kathmandus Voice of the

Radio Sagarmatha aims to become the
voice of the Kathmandus people by:
Setting standards for public interest
broadcasting in the country through
programming to address the
information needs of all sections of
the audience.
Producing a cadre of journalists
sensitised in community and public
interest broadcasting and providing
them with a forum to sharpen their
* Establishing Radio Sagarmatha
as Nepals leading organisation in
development media by working to
build an institution through in-house
capacity for training, programming
and management.
* Contributing to development efforts
by assisting community radio stations
in various parts of the country.
* Facilitating democratisation and
pluralism by increasing peoples
access to information and
continuously advocating a free and
more responsible press.
Source: Radio Sagarmatha website
Link: http://www.radiosagarmatha.org


March 28th, 2003 was a red letter day for the community
of Boodikote village in Kolar . On that day , Namma
Dhwani operationalised the first phase of its cable
audio initiative and cablecast its rst programme . The
process was collaborated with the local cable operator
and enabled 200 of the 650 households in the village
to listen to the programme on their TV sets. By August,
the remaining 450 households were also to be cabled.
Since these households do not own television sets, they
will receive the cable channel on modied radio sets at
subsidised rates.
The Namma Dhwani cable audio station, managed by
members of the local community, is perhaps the only
one of its kind in the world. Reaching out to the entire
village community, the project aims at including the
excluded. Parallel to the cable radio project is the school
audio project. Twice a week, educational programmes,
often made by the students themselves are cablecast
to the senior classes at Boodikotes only school. The
subjects covered include current affairs, local news, music,
drama, general knowledge,
in addition to material
pertinent to the school
curriculum. Complementing
the school audio programme
is computer training at the
audio production centre.
Basic skills in MS-Office
are provided by community
workers to high school


Link (for more information): http://

radio/commradio _home.htm

Community Radio Gives

Indias Villagers a Voice
But Ofcials Worry Local Stations
May Foment Unrest
By Rama Lakshmi

BOODIKOTE, India, September 17, 2003 Crushed under the weight of three years of drought,
the villagers lost their patience when the public
water pipes dried up last June. For eight days, there
was no water for cooking, cleaning or washing.
There were murmurs of protest everywhere.
Women came out of their homes with empty
pots demanding that the old pipes be xed and
new wells dug. Men stood at street corners and
debated angrily. The village chief made promises,
but nothing happened.
Then, a young man ran over to the village radio
station and picked up a recorder.
Women complained and shouted into the mike
and vented their anger at the village chiefs
indifference. There was chaos everywhere. But I
recorded everything, said Nagaraj Govindappa, 22,
a jobless villager. He played the tape that evening
on the small community radio station called
Namma Dhwani, or Our Voices. The embarrassed
village chief ordered the pipes repaired. Within
days, water was gushing again.
Indias rst independent community radio initiative
is in this millet- and tomato-growing village in the
southern state of Karnataka. It is a cable radio
service because India forbids communities to
use the airwaves. A media advocacy group, with
the help of UN funds, laid cables, sold subsidised

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

radios with cable jacks to villagers and trained

young people to run the station.
The power of community radio as a tool for social
change is enormous in a country that is poor,
illiterate and has a daunting diversity of languages
and cultures, said Ashish Sen, director of Voices.
Emboldened by a Supreme Court ruling in 1995
declaring airwaves to be public property, citizens
groups and activists began pushing for legislation
that would free the airwaves from government
control. Two years ago, India auctioned its FM
stations to private businesses to air entertainment
programs. And late last year, India allowed some elite
colleges to set up and run campus radio stations.
By keeping the airwaves restricted, activists
complain, the Indian government lags behind such
South Asian neighbours as Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Nepal launched South Asias first community
radio station in 1995 and today has at least ve
independent stations across the country that
address peoples complaints and act as hubs of
information in times of strife. In Sri Lanka, Kothmale
Radio has been an integral part of the Kothmale
community for 14 years.
Last December, Sri Lanka issued a broadcasting
licence to the formerly clandestine radio station
run by the Tamil Tiger rebels, Voice of Tigers. The
decision was made to strengthen the peace process
underway and to bring the radio transmissions under
Sri Lankan law.
Radiophony, an Indian lobby group for community
radio, claims that villagers can set up a lowpowered, do-it-yourself radio station with a

half-watt transmitter, a microphone, antenna and

a cassette player for approximately $25. The
group says such a station can reach about a third
of a mile and cover a small village.
Last year, the group supplied a low-wattage
transmitter to a World Bank-supported womens
group in Oravakal, a village in the southern state
of Andhra Pradesh. Mana Radio, or Our Radio,
ran for five months before officials from the
communications ministry seized the equipment and
shut down the broadcast in February.

poor people because it addresses their most

basic development needs.
Since it began broadcasting in March, Our Voices
community radio has crackled with the sounds
of schoolchildren singing songs and giggling to
jokes; of young girls talking fearlessly about the
evils of dowry and admonishing boys for teasing
them at school; of women giving out recipes and
teaching others how to open a bank account; and
of farmers debating the vagaries of the weather
and uctuating crop prices.

We have to tread very cautiously when it comes to

community radio, said Pavan Chopra, secretary of
Indias ministry of information and broadcasting. As
of today we dont think that villagers are equipped
to run radio stations. People are unprepared, and it
could become a platform to air provocative, political
content that doesnt serve any purpose except to
divide people. It is fraught with danger.

This radio station is ours because it speaks about

us in our language and in our accent. When I
turn it on, I hear the voices of people I know, said
Triveni Narayanswamy, 28, as she twirled the dial
of her tiny transistor radio.

The ministry runs the All India Radio service that

covers the country and has more than 200 stations.
Chopra said communities can buy time from the
radio service and run their programs under state
supervision. Since 1999, two groups of villagers,
one in the western state of Gujarat and the other
in the northern state of Jharkhand, have used time
slots on All India Radio to run programs in their
local dialects. But activists say that the central
principle of community radio is to own and run a
radio station freely.

But when I went to claim insurance money for my

cow, the agent tried to cheat me. He said he owed
me no money, she said. I went up and down his
ofce at least a dozen times in vain. Then I spoke
about my problem on Namma Dhwani radio. The
next day, the agent gave me the insurance amount.
She said it was about $240.

Community radio in India is not about playing

alternative rock music, said S eema Nair,
who helps the villagers run the station at
Boodikote. It is a new source of strength for

Narayanswamy sold milk until her only cow died

three months ago.

Our radio is more powerful than the corrupt and

inefcient village council, she said proudly. They
hold secret meetings and dont spend the money on
our welfare. I want the proceedings of such meetings
to be recorded. We all have a right to know what
happens to the money that comes in.
Source: Washington Post


What Lessons Could Urban Communities

Learm From The Community Radio
Many of the community radio projects established
across Asia have been in rural areas. But, there
are many lessons to be learned and models which
could be adopted in the densely populated urban
communities in Asia.
Radio Sagarmatha in Nepal has already established
a model community radio project in an urban
environment and many of the new community radio
stations coming on board in Indonesia, Thailand and
India are expected to be located in urban areas. In
the mega cities of Asia there should be enough room
for a community radio station to coexist with the
commercial FM stations and the national broadcaster,
in every suburb of the city - only if the government
authorities allow it.


community education and communication structure.

In the densely populated communities with high rise
buildings, most of which are now wired for cable
television, the cable radio model would be a very
cost effective way of setting up a community radio
station. Other models of community based radio
broadcasting into the community without having
to purchase an expensive transmitter or obtain a
broadcasting licence, may be to use a network of
loudspeakers to broadcast radio, as is done in some
parts of Vietnam. In India, there was a model where
an NGO broadcast a community based radio service
by loudspeakers at the local market when it is opened
for two hours a day.
Supermarket chains in developed countries have
introduced this model of broadcasting their own radio
within the confines of their supermarket, often fed by
satellite or cable. So why not community based radio
do the same at the local markets?

Low powered community radio stations in every

municipality area, perhaps operated in collaboration
with the local councils adopting the Tambuli model of
the Community Media Councils (CMC) to administer
the station, would go a long way in promoting
good governance. The PROOF Puttanna project in
Bangalore gives an indication of the usefulness of
such projects in promoting good governance.

As part of any community radio structure, it is

important that proper training be given to members
of the community, particularly the poor, so that they
are able to produce their own programmes. Well
structured training programmes should be conducted
in the community, where production collectives may
be formed consisting of four to ten people. They
could be assigned regular time slots to broadcast
their programmes.

The Kothmale Community Radio model also has

much promise in setting up integrated community
communications policies with an educational focus.
The radio station in the suburb could be incorporated
with an internet cafe, where the radio station and the
internet facility could be part of formal and informal

In addition to help sustain community based radio

stations, this system of programming collectives could
be implemented to produce regular programmes for
broadcast on mainstream radio using the window

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises

New Technology and New Media

The rapid pace of development in communication
technologies is opening up great opportunities for new
and innovative media models. What is needed today, with
the scope of digital technology is inspired imaginations
and initiatives to establish community based media
and communication structures. The technology is also
cheaper so that it is now possible for individuals to set
up audio-visual content production facilities, which until
recently only large business houses and governments
were able to establish.
An innovative project in Fiji, femLINKpacific (Media
Initiatives for Women) is one such example where a
40-minute community video accompanied by a 12-page
viewing and discussion guide/community magazine has
been produced to promote religious harmony in the
community. A distribution process involving womens
community centres is being developed, which aims to
provide womens groups with community based information
and an advocacy tool (see story on page 174).
This could be a useful model for a good governance
media initiative at community level, where a regular,
say weekly, video magazine could be produced (by
a community based media collective) along with an
information booklet which could be screened at a
community centre (using a VCR and projector both
of which cost below US$ 1000) each week at a given
time, followed by a discussion. Perhaps people from the
local council and other relevant ofcials and community
leaders may be invited for a live studio-style panel
discussion with questions from the audience. It could
be developed as an entertainment-cum-information

The internet has been hailed by some as the best tool

to break media barriers, while others have criticised it for
creating the digital divide - a society of information rich
who can afford access to the internet and a corresponding
society of information poor who cannot access the
internet. While the latter is very much a fact of life where
poor communities are concerned, yet, the internet could
provide a cheap distribution channel for both print and
broadcast content. Rather than concentrating within a
small community, it could be a useful tool to distribute and
exchange information between community groups with
similar concerns across the country and internationally.
This type of distribution networking will be useful to
community radio groups to access overseas material to
supplement their local community concerns. London-based
NGO news and information portal One World Radio is one
such model (Link: http://radio.oneworld.net).
The mini-DV digital video camera and the Macintosh
I-Book laptop computer alone can run a daily television
news programme on a shoestring budget. These cost less
than US$ 5000 and with mini-DV tapes as cheap as US$
3 per one hour, community based television production is
not a very expensive business today - that is if you can
establish a window in an existing television channel to
broadcast material.
Today, in East Timors second largest city Baucau, the
local television channel runs its daily current affairs
programming on this concept (see story on page 175-176).
It is a fascinating story about how television could be used
to promote good governance inexpensively.
Since the equipment costs are very low, it is possible to
set up community based video and television collectives
in urban centres which could produce content from the


peoples perspective to air on local television or screen

on a regular basis at community information evenings
(discussed earlier). Needless to say, the audio-visual
medium will be a powerful tool to overcome illiteracy in
many urban poor communities and get the poor involved

in the community communication strategy to promote

good governance at local level. The biggest challenge
is to convince the relevant funding bodies to develop
some faith in such technologies and communication

Fijis New Community Media Initiative

femLINKpacic (Media Initiatives for Women), a
womens community media NGO based in Suva, Fiji,
has announced the release of its latest community
media initiative, femTALK: Sharing the Light. The
initiative includes a 40-minute community video
accompanied by a 12-page viewing and discussion
guide/community magazine. It was produced with
assistance of the World Association of Christian
Communicators and UNESCO.
The community video features womens accounts of
Diwali (celebration of a signicant event that highlights
Fijis collective values and beliefs) and Peace. This is
a very women and peace centered production, says
femLINKpacific Co-ordinator/Producer-Director,
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls. We have created space for
older and younger women to contribute their viewpoint
not only on the celebration of Diwali, but also their
recognition of the need to address common values
shared by women from both Christian and Hindu


Light is an important symbol for many religions in Fiji

and which is why the production was entitled Sharing
the Light. The community media initiative addresses

the collective challenge of bringing about long-term

peace through dialogue between the different ethnic
and religious communities in order to cultivate greater
respect and understanding of each others values.
The viewing and discussion guide produced
as a community magazine, features additional
stories from members of Interfaith Search Fiji and
womens movements. With this community media
initiative, femLINKpacic is distributing 75 video and
magazine kits to womens groups, community based
organisations, relevant government and development
partners and several schools.
This distribution process aims to provide womens
groups with community based information and an
advocacy tool. According to Sharon Bhagwan Rolls,
there are limitations within current mainstream media
content to effectively enable women to share their
experiences and viewpoints. femLINKpacic believes
that distributing the videos and magazines to the
womens groups will enable them to learn more about
the issues raised, as well as about each other.
Source: femLINKpacic/ www.unesco.org, March 2004

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises


ormer CNN reporter Carolyn Robinson describes

her new, home-grown approach to television
journalism in East Timor.
DILI, 20 March 2004 - Whenever I get discouraged
with the slow pace of media development in East
Timor, I take a moment to reect on the remarkable
determination of the journalists with whom I work.
Joanico do Amaral, Dominggos de Carvalho Pinto,
Maxi Fraga and Vito Tael Ilari have been collaborating
for the past year, focussed intently on their goal of
creating a local television operation in their hometown
of Baucau, the countrys second biggest city.
They may be far less skilled than their counterparts from
richer countries, but in many ways they are far more
dedicated. They overcome limitations on a daily basis
that would confound more sophisticated journalists: no
income, no reliable phone access, no easily available
transportation or dependable power supply. When I
rst started working with them, they had no television
production experience or equipment either. The quartet
shared only a goal of producing local television news
broadcasts. Since then, their accomplishments of
producing three half-hour television news and current
affairs programs constitute a small miracle.
Fortunately, their aims were also mine. As a Knight
Fellow in East Timor, I wanted to train journalists to make
television news in the districts outside the capital, Dili.
The programs would supplement the one hour a day of
local news and programming from the only television
station in the country, TVTL. That station, however,

broadcast only in Dili and surrounding areas. Most of

East Timor was without any local TV news programs.
But how was I going to accomplish this with a team
lacking cameras, editing equipment, a studio and
television production skills? If there had been a more
promising choice on the horizon, I would have taken
it. No other group in the country, though, could claim
to have even these basic credentials.
This lack of resources reects the great dilemma
facing the East Timorese. Independence may
have freed them from the brutality of Indonesian
occupation, but it left them with little ability to run
their own affairs. Few Timorese ever held responsible
positions in government, business or society, leaving
almost no one qualied to run the new nation.
Given the desperate conditions, I decided to risk it with
the team available. I would teach them television news
program production with my own equipment - a Sony
handcam and a Macintosh G4 Powerbook with Final
Cut Pro video editing software. With a few inexpensive
accessories and extra RAM, this is a complete television
production house, something that ts into a large
handbag and costs less than $5000. To the surprise of
many, sophisticated television production equipment is
becoming almost as affordable as radio.
My objective bucked the trend set by international
funders operating in East Timor. The donor
organisations that have been propping up the
country in its early years expressed scepticism about


the future of domestic television broadcasting. They

considered it too expensive to develop in a place
where few people owned television sets. But after
two years of working to develop the media in East
Timor, rst as country director for Internews and
then as the news director and acting head of the
local television station set up by the United Nations,
I felt strongly that neither of these concerns was
My Knight Fellowship, therefore, was dedicated to
proving that television production could be affordable
and viable in East Timor. The many challenges I faced
made the effort an undoubtedly huge gamble. Would
my equipment be up to the task and survive rough
handling by inexperienced reporters and producers?
Would the unpaid news team stick with the plan long
enough to create its own news broadcasts? Would
the team members be able to produce something
after a few months of training that viewers and donors
would appreciate?
I started travelling once a week to Baucau with
my local assistant, Levy Branco, to teach shooting
techniques for television news stories. Soon we
had half a dozen reports on tape. Several weeks
were then dedicated to scripting stories into a
format appropriate for television. And, following
this, Branco, an experienced television producer
from the Dili television station, using my Macintosh
laptop, taught the dedicated quartet the essentials
of editing.


Once the short reports were completed, we created

a television news studio in my house with a few

halogen lights, a desk and a traditional weaving

as a backdrop. The anchor received instruction in
broadcast news presentation. After a little coaching,
we taped his introductions and cut these together
with the matching reports to make a complete
newscast. Branco, by this time almost nine months
pregnant, also provided instruction on making an
opening graphic for the show.
And, voila! The rst East Timorese local television
news program produced outside the capital was
nished. Branco gave birth to her second child the
next day.
The local news program was a great success,
but more was required. The team needed another
project, one that would complement the newscast
and impress the donor community while being easy
to produce. I suggested a current affairs program in
which questions about pressing local issues could
be posed by Baucau ofcials and residents to the
appropriate cabinet ministers.
The show, named Husu ba Governu (Ask the
Government), became an instant hit with local
citizens. It also helped ll a gap in East Timors
fledgling democracy. The country offers few
means for the average citizen to communicate his
concerns to the government and few opportunities
for ministers to respond directly to individual
questions. Husu ba Governu now serves as an
outlet for sorely needed interaction between civil
society and its leaders.
Source: KNIGHTLine International/Pacic Media Watch, March 2004

Chapter 8 - Working With The Media: Constraints and Promises


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