Rethinking City Revenue and Finance
It is critical for cities to have sustainable and diversified sources of financing to meet future infrastructure demands.

Rethinking City Revenue and Finance

Published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PwC in August 2022


The worldwide gap in infrastructure investment has been well documented for many years. In 2018, the Global Infrastructure Hub estimated a $15 trillion global investment gap in the years to 2040 that will have to be filled and surpassed if we are to make infrastructure net zero and resilient to climate impacts.

Cities face major barriers such as a lack of institutional capacity and expertise, limited engagement with the private sector, lack of access to international finance, exchange-rate risks caused by an unstable forex regime and insufficient funding for emergency situations.

This report is informed by a survey of 10 city administrations that highlighted the challenges and shifts in priorities due to the pandemic. As part of this survey, we also gained their perspectives on potential revenue streams, planned initiatives and the policy interventions required to ensure a speedy and just recovery. It became apparent that two factors – cities’ political autonomy and their financial self-sufficiency – determine how well they meet current challenges. Looking at these factors enabled us to deduce four typologies for urban financing that cities typically epitomize: self-reliant, aspiring, striving and dependent.

City infrastructure projects play a crucial role in shaping transformative impacts, such as boosting resilience, addressing climate change, improving inclusivity and enabling digital urban infrastructure. Regardless of which typology they may fall under, cities need to re-evaluate traditional mechanisms and start to draw on new and innovative approaches to revenue and financing. 

The capacity of cities to develop their financial sustainability and resilience depends on their ability to access a diverse range of revenue sources to pay for urban infrastructure as well as their service delivery investments for implementation, operations and maintenance. The surest path to achieving this is to combine own-source revenues at the local and national level with private-sector investment, and to a lesser extent philanthropy and international finance. 

Cities will need to incentivize private investment through new partnerships and creative financing solutions that are relatively untested in developing countries or limited to certain sectors. Such solutions include market-based instruments (e.g. tax-increment financing), policy-based tools (e.g. exactions and impact fees) and blended finance. Green infrastructure bonds are relatively new but gaining traction as a cost-effective way of improving the built environment.

A city’s regulatory and planning actions can either help or hinder its ability to mobilize investment for public-private collaborations.

Finally, a city’s ability to tap financial markets is a combination of a country’s level of decentralization, whether it has the legal right to borrow, and if it can generate sustainable revenues and promote bankable projects. While national policies determine a country’s degree of fiscal decentralization, creditworthy cities tend to exist in jurisdictions with clear rules governing tax sharing and transfer payment arrangements between national governments and local authorities. This legal framework is further enhanced by clear policy guidelines, statutory limits and transparent approval mechanisms for local government borrowing.

This report proposes the following five guiding principles and four cross-cutting strategic enablers to support cities across typologies in sound financial management practices:

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF of the report.

Using Digital Technology for a Green and Just Recovery in Cities
This report provides guidance for city leaders to successfully manage digital projects, to strategically utilize data in cities, and to incentivize and initiate the organizational and cultural changes required to build digitally-enabled city administrations.

Using Digital Technology for a Green and Just Recovery in Cities

Published by World Economic Forum in August 2022


Digitally empowered cities are more efficient, inclusive and sustainable. This report recommends 10 steps to get there.

Cities must digitalize systematically Digital technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity to make cities greener and more liveable by resetting existing patterns of production and consumption. City administrations quickly and powerfully adapted digital technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing their potential. Reform-minded city leaders must now take the next step – to deploy digital technologies in an efficient and ethical way.

Yet, many city halls are still taking an outdated approach to service delivery by only upgrading offerings one at a time, and usually only in certain domains. That means most municipal administrations are not yet agile digital organizations; they are organizations just beginning to offer more digital services. To become more digitally agile, city leaders must systematically steer the use of digital technologies.

Digitalization projects must be planned, designed and implemented with an outcome focus

Deploying digital infrastructure is an iterative process. Cities need to start with a pilot approach that engages the right stakeholders, and enables a feedback mechanism at every phase of the design and development cycle. If a pilot fails, it must fail fast and disperse its lessons. If it succeeds, subsequent pilots must iterate, monitor, improve and scale.

Prioritization and planning of projects should be participatory, and based on urgency and impact. When designing digital solutions, the core requirements include privacy, cybersecurity and future-proofing. Design should equally be driven by equity, i.e. ensuring the opportunities generated by the intervention extend to all demographic groups – from digital natives and knowledge workers, to vulnerable communities at risk of digital exclusion. Solutions should be co-created in close collaboration with citizens, actors from the private sector and public institutions.

Finally, successful deployment and scaling of a solution requires a well thought-out change management approach (through communication and trainings, for instance). This approach should consider the diverse requirements of all sectors of society, include both a digital and non-digital solution during the transition phase, and monitor outcomes to ensure the desired benefits are realized.

Data should inform strategy

The use of data has a strategic role all through the digital journey of a city. For example, real-time data collection, advanced analytics and visualizations in the form of management dashboards or digital twins can guide leaders in making more informed and timely decisions. Historical data collected about citizens, accompanied with privacy safeguards, can enable a shift towards proactive service delivery, which increases service quality and helps reduce costs. For example, preventative healthcare improves efficiencies because fewer people are hospitalized and cost-intensive care is avoided.

When implementing complex data-driven models, the approach should be collaborative, open and streamlined so that data from various sources can be integrated while avoiding redundancies. For solving concrete problems, rapidly applying a trialand-error approach to data experimentation often yields faster results than spending too much upfront time and effort on integrating various datasets. To establish a culture for evidence-based decisionmaking, managers should require staff to back up opinions with data whenever possible. More crucial than flashy visualizations is applying relevant data to help address real problems and create accurate semantic models.

Cities must build digital leadership and organization-wide expertise

To maximize the benefits of digital technologies, a city needs a capable organization, with the skills to develop and implement the right digital solutions at all levels. This needs committed leadership that can maintain the momentum, starting with building designated digital leadership at the top of the organization with a digital strategy that is both aligned with the city’s strategy and that fits its specific context and challenges. Until recently, most cities considered the IT department to consist of “the people who make computers work”. Today, most digitally advanced cities have Chief Digital or Technology Officers at the top of the organization, who are responsible for the city’s IT department as well as the wider impacts of technology on city functioning.

What is also essential is that digital expertise is built across all departments, so that they can fully understand, actualize and implement digital opportunities and solutions. Cities must build a pipeline of talent with knowledge of data, software, IT architecture, agile work methods and so on.

Finally, cities must prioritize stakeholder engagement from citizens, the private sector, and other public institutions while designing and implementing digital projects in order to build strong, sustainable and inclusive cities.

10 steps towards building digitallyenabled cities

This report builds on a 13-city survey about the most important digital technologies and solutions that cities around the world are using. The survey was conducted specifically for this report and its results form the foundation of a digital maturity model and a 10-step action plan that this report recommends.

These tools are intended to help city administrations identify where they stand in terms of digital capabilities, and to derive promising measures for their cities to develop the structures and capabilities required to utilize digital technologies for a green and just recovery.

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF of the report.

Delivering Climate-Resilient Cities Using a Systems Approach
Adopting a systems approach to urban infrastructure delivery will help cities create more liveable spaces and curb climate change.

Delivering Climate-Resilient Cities Using a Systems Approach

Published by the World Economic Forum in August 2022


More than a thousand cities and local governments joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and 33 cities also committed to the Race to Resilience. The window to curb climate change is narrowing, and more aggressive actions are needed to fundamentally change urban systems. A systems approach exploits the links connecting multiple infrastructures, enhances integrated governance and finance, and deepens engagement among diverse stakeholders, thereby maximizing the cobenefits of climate actions.

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic poses a unique opportunity to accelerate the adoption of a systems approach to confronting the climate crisis. Despite broad interest, such an approach has not been comprehensively defined, especially in terms of the practicalities of planning and implementing net-zero carbon and climate-resilient urban infrastructure. Drawing on experiences from a wide range of stakeholders, this report outlines a roadmap for cities to take a systems approach to urban infrastructure in service of a green and just recovery.

The main message of each section of the report is summarized below:

What is a systems approach to urban infrastructure delivery? A systems approach treats the multiple infrastructure sectors that determine the structure and function of cities as components of a larger working system. To address climate change, it builds upon effective sectoral actions, but takes advantage of interconnections and interdependencies among multiple infrastructure sectors. It asserts that treating sectors as parts of a whole system leads to better outcomes than optimizing each sector individually.

Why do we emphasize a systems approach to urban infrastructure delivery? A systems approach is ideally suited to city-scale actions because cities are both the primary locus of demand and the level at which most infrastructure and services are provided. Such an approach simultaneously addresses multiple goals – in this case seeking to reduce climate change-related risks while maximizing co-benefits for public health and economic growth, among others. As such, a systems approach is well suited to creating liveable cities that improve residents’ well-being.

How can cities implement a systems approach? They can do so by promoting integrative governance structures, encouraging multi-objective planning, supporting legitimate participatory processes involving all relevant stakeholders, and adopting net-zero carbon and climate-resilience targets. Implementing a systems approach would also require comprehensive multilevel governance and deep collaboration among a diversity of social actors, as well as sufficient financial resources from both the public and private sectors.

What are the most serious challenges for cities taking a systems approach? The challenges of taking a systems approach include: 1) natural resource constraints and legacy infrastructure; 2) lack of technical and political capacity; 3) lack of multi-objective urban planning; 4) limited local regulatory power; 5) weakness of city government in regards to the multilevel governance system; 6) weak collaboration among multiple social actors; 7) limited access to finance and resources; and 8) lack of policy-relevant data and knowledge.


Cities alone will not be able to achieve a systems approach to net-zero carbon, climate-resilient urban infrastructure delivery. Rather, each city must engage with relevant stakeholders from government, business, academia and civil society that interact with the urban value chain. It must also use its hard and soft powers to accelerate action – for instance, by creating working groups to accelerate a green recovery or by declaring a climate emergency. This report provides a five-step action plan to guide cities in adopting a systems approach to urban infrastructure delivery. Recommendations are also provided to help cities transition from the current sectoral approach to a systems approach.

Access the full report here:

or download the attached PDF version of the report.

A glimmer of hope for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

UNDP will expand its work in Afghanistan to Jalalabad, building on a joint initiative with UNHCR to provide for humanitarian needs, ensuring basic services and keeping the economy functioning inside the country. The UNDP partnership with UNHCR combines humanitarian with development programming, including from the onset of crises, such as when an earthquake struck in June, killing 1,150 people.

A glimmer of hope for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

Originally published on 18 August 2022 by UNDP


A worker in Bassgull and Ali Reza's garment factory, which employs 120 people in Herat, Afghanistan

Photo by UNDP Afghanistan/Haroon Hamdard: A worker in a garment factory, which employs 120 people in Herat, Afghanistan.

Torkham is a major border point between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In previous years, the crossing saw Afghan refugees on their return journey home. Now the traffic is in the other direction, with people leaving behind an unfolding humanitarian crisis. In the Afghan city of Jalalabad, 65 kilometres away, the needs are apparent. Community elders in the rural Behsud district say that droughts have caused harvests to fail. Joblessness is the reality for most of their families. People lack money to cover their day-to-day expenses, such as food and medicine.

More than 24 million people in Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance. Forty years of war, recurrent environmental disasters, COVID-19 and political upheaval have left the country facing almost universal poverty. A staggering 95 percent of Afghans are not getting enough to eat, with that number rising to almost 100 percent in female-headed households. Acute malnutrition rates in 28 out of 34 provinces are high, with more than 3.5 million children in need of treatment.

Afghans must be supported to meet basic needs, to be delivered as part of a strategy that can build their resilience, harness strengths, and set new paths from merely surviving to thriving. Behsud’s elders say they need humanitarian aid, but infrastructure that can create livelihoods is their priority. They want canals for irrigation, seeds for drought-resistant crops, and training on farming techniques. With these measures in place, communities would be equipped to meet market demands in neighbouring Pakistan and adapt to climate change. Without this support, however, the elders are deeply concerned that those with the opportunity will leave Afghanistan.

Afghan elders

Photo by UNDP Afghanistan/Haroon Hamdard: Behsud’s elders say they need humanitarian aid, but infrastructure that can create livelihoods is their priority.

A vision of future prosperity from Herat

Herat is the largest city in western Afghanistan, home to some 400,000 people. Humanitarian need spans the entire province, but in the city the seeds of recovery are being sown. The ingenuity of entrepreneurs, especially women, is inspiring confidence for a self-reliant future.  

When Zahra returned from Iran in 2020, she started making high-quality traditional clothing for sale in Herat’s markets. She now employs 15 women producing specialist garments for use in healthcare, winter coats for China, and delicate embroidery for Kabul. “I want my business to grow so I can give more women the opportunity to work, gain skills, and support their families,” she said.

Bassgull and Ali Reza are an entrepreneurial power couple. A hundred and twenty women and men work side by side in their factory to produce winter wear for export, face masks to protect people from COVID-19, and socks and undergarments for sale within Afghanistan. “We need new machinery to reduce dependency on imported fabrics,” said Bassgull. With this equipment, they will be able to provide 20 more jobs.

Zahra, Bassgull, and Ali are among those driving recovery in Herat. They want to expand, but cannot entirely cover the costs from savings. UNDP and UNHCR are helping them bridge the gap. It’s part of the joint UNDP and UNHCR community resilience programme, aimed at creating jobs and market-driven, scalable businesses, and rehabilitating productive infrastructure.

Zahra, a female entrepreneur in Herat meets with UNDP's Francisco Santos-Jara Padron and George May from the Bangkok Regional Human Mobility Team. UNDP and UNHCR support her plans to expand her business.

Photo by UNDP Afghanistan/Haroon Hamdard: Zahra, (second from right) a Herat entrepreneur meets with UNDP's Francisco Santos-Jara Padron (left) and George May (second from left) from the Bangkok Regional Human Mobility Team. UNDP and UNHCR support her plans to expand her business.

Herat’s business people, NGOs, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Development Council imagine a future of prosperity for the city. They have plans for advanced food processing reaching out into rural areas, the manufacturing of clothing for international markets, graduate engineers equipped with skills in computer-aided design, tech-savvy young women and men providing services for a recovering national businesses, and Afghans flocking to the historic renovated city centre.

While the ingenuity of entrepreneurs inspires hope, the lack of critical infrastructure is a significant barrier. Through the ABADEI programme, UNDP is working to address those gaps by providing immediate livelihoods to community members. The UNDP-UNHCR joint community resilience programme also addresses the needs of basic community infrastructure. The solarization of a women’s business centre in Herat will provide a space for women to work, network and access markets and skills online.

The communities of Herat are working on pathways toward sustainable economic development. Together, UNDP and UNHCR are supporting their aspirations for self-reliance and prosperity. The joint programme is one example of how the UN family works with local partners and communities to put women’s economic empowerment at the heart of sustainable value chains.

Afghanistan remains a country in crisis, where even stability seems a long way off. Nevertheless, women and men are taking steps towards recovery and prosperity through entrepreneurship. Of course, challenges remain when working on women’s economic empowerment in the current political situation. The international community must step up to support those women pursuing economic empowerment for themselves and their peers with creativity and courage.

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A year after the earthquake in Haiti, local communities are building resilience

To support local economic recovery, UNDP created employment opportunities for people affected by the earthquake. The ‘Yes! She Paints’ initiative works with 60 women with an aim to reduce the deficit of female workers with trade skills in Haiti.

A year after the earthquake in Haiti, local communities are building resilience

Originally published by UNDP on 16 August 2022

Photo by UNDP Haiti: To support local economic recovery, UNDP created employment opportunities for people affected by the earthquake. The ‘Yes! She Paints’ initiative works with 60 women with an aim to reduce the deficit of female workers with trade skills in Haiti.

Article by the Resilience Unit team, UNDP Haiti

On Saturday, 14 August 2021, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the southern peninsula of Haiti at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time, resulting in over 2,000 deaths, thousands of injuries and significant damage from collapsed buildings and blocked roads. It was a disaster reminiscent of the impact of the January 2010 earthquake, which was followed by Tropical Depression Grace.

Haiti has capitalized on the lessons learned in 2010. In 2021, the Government was better prepared. The day of the earthquake, through the National Risk and Disaster Management System, the Government activated the National and Departmental Emergency Operations Centres. Within minutes of the quake, UNDP was working alongside the Haitian Government at the national and departmental levels—in Sud, Nippes and Grand’Anse—setting into motion the post-earthquake response plan.

Underestimated but essential: Logistics

Unfortunately, for at least two years, the Southern Region, or ‘Grand Sud’, has experienced periods of isolation from the rest of the country owing to insecurity and fuel crises—a dynamic that tends to make this part of the country even more vulnerable. During the delivery of goods or humanitarian aid, attacks have been carried out and vehicles have been looted in the region and along Route Nationale 2. This impacts the supply chain for companies and humanitarian actors, but most significantly, the local population suffers the detrimental effects. In addition, all intermunicipal roads are in a precarious state. These are two major challenges for post-earthquake recovery.

On 14 August 2021, we therefore asked ourselves: how do we meet the needs of the people affected by the disaster and by the violence of armed groups? They were particularly vulnerable, and we could not leave them behind.

Fortunately, a truce was negotiated with the armed groups and communities along the route to Grand Sud, allowing a temporary humanitarian corridor to be established. This agreement made it possible for UNDP to send staff to the affected areas by providing logistical support, including personnel, vehicles, fuel and security.

Supporting rescue operations and risk assessment

On the ground, local UNDP teams witnessed a spirit of community solidarity. Having learned from other disasters, people were able to respond more quickly and effectively. For example, we witnessed the generosity of a group of anonymous citizens who travelled by sailboat to a hard-to-reach area to bring residents fruit, and even trees.

Moved by this spirit of collaboration, we joined in rescue operations coordinated by our partners on the ground, including the Civil Protection Directorate of Haiti. The UNDP post-earthquake programme response began in the three affected departments, in concert with municipal institutions. We carried out activities related to coordination, economic recovery and risk assessment.

One of the main problems in the affected areas was the accumulation of debris in the streets. To address it, we worked with town halls to organize debris collection. In the commune of Maniche, we assisted teams of volunteers who even used recovered debris to pave a road. 

Building earthquake resilience through local action

Bearing in mind the need to keep communities informed and engaged, we organized informational and risk prevention sessions in local communities and schools. However, this course of action was severely hampered by widespread fuel shortages.

The team saw the need to contribute to local economic recovery by creating jobs for those most severely impacted by the earthquake. As a result, we started a ‘cash for work’ initiative that hired over 1,000 people on a temporary basis (at least 24 days) to clear debris and clean up towns. Financial support provided to 60 companies (20 per affected department) involved in agriculture and food production, handicrafts, sewing and other services aims to help local microenterprises to flourish.

Our commitment to the most vulnerable populations required us to focus on these locations over the long term. A critical component is empowering women, who often lose their jobs in the aftermath of earthquakes and are responsible for most household duties. In May 2022, we launched the initiative ‘Yes! She Paints’, working with 60 women with an aim to reduce the deficit of female workers with trade skills in Haiti. This included training in job readiness, painting buildings and ecological principles, for which there will be a follow-up to guarantee the continuity of these entrepreneurial activities. 

Local institutions have taken note of our engagement with local populations. Despite our limited resources, they expressed appreciation for our efforts after several months. The mayors noted, “You did not hesitate. You were there from the beginning.”

Disaster responses are always complex and require efforts to be sustained for years, particularly in a developing country like Haiti, with a weak economic structure and plagued by social issues such as insecurity. Nevertheless, resilience does not necessarily mean being unshakeable, but rather shortening the time a country needs to recover from an adverse event. In this sense, the efforts to coordinate and strengthen the mobilization of citizens observed this past year represent progress compared to previous crises. It’s an important step forward for Haiti and its people, one that they will surely build on in the years to come.

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Children are facing deadly drought in the Horn of Africa
Over 20 million people, including 10 million children, in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia will need water and food assistance through 2022.

Children are facing deadly drought in the Horn of Africa

Water crisis is devastating lives in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Originally published by UNICEF on 23 August 2022

A young boy collects what little water he can from a dried riverbed in Dolow, Somalia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0607653/Rich -  A young boy collects the water he can find in a dried riverbed in Dolow, Somalia.

Consecutive years of below-average rainfall in the Horn of Africa have created one of the worst climate-related emergencies of the past 40 years.

The protracted drought is forcing families to leave their homes in search of food and water, putting their health, safety and education at risk.

Over 20 million people, including 10 million children, in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia will need water and food assistance through 2022.

As severe malnutrition and the risk of water-borne disease collide, children could die in devastating numbers unless urgent support is provided.

UNICEF and partners are on the ground to support children with life-saving services and to help build families’ longer term resilience in an effort to stop drought from devastating lives for years to come.

Forced to abandon home

10-year-old Hibo carries water in a jerrycan to her temporary home in an IDP camp in Somalia

Photo: UNICEF/UN0644298/Fazel

10-year-old Hibo carries water in a jerrycan to her temporary home in a camp for internally displaced people in Somalia. “We left our home in Guriel and walked for 10 days to reach Kaharey camp," she says.

The scale of the displacement is immense – Somalia has 3.7 million internally displaced persons and Ethiopia has 4.2 million internally displaced persons and 800,000 refugees.

Women gather at an IDP camp in Higlo, Ethiopia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0635792/Pouget - Women gather at a camp in Higlo, Ethiopia.

Children at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) site in Ethiopia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0635773/Pouget Children displaced from their homes in Ethiopia.

Families with children and adolescents on the move or in emergency camps are at risk of violence or abuse. It also forces women and children to spend increased time collecting water, exposing them to unsafe movement far from home.

Ayesha Abdi, 18, in Waffi IDP camp, Mogadishu, Somalia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0663316/Sewunet

Ayesha Abdi, 18, holds her child, in Waffi camp, Mogadishu, Somalia.

“We arrived at this camp seven days ago, hoping things will be better. My family has lost all our cattle and camels. They all died because we had no water to give them. We have nothing. We need things for our basic needs, like meals and water.”

Daily life rationed

Hafsa Bedel, a mother of six, is struggling to save the lives of her young camels.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0639635/Ayene - Hafsa Bedel, a mother of six, is struggling to save the lives of her young camels in Ethiopia. Having already lost 25 livestock, she keeps them close to home for fear of them not finding food and water. “I can’t afford to feed them corn. We don’t even have enough for us,” she says.

A donkey carries a jerrycan with water Shimbry Village, Garissa County, Kenya.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0679018/Orina

Garissa County in Kenya is experiencing an unprecedented situation – a prolonged drought which comes on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0539447/Orina - People in Garissa County, Kenya, collecting water. Entire pastoral communities have been forced to leave their homes in search of water for their families and livestock.

A question of survival

Muna holds her baby Sukra in a UNICEF-supported Stabilisation Centre treating children with malnutrition in Somalia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0663263/Sewunet - Baby Sukra at a UNICEF-supported centre where children are treated for malnutrition in Somalia.

Poor access to safe water jeopardizes a child’s chance of survival. Water scarcity increases the risk of diarrhoea, a major killer of children under the age of 5, as well as diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.

A young child and her grandmother at the UNICEF-supported health post at Gode IDP camp in Ethiopia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0635794/Pouget A young child and her grandmother at the UNICEF-supported health post at Gode camp in Ethiopia.

A health worker measures the arm of a child to assess his nutrition status at Higlo IDP site in Ethiopia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0631314/Sewunet - A health worker measures the arm of a child to assess his nutrition status at Higlo camp in Ethiopia.

Without water, crops cannot grow and animals and livestock die. The resulting loss of nutritious food, coupled with poor access to safe water and sanitation, exposes children to a high risk of malnutrition.

Mersinale who just got discharged after fully recovering from malnutrition malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported stabilisation centre in Hargeisa Hospital, Somalia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0663254/Sewunet - Obsinale, one year old, is recovering from malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported centre in Hargeisa Hospital, Somalia. She came here with her twin sister Mersinale who just got discharged after fully recovering. The beds here are full and there is only floor space for newly admitted children.

At least 330,000 children in Somalia need life-saving treatment for severe wasting, the deadliest form of malnutrition – much more than the 190,000 who required treatment during the country’s 2011 famine. 

Education on hold

Drought is affecting school attendance in the affected areas. Overall, 15 million children in the Horn of Africa are now out of school and an additional estimated 3.3 million children are at risk of dropping out due to drought.

Abdurazak Mohammed, a sixth grader, takes his donkeys back home at dusk

Photo: UNICEF/UN0583950 - Abdurazak Mohammed, a sixth grader, takes his donkeys back home at dusk, in the Somali region of Ethiopia. “Many families sent their children with their cattle. The teachers also left. Then the school is closed. I feel sad to see my school closed. I want to be a teacher when I grow up.”

10-year-old Bukhari Aden accompanies his mother to collect water from a pond.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0639601/Ayene

Dama Mohammed collects water from a pond in Beda’as kebele, Ethiopia

Photo: UNICEF/UN0639610 - 10-year-old Bukhari Aden accompanies his mother Dama Mohammed who collects water from a pond in Ethiopia. After giving water to the camels and donkey, they take two jerrycans back for the cows at home. He has never been to school. “In our village the children are responsible to look after the animals. There is no water near the village. If water is available nearby, it would be easy for me to go to school.”

Responding to the crisis

UNICEF and partners are providing life-saving services to children and their families in dire need across the Horn of Africa. We are on the ground providing essential health, nutrition, education and child protection services.

To provide longer term solutions, we’re working to improve access to climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene services, drilling for reliable sources of groundwater and developing the use of solar systems.

Fatuma pours water obtained from a solar-powered borehole for her baby goats in Puntland, Somalia.

Photo: UNICEF/UN0635404/Ayene - Fatuma pours water obtained from a solar-powered borehole installed by UNICEF with support from the UK Government in Puntland, Somalia. Her family owns 230 goats, sheep and camels that her father Abdirizak Yusuf watches over.

“This borehole is like an oasis in the huge desert with no water,” says Abdirizak.

The 400m deep climate resilient borehole provides around 18,000 people and their livestock with sustainable water.

What needs to happen

UNICEF has launched a regional call to action to address the drought crisis. If immediate funding needs are met, life-saving support may avert catastrophic consequences.

But recurrent droughts and increasing water insecurity need long-term investments in water, sanitation and hygiene services, water management, and climate-proof infrastructure. Climate change is leading to unpredictable variations in temperature and rainfall patterns, which is expected to increase, both in frequency and intensity.

Durable solutions are required to ensure water security for all, at all times.

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Joint Launch of 2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan by Government of Pakistan and the United Nations
The FRP focuses on the needs of 5.2 million people, with life-saving response activities amounting to US$ 160.3 million covering food security, assistance for agriculture and livestock, shelter and non-food items, nutrition programmes, primary health services, protection, water and sanitation, women’s health, and education support, as well as shelter for displaced people.

Joint Launch of 2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan by Government of Pakistan and the United Nations

Originally published by UNDP on 31 August 2022

The “2022 Pakistan Floods Response Plan (FRP)” was jointly launched today by Government of Pakistan and the United Nations, simultaneously in Islamabad and Geneva. The FRP is being launched in the backdrop of devastating rains, floods and landslides that have impacted more than 33 million people in different parts of Pakistan. Over 1,100 people including over 350 children have lost their lives, more than 1,600 people have been injured, over 287,000 houses have been fully and 662,000 partially destroyed, over 735,000 livestock have perished and 2 million acres of crops have been adversely impacted, besides severe damage to communications infrastructure.

The FRP highlights the main humanitarian needs, the efforts and steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to handle these challenges in collaboration with the UN and other partners, and sets out a well-coordinated and inclusive plan of action to respond to the needs of the affected people. The FRP is holistic, with a multi-sectoral approach covering the thematic clusters of food security and agriculture, health, nutrition, education, protection, shelter and non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene. Moreover, Pakistan continues to host more than 3 million Afghans with generosity and compassion, and like previous occasions, the at least 421,000 refugees living in flood-affected areas are included in the FRP.

Delivering the keynote address, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “The Government’s efforts are being supported by the Pakistani nation with people, civil society and humanitarian organizations stepping forward in a big way to complement the relief work with our characteristic generosity and philanthropic spirit. The Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund 2022 has also been established to facilitate people all over the country and overseas to contribute to the flood relief efforts.” The FM added that “this Appeal is expected to address only a part of the overall requirements and will, therefore, complement the broader effort.” The FM underscored that the international community’s “full support and solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this time would go a long way in alleviating their suffering and in helping to rebuild their lives and communities”.

In his video message, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shared that “the people of Pakistan face the unrelenting impact of heavy rains and flooding – worst in decades”. UNSG added that “the Government of Pakistan’s response has been swift. It has released national funds, including in the form of immediate cash relief. But the scale of needs is rising like the flood waters. It requires the world’s collective and prioritized attention.”

The Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal highlighted that “Pakistan being a negligible contributor to the overall carbon footprint, is still among the top ten countries that are vulnerable to climate change, and with extreme weather events which we have experienced from earlier this year like the heat waves, forest fires, multiple glacial lake-outburst-floods and now these disastrous monsoon floods.”

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Julien Harneis said: “This super flood is driven by climate change - the causes are international and so the response calls for international solidarity.” He further added, “Across Pakistan, I have seen government workers, ordinary people, out in the rain and water, saving lives and giving the little they have to those who have lost everything. We, in the international community, need to step up and stand with the people of Pakistan. This appeal is the absolute minimum we need from the international community for life-saving assistance and services. The people of Pakistan deserve our support.”

Chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lieutenant General Akhtar Nawaz gave a detailed briefing on the current humanitarian situation and efforts of the Government of Pakistan, supported by humanitarian partners in carrying out rescue and relief operations.

Mr. Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, Under-Secretary-General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said, “IFRC is committed to assisting the affected communities in these unprecedented floods in Pakistan. Together with Pakistan Red Crescent, we have launched an initial emergency appeal through which we are seeking funds to assist 324,000 people in Health, Safe drinking water, Emergency Shelter, and Livelihoods. The IFRC is working together with the Government of Pakistan and the UN agencies to have a coordinated response to ensure we reach the most vulnerable and affected populations, providing access to basic necessities to all”.

Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shared that “today, the international community – including my own agency – must help the people in need in Pakistan. We urgently need global support and solidarity for Pakistan”.

The launch event was well attended by the Diplomatic Corps both in Islamabad and Geneva, heads of UN agencies in Pakistan, representatives of international organizations, IFIs, civil society and media. The participants offered condolences and expressions of solidarity on the loss of precious lives and damage to infrastructure by the floods, and assured their continued support to the relief, rescue, rehabilitation, and reconstruction efforts of Pakistan.

Pakistan is a country with experience and capacity in responding to humanitarian emergencies and has made major strides in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the scale and magnitude of the current floods is unprecedented, whereby, the country received rainfall equivalent to 2.9 times the national 30-year average – a grave manifestation of Climate Change induced disasters. It is important that the international community shows solidarity with Pakistan and complements its national efforts in combating the direct and inter-related impacts of the current floods.

The 2022 Pakistan Flood Response Plan can be downloaded here:

For additional information, please contact Ayesha Babar at  or +92 (51) 835 5650

Retrieved from

Global cost-of-living crisis catalyzed by war in Ukraine sending tens of millions into poverty, warns UN Development Programme

Analysis of 159 developing countries globally indicate that price spikes in key commodities is already having immediate and devastating impacts on the poorest households, with clear hotspots in the Balkans, countries in the Caspian Sea region and Sub-Saharan Africa (in particular the Sahel region), according to the UNDP estimates.

Global cost-of-living crisis catalyzed by war in Ukraine sending tens of millions into poverty, warns UN Development Programme

71 million people in the developing world have fallen into poverty in just three months as a direct consequence of global food and energy price surges. The impact on poverty rates is drastically faster than the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic

Originally published by UNDP on 7 July 2022

Analysis of 159 developing countries globally indicate that price spikes in key commodities is already having immediate and devastating impacts on the poorest households, with clear hotspots in the Balkans, countries in the Caspian Sea region and Sub-Saharan Africa (in particular the Sahel region), according to the UNDP estimates. Photo by UNDP Serbia.

New York –Soaring inflation rates have seen an increase in the number of poor people in developing countries by 71 million in the three months since March 2022, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) alerts in a report released today.

As interest rates rise in response to soaring inflation, there is a risk of triggering further recession-induced poverty that will exacerbate the crisis even more, accelerating and deepening poverty worldwide.

Developing countries, grappling with depleted fiscal reserves and high levels of sovereign debt as well as rising interest rates on global financial markets, face challenges that cannot be solved without urgent attention by the global community.

This report zooms in on the insights provided by the two briefs of the UN Secretary-General Global Crisis Response Group on the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine. 

“Unprecedented price surges mean that for many people across the world, the food that they could afford yesterday is no longer attainable today,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “This cost-of-living crisis is tipping millions of people into poverty and even starvation at breathtaking speed and with that, the threat of increased social unrest grows by the day.”

Policymakers responding to the cost-of-living crisis, particularly in poorer nations, face difficult choices. The challenge is how to balance meaningful short-term relief to poor and vulnerable households, at a moment when most developing countries are struggling with shrinking fiscal space and ballooning debt.

“We are witnessing an alarming growing divergence in the global economy as entire developing countries face the threat of being left behind as they struggle to contend with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, crushing debt levels and now an accelerating food and energy crisis”, says Steiner. “Yet new international efforts can take the wind out of this vicious economic cycle, saving lives and livelihoods -- that includes decisive debt relief measures; keeping international supply chains open; and coordinated action to ensure that some of the world’s most marginalized communities can access affordable food and energy.”

Countries have tried to dilute the worst impacts of the current crisis using trade restrictions, tax rebates, blanket energy subsidies and targeted cash transfers.

The report finds that targeted cash transfers are more equitable and cost-effective than blanket subsidies.

“While blanket energy subsidies may help in the short term, in the longer term they drive inequality, further exacerbate the climate crisis, and do not soften the immediate blow of the cost-of-living increase as much as targeted cash transfers do,” says report author George Gray Molina, UNDP Head of Strategic Policy Engagement. “They offer some relief as an immediate band-aid, but risk causing worse injury over time.”

The report shows that energy subsidies disproportionately benefit wealthier people, with more than half of the benefits of a universal energy subsidy favoring the richest 20% of the population. By contrast, cash transfers mostly go to the poorest 40% of the population.

“Cash in the hands of the people who are reeling from the astronomical price increases to food and fuel will have a widespread impact in positive ways,” Molina says. “Our modeling shows that even very modest cash transfers can have dramatic and stabilizing effects for the poorest and most vulnerable in this crisis. And we know from COVID-19 responses that developing countries must be supported by the global community to have the fiscal space to fund these schemes.”

He added that to free up those needed funds, a moratorium on official debt for two years should be considered to assist all developing countries –regardless of GDP per capita - to bounce back from these shocks. This echoes recent calls by International Financial Institutions for enhanced liquidity for developing countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic alone has pushed debt in developing countries to a 50-year high, equivalent to more than two and half times their revenues, according to the World Bank.

Countries facing the most drastic impacts of the crisis across all poverty lines are Armenia and Uzbekistan in Central Asia; Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Sudan in Sub-Saharan Africa; Haiti in Latin America; and Pakistan and Sri Lanka in South Asia. In Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Yemen the impacts could be particularly hard at the lowest poverty lines, whereas in Albania, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, and Tajikistan the hits could be hardest.

Click here to read and download the report

Retrieved from

Addressing the cost-of-living crisis in developing countries: Poverty and vulnerability projections and policy responses
This paper estimates the potential effects of food and energy inflation on global poverty and vulnerability and simulates the welfare loss mitigation potential of two policy options: blanket energy subsidies and targeted cash transfers. 

Addressing the cost-of-living crisis in developing countries: Poverty and vulnerability projections and policy responses

Originally published by UNDP on 7 July 2022

The ripple effects of the war in Ukraine have disrupted energy and food markets. Among many other factors, supply chain disruptions and price spikes in key commodities have been pushing the world towards a precarious inflationary surge. This will have immediate and devastating effects on household welfare—with those in poverty and near-poverty typically hit hardest due to their higher energy and food budget share— posing significant policy challenges to governments during the response. This paper estimates the potential effects of food and energy inflation on global poverty and vulnerability and simulates the welfare loss mitigation potential of two policy options: blanket energy subsidies and targeted cash transfers. The results suggest that soaring food and energy prices could push up to 71 million people into poverty, with clear hotspots in the Caspian Basin, the Balkans, and Sub-Saharan Africa (particularly in the Sahel). We find that targeted and time-bound cash transfers are the most effective policy tool to address the impacts.

Read the full report here:


Download the attached PDF of the report.

2022 Daejeon United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Congress

2022 Daejeon United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) World Congress

  • Dates: 10 Oct. - 14 Oct.
  • Venue: Daejeon Convention Center (DCC)
  • Participants: 140 countries and 1,000 cities
  • Theme: Local and Regional Governments Breaking through as One
  • The Daejeon UCLG World Congress is a massive gathering of all members of the UCLG, which is the only international organization of local governments officially recognized by the United Nations. The fact that the Congress is the biggest international event to be held in the city of Daejeon since the Daejeon Expo '93 adds more to its uniqueness and significance.

    Since COVID-19, the role of local governments has become ever more important in discussing ways to solve various problems facing the international community, such as global peace and climate change. Under the theme of “Local and Regional Governments Breaking Through as One,” the Daejeon UCLG World Congress will undoubtedly enable over 1,000 local governments to work in harmony and engage in cooperation so as to contribute to the peace and advancement of humanity.

    Learn more and register here:

    Organized by 대전광역시     UCLG