Sustainable water and cities : solutions to address global changes 2015 is a key milestone for the international community, which has to both tackle development goals and respond to climate change. Cities are at the center of these environmental and social challenges notably regarding their water and sanitation services, urban planning, and informal settlements.
In this context, France has supported the development of :
• the International Guidelines on Decentralization and Access to Basic Services for All, adopted by the Governing Council of UN-Habitat. Access to basic services for all is both the main indicator and the purpose of effective decentralization ;
• the Third Report of the Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD III). This global report aims to establish a diagnosis of the provision of services and the role of local authorities in different regions of the world. It recommends investing in basic services to reduce inequality and promote development.
• ISO/TC 224 standards that provide relevant guidance for good governance of water and sanitation services. To address these challenges and support local authorities in sustainable urban development, the members of the French Water Partnership call for :
• Regional and local authorities must become the driving force for democratic urban governance
For sustainable and coherent territorial development strategies, in particular in terms of resource management and access to basic services, local and regional authorities must be recognized and strengthened. This translates into a transfer of skills and resources, the development of local taxation and the establishment of institutional frameworks to promote partnership initiatives ;
• Strategic city planning should promote a greater integration of services
French stakeholders take a view of urban development that is founded on a search for balance between developing a productive city, an inclusive city and insuring environmental protection, corresponding to the three components of sustainable development. The regions of the future will increasingly rely on short supply circuits by balancing local resources with local needs. Synergies exist between water, sanitation, waste and energy services that can be developed within a framework promoting circular economy ;
• A shift is needed in the scale of funding for sustainable infrastructure
The proportion of vulnerable households is growing steadily in urban areas (notably informal settlements). In order to ensure the fairness of services as a whole, mechanisms for solidarity should be placed at the center of pricing policies. More broadly, funding these services cannot be the sole responsibility of users.
Additional funding (grants, solidarity, increased value of property, etc.) is needed in order to finance infrastructure.
In addition, although the technology exists to deliver socially and environmentally effective services including the involvement of various users, this technology should no longer be funded on aproject basis but rather by setting up structural, sustainable funds.