Hirotaka Koike


Hirotaka Koike

Chair of the Children and Youth Partner Constituent Group of the General Assembly of Partners and a Deputy Organising Partner for Habitat III in the Major Group for Children and Youth of which Children and Youth International is the legal entity. He has been working on community development and youth engagement in affected areas by disasters in Japan (Great East Japan Earthquake 2011) and Philippine (Haiyan 2013), and advocacy works around Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development. This article is prepared on behalf of Children and Youth International.

Missing Piece - Financing for Sustainable Urban Development

Most of us might remember what happened in the Addis Ababa conference, or formally the Third Conference of the Financing for Development. As a number of NGOs and stakeholders expressed, the outcome actually lacks addressing how to finance the Sustainable Development agenda as a whole. All reports estimate that achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires trillions of dollars.

Yet, currently there is a seemingly unfillable gap between now and the goals. And that could potentially be the case in the Habitat III process, if we do not put sufficient weight behind tackling this early on in the process. How do we mobilize these resources? The Addis Ababa Action Agenda failed to adequately answer this question. Therefore, it is clear that we must continue to work to articulate a solution in the context of the New Urban Agenda. How do we most effectively finance the sustainable urban development we seek, including at municipal level while maintaining the principles of governments as duty bearers.

Without strong mechanisms that create liquidity through public finance, and effectively channel and regulate private finance while aligning macroeconomic policy, we will find ourselves and the agenda trapped in extractive public-private partnerships. Children and Youth International, based on intensive consultations to facilitate voices of young people through the UN MGCY, would like to provide a couple of suggestions to tackle those issues.  In this piece we put forward possible solutions for bonds as a means to municipal finance. For an environment to truly be ‘enabling,’ and for productive investment that leads to Sustainable Urban Development, we need to bring the “S” that is the environmental dimension into greater focus and effectively allocate the risk different scenarios of a country’s and in this case a municipality's ecological footprint pose.

This leads to taking into account both- fiscal and ecological constraints, with fair consideration. As you know well, resource scarcity is not new terminology, but is rarely spoken about, leave alone proactively tackled at a municipality level. Local watersheds, ecosystems, and natural capital all play a major role in determining the trajectory of sustainable urban development.  In order to have an effective financing regime that is sensitive to these variables, we need to operationalize a municipality’s usage and management of natural resources (through ecological footprint) discounted against the available biocapacity, as a risk factor while assessing its “enabling” environment for sustainable urban development. Carbon emission is rather a global phenomenon, but fresh water use, clean air, ecosystems are largely local.