Informal Consultations
Committee of the Whole
Thematic Committee
Parallel Events
Parallel Event

Volunteer Action and Local Democracy + 5:
Partnerships for a Better Urban Future?

United Nations, New York, Conference Room 2
Tuesday 5 June 2001, 14:00 to 17:00

Five years ago, on the eve of Habitat II, researchers and community activists from Johannesburg, Lima, Mumbai, Chicago, East St. Louis, Ho Chi Minh City, Jinja, and Sao Paulo met to review the preliminary findings of their research on the state of collaborations between community organizations and local authorities. The main concern was to see to what extent such collaborations were leading to sustainable improvements of life and livelihood conditions for low-income and marginalized groups. Contrary to the early expectations of the organizers and researchers, the case studies showed that many of the collaborations were extremely fragile, flawed and often fraught with conflict. Indeed, from the perspective of the neighborhoods involved, many appeared to have a limited future.

Since Habitat II, if not in part because of it and other global summits, the call for community - local authority partnerships has grown ever stronger. All the major development institutions and most of the associations of cities and local authorities have emphasized such mechanisms as crucial components of solutions to the seemingly intractable social and economic problems facing many cities.

Five years have passed and urban problems continue to grow. UNRISD has thus asked the researchers to go back into the field to ask if the partnerships reported on in 1996 matured and overcome their early limitations, and if not, why not? In this workshop, the researchers will describe the state of the collaborations that still exist from 1996, what happened to those that disappeared, whether groups involved five years ago are still involved or have moved to other issues, etc. The researchers will also identify why some of the causes or community groups disappeared over time, and how this has affected collaborations more generally. The positive and negative impacts of globalization on collaborations will be addressed as well.

Provisional Agenda
Opening Remarks
Overview of Collaborations
Factors Affecting Collaborations
Globalization and Collaborations
Questions for Panelists
Comments from Floor
Closing Remarks

Chair: Francoise Lieberherr, Urban Sector Specialist, Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)
Moderator: David Westendorff, Project Leader, Urban Governance, UNRISD
Presenters: Raquel Rolnik, Sao Paulo; Mzwanele Mayekiso and Graeme Gotz, Johannesburg; Ngoc Du Thai Thi, Ho Chi Minh City; Minar Pimple, Mumbai; Jaime Joseph, Lima; Ken Reardon, East St. Louis; David Ranney and Pat Wright, Chicago.
Focal point: UNRISD, David Westendorff,


2001 UNCHS