Informal Consultations
Committee of the Whole
Thematic Committee
Parallel Events

Thematic Committee
8 June 2001
9:00h - 13:00h


The fourth session of the Thematic Committee was held on 8 June 2001 from 9:00 to 13:00 hours. The session focused on the subject of eradication of poverty. Three cases were presented.

Urban Community Development Fund, Thailand

The case, presented by Ms. Somsook Boonyabancha, focused on how the Community Development Fund (CDF) of Thailand was created as a tool for poverty eradication empowering both the urban and rural poor.

(full case study is available in Msword and PDF)

The discussion raised a number of issues. On training: CDF uses existing knowledge and expertise within the community through a system of peer learning and networking. Project implementation is a continual learning process.

On the large initial capital invested into CDF and whether this is replicable, discussion revealed that similar organizations had started with much smaller amounts. An initial capital investment is necessary, beyond which such funds should become self-financing. What is important is to start the process and to link the initial capital investment to the savings of the community.

Potential for replication had been shown by the spread of the fund to 55 provinces and to three other countries, so far. The subsidy to communities is in the form of low interest rate loans. Motivation is sustained by the fact that the fund is completely owned by the people. This ensures continued interest and participation.

All of the housing developed through the CDF used the cooperative approach, though this approach is not imposed on members. The financing of housing starts with own savings, which are then linked to loans from the fund at low interest rates. The standard of habitat projects implemented may not be very high, but they are adequate, appropriate and ones which the communities can work with.

With regard to the method of community organization, people living or working together initiate savings groups. These eventually link with other groups to form larger groups. Sometimes individuals already knowledgeable are sent into other communities to provide information on how to start. This way, wide networks encompassing both urban and rural areas have been formed.

Participatory Planning and Budgeting in Villa El Salvador, Peru

The case was presented by Mr. Martin Pumar, Mayor of Villa El Salvador, and Mr. Gustavo Riofrio DESCO (NGO). The case described the process by which a system of participatory planning and budgeting was introduced in a municipality of the Lima metropolitan area and how the plan is implemented.

(full case study is available in Msword and PDF)

Issue emerging from the discussion was on how to institutionalize the participation process. Villa El Salvador the need for a legal framework, which ensures sustainability of the process even with changing political regimes.

The importance of political will was emphasized. This requires involvement at the national level, in addition to the local level. It was also stated that existing organizations need to be included and strengthened

The participation of communities in strategic planning and in assessing the costs of urban services was highlighted as an innovative approach. However, the relationship between representatives and mechanisms of direct democracy involved in participatory budgeting needed clarification.

Participatory budgeting would be extended to cover 100% of the city budget, and could be extended to the national level.

Reduction of Urban Poverty in Morocco

The case was presented by Mr. Monceyf Fadili, National Coordinator, Programme Pilote de Contre la Pauvrete Urbaine. The case described a new national pilot programme of urban poverty reduction.

(full case study is available in Msword and PDF)

In the discussion, the use of regions for integrated development was highlighted, as were the issues of devolution of power, community participation, emphasis on social policies, participation, partnerships, strengthening capacities of all partners and mobilisation of funds, the use of the pilot approach to see how the various activities would be organised and sustainability. Many sector government departments were involved in this integrated project, including education, health, youth and sport, employment, and Habitat.

It was stressed that pilot programmes such as this one do not aim to reduce poverty in any significant way, but to develop effective ways and approaches for developing poverty reduction programmes.

The importance of training and building capacity in the project was highlighted, as was the need for political will, international support, use of people resources (such as sweat equity, their involvement in decision-making, use of indigenous ways to solve problems) and the role of local authorities in addressing issues at the local level.

It was further emphasized that there is an abundance of financial resources globally. The real challenge is to find ways of directing even a small proportion of these towards poverty reduction.



2001 UNCHS