Equitable access to essential local public services is inextricably linked to social urban inclusion and to the enjoyment of human rights. However, local government resources are increasingly scarce and municipal fiscal systems inadequate to effectively tackle the many challenges of rapid urbanization.
Systematic corporate/private wealth tax avoidance, inter-local tax competition and tax havens – some of which city-based - deprive central and local governments of the resources they need to provide essential services to urban dwellers. Tax justice and fiscal policy coherence are essential aspects of urban policies critical to secure sustainable financing for the New Urban Agenda (NUA). However, Habitat III discussions have so far largely omitted the impact of global tax avoidance on local government ability to finance and invest in essential urban services.
Many national and local governments are still turning to public-private partnerships (PPPs), to finance public infrastructures and provide local public services. But extensive research and experience show that there is no evidence that PPPs are more efficient than public sector provision: in fact, they show that PPPs are an inefficient way of financing infrastructures and services, while they provide long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.
The existing public financing options such as public-public partnerships, remunicipalization and inter-municipal cooperation - increasingly the preferred choices of many cities and communities after their negative experiences of PPPs – deserve to be mentioned and promoted as viable options in the implementation text of the NUA.
This event “Financing and investing in urban public services: The key to inclusive cities” aims to fill this knowledge gap by sharing original research and first-hand experience by PSI affiliates among HIII actors, decision-makers and stakeholders on these crucial aspects of the Habitat III debate. It will issue valuable evidence-based policy recommendations for the formulation and implementation of a successful NUA that will promote socio-economic inclusion and fairness for all city dwellers.
The keynote speakers at the event will be:
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