Addressing the missing link in urban development

Workshop and field visit, 15-16 May 2006

Urban populations in south Asia are expanding rapidly, placing enormous pressure on urban services. This has also resulted in a rapid increase of the urban slum dwellers (urban poor). Research study conducted by Practical Action/ITDG in 2003 reveals that out of the urban population, 14% consist of the urban poor (slum dwellers).

The majority of the urban poor are denied of even the basic hygiene systems, such as clean water, refuse collection, adequate sanitation. As a result, more than others, the urban poor suffer from water- and vector-borne diseases. According to a study conducted by International Food Policy Research Institute, prevalence of Diarrheoa among urban poor was greater than the rural poor in seven of the eleven countries that participated in the study. In Sri Lanka, a participant of the study Dengue fever and filarisis have become increasing problems in the cities as a result of poor sanitation.

The urban environment and poverty are closely linked. These links are recognised in the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in the inclusion under Goal 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability) of targets to improve the lives of slum dwellers, and improve access to safe drinking water. UN-Habitat currently estimates that 55% of the world's poor now live in urban areas, so without effectively tackling urban poverty (and the urban environment), it is unlikely that any of the goals will be met

In Sri Lanka, approaches to urban development have been mostly sectoral, with government agencies carrying out urban development plans through line ministries. The intention has been that these initiatives will be co-ordinated through local level government organizations, but the complexity of the governmental system acts as a barrier to this happening in practice. Most often, NGOs and INGOs also tend to adopt sectoral approaches in urban development.

In order to address the gap of environmental degradation and urban poverty Practical Action with the support from EC (European Commission) is launching a three year project. This project will be implemented in Butwal in Nepal; Faridpur in Bangladesh and Kurunegala and Galle in Sri Lanka. The project will be implemented in selected sites in Kurunegala with 4,000 households on waste collection and recycling, eco-sanitation, and small waste-water treatment facilities. Project activities in a tsunami-hit area of Galle will mainly focus on waste management, water and sanitation and will be undertaken in such ways that livelihood issues are addressed.

The inception workshop on the 15th of May 2006 was followed by a field visit on the 16th May to generate awareness about this project among all relevant stakeholders.

A full report on the proceedings of this workshop is available to download in MS Word format.

Inception Workshop on Integrated Approaches to Improving the Urban Environment in Asia project


Inaugural session, 15th May 2006 (Site visits, 16th May, 9am-3pm)

9.00 - 9.15 Registration
9.15 - 9.30 Lighting the oil lamp
9.30 - 9.40 Welcome speech
9.40 - 9.50 Keynote speech

Presentations & discussions

9.50 - 10.10 Practical Action -UK
10.10 - 10.30 Practical Action -Nepal
10.30 - 10.45 Tea
10.45 - 11.05 Practical Action -Bangladesh
11.05 - 11.20 WASTE - Netherlands
11.20 - 11.40 Presentation by Kurunegala Municipal Council
11.40 - 12.30 Presentations by the other invited organisations
12.30 - 1.30 Lunch
1.30 - 3.00 Group discussion & plenary
3.00 - 3.30 Tea
3.30 - 4.00 summing up

EU flagThis project is funded funded by the European Commission under the EC Asia Pro Eco II programme. It is part of Practical Action's Improving Access to Infrastructure Services programme(Aim 3).

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