IncluCity is piloting 2 emerging tools to assess inclusive finance needs in cities

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At the crossroads of the interaction between climate change and human livelihoods lies an opportunity for adaptive and resilient planning. Cities face some of the highest levels of risk from the worsening impacts of climate change. Urbanization is intensifying around the world, creating new vectors of vulnerability and exposure to climate hazards. This is especially true in rapidly growing unplanned and informal settlements, in low- and middle-income countries with low adaptive capacity.

The IncluCity initiative aims to address this problem with tools to fight poverty, empower vulnerable groups and build community resilience in urban areas. Strengthening economic outcomes and equalizing opportunities is a valuable way to ensure that climate impacts do not unduly affect poorer members of society.

A City score card and a Inclusiveness Index were developed by the IncluCity program. These evaluation techniques are being piloted in three countries and will continue to be revised and improved as project monitoring and evaluation progresses. These build on UNCDF’s experience in inclusive local finance and development. By using qualitative and quantitative methodology, a more comprehensive understanding of the issues facing cities can serve as a guide for future investments.


The City score card is used to rank cities based on inclusion criteria and provide guidance to municipalities on bridging the gap between inclusion goals and the funding agenda. The criteria areas are basic needs, economic inclusion, social inclusion, security and justice, consultative integrated planning and budgeting, and leadership and city management. Beyond these categories, there are other indicators, which assess a city’s equality, opportunity, safety and infrastructure to determine where it stands in terms of inclusion of all groups. This can help identify cities, towns and slums most in need of a revamped inclusion agenda, as well as strengthen local leadership and plans.

The Inclusiveness Index is used for ranking and selecting municipal investment projects based on priorities and benefits for marginalized groups. This index design aims to learn from past measurement shortcomings and eliminate evaluation shortcomings. The criteria areas are participation, location and design, social benefits, economic benefits and sectoral inclusion (water and sanitation systems, transport systems, etc.). Under each of these themes are more indicators, which broadly assess the extent to which individual project proposals include marginalized voices and needs. It is the first tool of its kind to combine investment and inclusion goals, and can help a municipality determine where to invest its funds.

Pilot countries

Projects and workshops using these tools are currently running in Uganda, Senegal and Bangladesh. The three municipal projects currently underway were selected based on a scorecard and index criteria after engagement with local leaders and fieldwork, including semi-structured interviews with members of the marginalized community. The projects consist of a water tank and a solar lighting installation in a slum, the renovation of a fish market for vendors and the construction of a market for traditional artisans. The diversity of projects is indicative of the tools’ value in finding new and creative ways to build resilience to climate change, while reducing poverty. Additionally, workshops bring these tools to local leaders and community members to empower them to play a major role in the program.

What happens afterwards?

The value of these new tools for the future lies in the ability to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for the development sector using a bottom-up approach. A source of failure for development projects is often the lack of consideration for the influence of local norms and the lack of foresight to design stand-alone investments. By collaborating with the local population, these shortcomings are mitigated. This is crucial for the inclusion of the views and priorities of women, as well as other marginalized groups. By giving these groups the power to direct the nature of projects and oversee their long-term management, they are inherently more empowered. The motivation behind these tools is the idea that building adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change starts by addressing the most vulnerable communities.

Distributed by APO Group for the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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