The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) has teamed up with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) to showcase the results of their fruitful cooperation in the field of urban infrastructure asset management.
What is an AMAP?
At the heart of this partnership lies the Asset Management Action Plan (AMAP), an action planning approach to infrastructure asset management developed by the UN-DESA team. The AMAP has helped many local governments across the world to create local plans for the sustainable development of their own city/municipality.
To showcase the effectiveness of this approach, IHS incorporated the recent AMAP Guide by UN-DESA into its Masters's course on Urban Governance and Finance. The course focused on academic debate, current trends in thinking and practice related to the governance and finance of cities, and an exercise on AMAPs.
The exercise tasked 120 students from 42 nationalities to identify potential finance mechanisms that may help local governments finance life-cycle activities of infrastructure assets while considering country-specific enabling conditions. Students were asked to analyze the context, outline the life cycle maintenance activities for the municipal asset, and highlight which activities can be associated with the level of local governments.
In their output, the students referred to how the level of decentralization may affect the life cycle management of the asset, and they made recommendations on how to finance the life cycle maintenance of the asset. The exercise analyzed six AMAPs, and the students' submissions offered valuable insights on how to manage urban infrastructure assets sustainably.
For the AMAP for Butwal Sub-metropolitan City in Nepal, which focused on solid waste management infrastructure, students highlighted the role of decentralization in enabling local governments to fund local projects through local revenues and intergovernmental transfers. However, they also emphasized the need for local governments to justify their financing of local projects by the national government.
For the AMAP for Federal District, Brazil, which focused on composting treatment plants, the students recommended that an autonomous body finance the usage stage of the asset by acquiring a loan from a financial institution, subcontracting the operation costs, or entering public-private partnerships (PPPs) to ensure the delivery of the service.
Other AMAPs analyzed by the students included those for Brahmanbaria municipality in Bangladesh, Belize City in Belize, Nairobi City County in Kenya, and Isiolo municipality in Kenya. In all cases, the students' submissions demonstrated a deep understanding of the issues surrounding urban infrastructure asset management and provided valuable recommendations on how to finance the life cycle maintenance of these assets.
The IHS and UN-DESA cooperation underscores the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing key urban management challenges faced by municipalities worldwide. By providing students with hands-on experience in asset management planning, the two organizations are helping to build a new generation of urban management professionals who are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle these challenges head-on.
Overall, the IHS and UN-DESA partnership serves as a shining example of how academic institutions and international organizations can work together to advance the cause of sustainable urban development.