Strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and participatory accountable governance are crucial elements for improving peoples’ lives in a sustainable way. In an increasingly urbanized world, these factors contribute to unlocking the potential of cities, particularly through improved urban service delivery.  

Better managed cities with improved services promote peace and security; encourage greater investment in people; and increase economic growth. When municipal governments have sufficient resources and are accountable, they are more likely to provide timely and efficient services. Collaboration between levels of government, along with civil society, helps to optimize service delivery. Community participation in demanding and designing improved service delivery can be achieved through transparent, accountable, and democratic institutions.

USAID supports building the capacity of poorly managed cities so that they are better equipped to handle the impacts of urban growth. This includes strengthening the capacity of local authorities to manage and govern better, helping to build the foundation for increased access to market-oriented finance and to improved urban service delivery. USAID’s capacity development programs aimed at increasing the creditworthiness of local governments through improved planning and financial management are long-term efforts, but are critical to achieving sustainable results.


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