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Next Steps

The Coalition will focus its global research programme based on the potential for contributing to an urban transition; the capabilities and know-how of the coalition; and the opportunity to cooperate and work with ongoing efforts rather than just adding new initiatives.

The Coalition will explore the following themes:
  • Building national policy frameworks. Which major national policy frameworks, instruments or innovations are underutilized by economic, finance, and other key ministries in rapidly urbanising regions? Which could be used to scale up and shift national urban development towards more compact, connected, low carbon urban growth to support improved economic, social, and environmental outcomes? And which can be feasibly implemented in the next 5-15 years? 
  • Financing the urban transition. Which major national financing mechanisms or funding innovations are underutilized? What is the best way to mobilise and shift domestic and international investment flows to cover the incremental up-front costs of smarter urban infrastructure? What is the ‘right’ level of financial autonomy that should be provided to different types of cities in terms of raising funds and entering financial agreements with the private sector or international agencies? 
  • Constructing the arguments. What are the public and private sector economic and business cases for investing in a more compact, connected, efficient low carbon-development model, taking into account typical discount rates and ways to value indirect net benefits? 
  • Tracking new innovations. How can cities keep pace with the plethora of fast emerging business models and technologies in the urban transport sector from e-hailing to car sharing to autonomous vehicles whilst allowing public transit to remain competitive? 
At the country level, the focus countries will be determined as scoping progresses in the first year of the Coalition with an aim to eventually have a portfolio of work spanning countries at different stages of the urban transition. Factors that will help determine focus countries will include:
  1. Countries eager to demonstrate national leadership on shaping their urban transition.
  2. Countries likely to see a significant absolute increase and/or rapid growth in the urban share of the population and national economy.
  3. Where the Coalition and the NCE are well placed to provide engagement and support.
  4. And where there is potential to develop the work into a medium-long term engagement to ensure impact, linked to in-country delivery and implementation partners .
While the above criteria will help to elevate the conditions for success, it is challenging to successfully influence and support national governments. That is a complex task and will require the coming together of many key actors. To further enhance the possibility of systemic impact, the Coalition will consider the creation of groups of 3-4 commissioners and other high-level ambassadors in each focus country to help champion and develop partnerships with national government.

Based on these criteria, an initial focus will be placed on China and India, building on existing work. Further opportunities for impact will be explored in a range of major African, Asian, and Latin American economies.

NCE’s model of cutting edge-research will be underpinned by strong strategic communications and engagement at the global, regional, and national levels, including presence and participation at events such as HABITAT III and COP22.