Strategic Capacity Development Component

The strategic capacity development component forms part of the UK FCDO Global Future Cities Programme. It has been developed by the strategic and capacity development partner, the UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) in close collaboration with UN-Habitat. The aim of the strategic capacity development component is to complement the other elements of the Global Future Cities Programme, to consider some of the barriers and enablers to sustainable urbanisation and to help ensure the programme’s long-term impact.

The Thematic Programme was delivered by a range of subject matter experts and intended to provide a foundational programme introducing each of the five themes, combined with practical examples from the field. The Thematic Programme provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about each of the themes and reflect on the capacity development needs in their own City.

The five themes: 

  1. Integrated and inclusive planning
  2. Evidence based design and the effective use of data
  3. Governance and collaboration
  4. Finance and procurement
  5. Implementation and enforcement

It was delivered in English with simultaneous translation available in Burmese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. All sessions were interactive with time allocated for discussion and Q&A.

See detailed programme below. Throughout the Thematic Programme, the detailed page for each session was used to livestream all sessions. 

Click here to view the programme online, or click the button below to download it.

Download The Programme

The Thematic Programme

The Thematic Programme, launched on 21 January 2021 and concluded on 11 March 2021, comprised a series of seven online events, delivered by a range of subject matter experts, each of which focused on one of the initial five key themes. The programme provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about each of the five key themes, to reflect on their current practice and to consider their own capacity development needs. The series opened and closed with contributions from Sir Paul Collier CBE from the International Growth Centre and Mayor Marvin Rees from Bristol City Council. The series concluded with reflections on the importance of communication, collaboration, organisation and behaviour. One of the outputs from the Thematic Programme was recognition of the importance of ‘leadership and change management’ as a cross-cutting issue, and this was subsequently adopted as a sixth theme.

The Thematic Programme also recognised:

  • that building consensus is key to successful long-term planning
  • that participatory budgeting encourages people to hear one another and agree priorities
  • how to increase revenue and improve compliance though incentivisation by building narratives around common purpose
  • the importance of leveraging recruitment and training to build the skills required
  • the importance of organisational transformation, and that Smart Cities are really about collaboration first, data second
  • the common biases in decision making, the tendency to make decisions based on what others think, preferring to maintain the status quo rather than risk trying something new, choosing smaller, more immediate rewards rather than larger future rewards, choosing to avoid losses rather than seeking gains
  • that capacity is both the ability to do something and the desire to do it – incentivisation is key
  • the need to devolve power to the lowest level to facilitate feedback and learning
  • the importance of building trust and not overpromising
  • that agency and motivation are more important than training.

21 January - Session 1: Building Back Better & Introduction to the Series

The introductory session considers the recovery from Covid-19 in the context of building back better and demonstrates the continuing importance of the SDGs as a framework for delivering sustainable urbanisation. It features introductory remarks from the UKBEAG, the FCDO and UN-Habitat together with contributions from Sir Paul Collier CBE, Director of the International Growth Centre, and Mayor Marvin Rees from Bristol City Council.

27 January - Session 2: Integrated & Inclusive Urban Planning

Drawing on examples from the Bristol One City Plan, this session considers the importance of integrated and inclusive planning as a prerequisite for achieving lasting social, economic, and environmental improvement while simultaneously addressing the needs of the marginalised and the vulnerable. The session was facilitated by the Design Council together with University College London Development Planning Unit.

04 February - Session 3: Governance & Collaboration

Drawing on extensive policy research together with the international standard for sustainable cities and communities (ISO37106), this session considers the importance of achieving alignment between sectoral priorities and policies together with effective collaboration between different tiers of government, ministries, and departments. The session was facilitated by the International Growth Centre and the British Standards Institution together with practical experience from Bristol City Council.

18 February - Session 4: Evidence-based Design & the Effective use of Data

Building on the international standard for sustainable cities and communities (ISO37106), this session considers the importance of evidence-based design and data as a pre-requisite for developing and delivering citizen centric applications that will achieve meaningful cost benefit and service level improvement. The session was facilitated jointly by the British Standards Institution and Smart London.

25 February - Session 5: Project Finance & Procurement

This session considers various methods for securing project finance, ranging from municipal bonds to own sourced revenue, together with the way in which to present bankable projects for funding. It included an overview of HM Treasury Five Case Model and was delivered by the International Growth Centre and HM Treasury Infrastructure & Projects Authority together with input from the International Finance Corporation.

04 March - Session 6: Implementation & Enforcement, Monitoring & Evaluation

However well-conceived, the ultimate test of any policy, programme, plan, or project is whether it is delivered as intended and whether a monitoring & evaluation framework is in place to take corrective action if required, feeding back lessons learnt to ensure continual improvement. In this penultimate session, the British Standards Institution was joined by HM Treasury Infrastructure & Projects Authority to discuss the importance of regulations and standards together with robust assurance and approvals processes for achieving effective project delivery.

11 March - Session 7: Reflections on the Series & Next Steps

The concluding session includes reflections on the series from the UK Built Environment Advisory Group, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UN Habitat, and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), together with input from the Delivery Partners, Arup, Adam Smith International, Ernst and Young, Future Cities South Africa and Mott MacDonald.