Esfahan Declaration and
Plan of Action on

Building Partnerships for
Good Urban Governance

The rapid economic growth seen in recent years in the Asian Pacific region resulted in an unprecedented urbanization that has left many urban centers unable to cope with the demands on their infrastructure and delivery of services. UN statistics, show that the proportion of people in developing countries who live in cities has almost doubled since 1960 (from less than 22 per cent to more than 40 percent), while in more-developed regions the urban share has grown from 61 per cent to 76 percent. By 2030, it is expected that nearly 5 billion (61 percent) of the world's 8.1 billion people will live in cities. Howevever, this diverse and rapid change has not been even nor equitable, and many citizens have been left without access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation, or a home.

Due to the increasing demand on services and infrastructure, many cities have realized that they are falling behind as 'providers' of services. This has led some local authorities to shift their emphasis from being providers of services to becoming 'enablers' in essentially providing a facilitative environment for urban management. This shift in attitude on their perceived role is a key component of the recent push for "Good Urban Governance". At the same time various international and non-governmental organizations have also initiated activities towards wider adoption of the concept of good governance.

The generally accepted definition of good governance is ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of the law, strengthening democratisation, and promoting transparency and capability in public administration. These and related issues were deliberated in detail during a three-day workshop in Esfahan, Iran from 4 to 6 September 2000 and the following document was adopted during the meeting.

Esfahan Declaration and
Plan of Action on

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Contact: Hari Srinivas