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resources are concentrated, with the detachment of those who know they are outside the channels of production, circulation and consumption. Second, government inaction, whether it is the result of a lack of capacity or of purpose, further discredits the State, whose legitimacy is already undermined by the effects of economic concentration and increased trade autonomy. And yet the State remains a pivotal structure for the construction of sustainable solutions for social issues.

I.2. General framework of action to fight poverty in an urban environment. The present document is a contribution to “UNESCO’s strategy on development and poverty eradication” (160 EX/13: paragraph 12.a). It presents a general framework of action for the formulation and implementation of policies to fight poverty in an urban environment. As a methodological guide, its proposals have two main thrusts. The first bears on the roles of the actors. The importance of neighbourhood organizations is highlighted, as is also the role of democratic participatory processes which empower poor people to become protagonists in policies at both local and national level. Also defined are the two pivotal functions of the State: regulation of social life and institutionalization of the public arena. As part of the second thrust, the methodological framework proposes setting up a neighbourhood organization/State/NGO relational framework to provide guidance for the planning and implementation of policies to fight poverty.

This document is a contribution to another priority area within UNESCO’s strategy (160 EX/13: paragraph 12.e): the development of “field projects that are to be demonstrably innovative”. It draws on the major lessons learnt from the evaluation of the project “Cities: management of social transformations and the environment”1, a research-action project implemented from 1996 to 2001 as part of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme. The Cities Project makes a major contribution by placing neighbourhood organizations at the core of public policies for social and environmental management in an urban environment. It also emphasises the State’s pivotal role. In most developing countries both these types of actors need support. Setting up ongoing processes of communication between State and civil society is seen as the key method of policy implementation, providing a way of enhancing innovatory initiatives and of coping with the conflicts inherent in poverty eradication.


Neighbourhood organizations within local support networks.

There is abundant evidence that neighbourhood organizations play an important role in promoting social integration, especially of marginal populations living in large cities in developing countries. When other backup is weak or non-existent (e.g. job opportunities or social welfare provision) people rely for protection on organizations that have emerged from local support networks. The importance of these organizations is not always recognised at State level and by the institutional system. They are often seen by

1 The three Cities Project evaluation reports are available on the following site: http://www.unesco.org/most/mostmab2.htm.


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