How can investors and financing institutions be incentivized?
The government ought to provide incentives for the private sector such as tax exemptions and Green Bonds to implement Nexus projects. This should be coupled with promoting conditional subsidies for using renewable energy instead of subsidizing electricity in the agricultural sector. Moreover, financial institutions could be directed towards providing funds and soft loans for supporting sustainable development activities. Emphasis should be given to providing soft loans to support priority sectors such as water, energy, and food production for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Apart from securing additional financial resources, the focus should lay on mobilizing and redirecting existing local financial resources, both public and private, towards supporting sustainable development activities.
Increase transparency and combat corruption
As for municipalities, fiscal policies and measures are needed to combat corruption. Municipalities need to be transparent when it comes to designing, selecting, implementing and monitoring projects. Evaluation criteria need to be clear and should include a code of ethics for those responsible for the public tenders. The terms and conditions of the tender should be subject to internal audit and public scrutiny. Judicial departments should be empowered to resolve complaints and appeals of all decisions regarding qualification and awarding processes. In addition, reports on the status of the projects, the costs and method of financing ought to be prepared, whether the financing comes from the state’s budget or through partnership with the private sector. These reports should be transparent and easily accessible for civil society organizations.
Capacity building as a way forward for the implementation of the WEF Nexus in the urban context
Also, the need for a sound capacity building among mayors, planners and sector managers was emphasized by Dr. Nisreen Lahham. Especially the trainings modules of the Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme were mentioned, six of which are bundled in a training manual dedicated to the Urban Nexus approach. This training includes an introduction to the Urban Nexus approach as well as modules on policy and framework conditions for resource efficient usage of natural resources, a guiding tool to comply with global agendas, a module on how to strengthen horizontal and vertical governance structures and include an inclusive and participatory planning process (Link). It can serve the capacity development needs for effective political and fiscal decentralization to implement the WEF Nexus in an urban context.
In addition to capacity development on a decentralized scale, Dr. Lahham highlighted the need to mainstream the Urban Nexus with a bottom-up approach in the MENA Region. Enhancing the dialogue between the different stakeholders; mayors, academia, the private sector and local inhabitants, is fundamental for supporting new and innovative environment-friendly sustainable investments. It was also suggested formulating a shared vision for the future of a city or municipality to help in achieving these goals.