Evidence suggests that alternative models of knowledge production and decision-making are required for building good governance systems in cities, particularly in emerging economies in the Global South. At the forefront of these discussions are social inclusivity and innovation, key elements that should accompany resilient urban strategies and policymaking.

This is particularly important for African cities, which account for more than a quarter of the world’s fastest growing cities. Population growth is occurring in an expansive form, resulting in higher rates of land use change than population growth rates alone might imply – with consequent social and ecological impacts.

In this context, informal settlements more likely to be in vulnerable parts of the city and residents are less likely to have access to basic services and infrastructure that can reduce climate-related risks like flooding and landslides. Residents are also likely to lack secure tenure, reducing their incentive to upgrade housing and invest in amenities.

This policy brief is based on numerous interviews and conversations with different groups of stakeholders conducted under the “Peri-Urban Resilient Ecosystems” partnership. From these, key scalable and replicable lessons were identified, which have been formulated into ten practical recommendations for any policy maker to follow when planning, developing and implementing inclusive urban climate policies. Key themes relate to democratic accountability, transparent and inclusive decision making, and community co-production.

This policy brief is an output from an ongoing research study through the GCRF ODA Pump Priming Peri-Urban Resilient Ecosystems (PURE) partnership. It was carried out by Stockholm Environment Institute York, the University of York and University of Cape Town African Climate and Development Initiative.