SIGUS: Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement
Spring 2000

A 6-week series of international video-conferences was organized by SIGUS for the World Bank's Thematic Group on Services for the Poor in the Spring of 2000. Key staff of the major development agencies focused on how to accelerate and expand urban poverty alleviation through slum improvement efforts. The sessions featured interchanges from around the world focusing on the growing critical situation of deteriorated urban communities. Each session featured a presentation by a development agency on its experience and thinking on scaling-up slum upgrading programs. Agencies participating included the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank from Washington D.C.; UNCHS-Habitat, from Nairobi, Kenya; German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), from Frankfurt, Germany; British Department of International Development (DFID) from New Delhi, India; and SIGUS-MIT from Boston.

The videoconference series was the first under the "Cities Without Slums" initiative, a multi-donor effort to address the challenge of urban poverty through slum upgrading. The series was developed under the sponsorship of the Cities Alliance, a global partnership spearheaded by UNCHS (Habitat) and the World Bank.
In conjunction with this videoconference series, and as a way to permit participants to continue discussing and collaborating between videoconferences, a parallel electronic conference was set up in the World Bank's electronic discussion facility, the Development Forum.
Schools and other interested groups were also offered the opportunity to connect to the video conference sessions as passive viewers, and many schools from around the world participated.