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Past international cooperation in support of urban projects and programmes, while focusing almost entirely on actions through government agencies, has been based upon major misunderstandings of the limited possibilities of government intervention and with a weak link to academic attempts to conceptualise the processes of urbanisation. The main international urban cooperation programmes, such as in transport, sanitation, and water supply, have been fragmented and often politically, socially, and technologically unsustainable, even in the short term. New initiatives have emerged that do recognise the need to work with actors and stakeholders other than government and these are producing very different practical results. As yet, these remain small scale and little work has been done to develop the implications of ‘scaling-up’ these approaches or of creating a coherent framework within which to pursue effective sustainable urban development initiatives.

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