Governance refers to the “sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs”. Very few studies have focused on how governance processes outside the health sector can be harnessed towards the protection and promotion of human health. More and more people are moving to cities. With this global wave of urbanisation come many health challenges, including exposure to outdoor pollution, infectious diseases, violence and crime, stress, dietary changes, and sedentary lifestyles. The “urban poor”, including most residents of slums and informal settlements, face additional challenges such as inadequate housing, poor sanitation, water and food insecurity, indoor pollution, substance abuse, and lack of social support and health care.
Urban health and well-being are shaped by many factors, including formal and informal policies, budgetary and regulatory decisions, and negotiations over access to power and services. This project explores how local, national, regional, and global governance processes, institutions, and policies can work together to improve human health and well-being.
Focusing on developing countries where governance poses enormous challenges, this project addresses two key areas:
1. Urban Governance for Health — To address the complex governance challenges of urban health, this project explores relevant case studies from Africa, South-East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, with the aim of synthesising concrete policy recommendations.
2. HIV/AIDS and the Security Sector in Africa — While this has been the subject of numerous studies, some sub-sectors (e.g., prisons) have been neglected. Problems of over-crowding and embedded prison culture (power relations, exploitation, and related internal dynamics) are well-known factors that drive the spread of HIV in prisons. This project, which builds on an earlier UNU study of the same topic, seeks to generate policy-oriented recommendations to catalyse policy reform to address the spread of HIV in selected African prisons.