Who we are
A design office committed today for the cities of tomorrow
Urbaconsulting is a French consultancy firm created in 2006 that specialises in supporting stakeholders from the global South to implement their urban development projects.
We work mostly in poor settlements and in fast growing cities .
We have successfully carried out more than 50 projects in some twenty countries on issues related to rapid urbanisation:
⚫️ Urban development
⚫️ Municipal Management
⚫️ Investment programs
⚫️ Security and land tenure
⚫️ Local Finances
⚫️ Municipal taxation
We develop approaches that foster the participation of all stakeholders within the project area and we rigorously adapt our practices to local conditions .
Our team benefits from a strong network of experts and partners, both in France and abroad, with whom we have forged special relationships. Our combined talents enable us to develop tailored solutions for our clients.
Urbaconsulting is part of a group whose capital is 100% owned by its employees, which guarantees our independence , the commitment of our experts and the cohesion of our team.
We wish to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within an engineering group that is completely independent, professional, innovative, a source of proposals, respectful of humanist values and the well-being of its employees, steered by its management in a participatory manner, in which we (shareholders, representatives, employee team) derive satisfaction from our work and our commitment
Supporting stakeholders in the global South to achieve sustainable urban development
INTEGRITY & TRANSPARENCY
Integrity is a value that is shared by all of the people with whom we work. All of our ethical commitments are set out in a detailed charter. Tackling corruption is one of the fundamental pillars of this commitment, both for our team and for our partners.
ADAPTABILITY & CREATIVITY
For us, each situation and each project is unique. The capacity to adapt and the creativity that the Urbaconsulting teams regularly display to appropriately respond to the issues and challenges of each situation have become one of the hallmarks of our work.
QUALITY & EFFICIENCY
We provide workable and sustainable solutions and take care to ensure that, at each project stage, our approach is aligned to the environment, practices, and habits of the local area. We undertake all quality assurance measures needed to meet our clients’ requirements on each of our assignments. We are able to rapidly deploy our team, we commit to client timescales and to ensuring all deadlines are met, and we are able to ramp up the deployment of our staff should the need arise.
COLLABORATION & SHARING
We systematically work with local partners when conducting our assignments. We enjoy relationships of trust with all our partners and share common values .
Strengthened by our membership of the Global Development Group, we are able to call upon the skills and network of Hydroconseil, Nexsom and Kattan to further enhance the services we offer.
Created in 2021, Nexsom provides engineering services, with a social focus, to improve access to basic services, solve environmental and housing problems in vulnerable communities of Latin America.
Founded in 2022, Kattan provides an offer dedicated to the energy sector under the objective to promote sustainable, equitable and inclusive access to energy in emerging and developing countries.
Since 2006, Urbaconsulting specialises in supporting stakeholders from the global South to implement their urban development projects. It operates mainly in poor settlements and in fast growing cities.
We are engineers, economists, institutional experts, architect-urbanists who work hand in hand to provide access to essential services (water, sanitation, waste, energy, irrigation, etc.) and improved living environments to inhabitants of developing and emerging countries. We work as well on aspects related to climate change (resilience of cities, impact on water resources, etc.)
Corporate Social Responsability
Reducing the environmental footprint of our consulting firms’ activities
Global Development strives to minimise the impact of its activities on both the environment and the climate. In 2022, a responsible purchasing policy based on CSR criteria will be rolled out with our service providers (office supplies, cleaning products, etc.) and we will also introduce a sustainable management policy for our digital equipment.
The group is also taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. Air travel, with its high fossil fuel consumption, is used only when strictly necessary. The preferred options are rail travel or videoconferencing and these are used whenever possible. Our business policy now includes high-impact client guidelines for justifying the need for certain trips and that promotes our ability to implement projects remotely with the help of trusted local partners. With the support of France’s Region Sud, the two companies will also implement a policy to offset air travel emissions.
In 2022, all employees will sign up to a jointly developed « eco-actions at work » charter , the aim of which will be to reduce energy consumption in the office, encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport (bicycles and electric vehicles), reduce the amount of waste produced, sort waste for recycling, and compost organic waste. Working from home is encouraged and forms an integral part of the team’s working practices.
Prioritizing the sustainable management of natural resources
Global Development advises contracting authorities on the construction of infrastructure that often has an impact on the surrounding environment (water abstraction, wastewater discharge, soil sealing, etc.). For all these development projects, the group prioritises those technical solutions that minimise the impact on the environment at a reasonable cost. We systematically prioritise nature-based solutions. Where large volumes of water are set to be extracted from water resources, the four companies determine the potential impact of this as accurately as possible so that proper control or compensation measures can be defined.
The group’s mission includes achieving the SDGs
CSR is one of the corporate aims of Global Development Group companies, which historically work in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) field. Our team works to strengthen cooperation with local public authorities and civil society to help provide people – especially the poorest – with sustainable and appropriate access to essential public services in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the international community in 2015.
Hydroconseil has a wide range of technical expertise in a number of areas: the environment, climate change, water resources, drinking water, sanitation, solid waste, irrigation and energy. For its part, Urbaconsulting has the skills required to help a region’s stakeholders implement their infrastructure, local governance, social and community approach, and housing action strategies. In their own way, all of these issues deal with preparing people and/or regions for the impacts of climate change.
The group’s human resources are central to our development strategy
Our development strategy is built around our raison d’être, which is itself closely linked to CSR principles: respect for humanist values and the work of our employees; SDG-focused areas of activity; the preservation of our independence (employee shareholding); and a particular focus on the quality and continuity of internal company dialogue between representatives, shareholders and the employee team.
Sustainable development is one of the group’s key internal management priorities and the group measures several Quality of Life at Work (QWL) indicators each year. The aim of our growth strategy is to create jobs, ensure the well-being and fulfilment of our employees the needs of the most vulnerable are properly taken into account.
Improving the quality and accessibility of public services
Global Development’s main corporate aim is to provide expertise and implement projects to improve essential public services (water, sanitation, waste, energy, transport, urban development) in developing countries . Public service is not synonymous with public management.
The group lend its expertise to all types of essential public service project , regardless of whether the public service is provided by a public or private operator under contract with a legitimate public contracting authority. All of the four companies have developed specific public-private partnership expertise, while recognising that these partnerships may not always be the ideal solution in every case.
Promoting universal access to essential public services and conducting environmental and social impact assessments
The group business policy involves focusing on projects and clients that promote access to essential public services for the most vulnerable (the poor, marginalised urban and rural communities, minorities, etc.). For projects where this is not a key priority, the four companies strive to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are properly taken into account.
There are winners and losers in all collective development projects. It would be disingenuous to claim that nobody is ever affected by a project, especially one that involves building infrastructure and thus, potentially, expropriation. Global Development is committed to assessing the impact of the projects on which it works in order to identify the vulnerable population groups that may be affected, propose fair and essential compensation measures and to ensure that these measures are effectively applied.
Forging balanced partnerships and promoting the expertise of professionals from Southern countries
Global Development considers the development of expertise in developing countries not as a form of competition to be overcome, but as a goal to be attained. To this end, the four companies prioritise partnerships that foster the development of professional and capable consultancy firms in these countries:
By setting up joint venture and partnership agreements with firms from Southern countries whenever possible and warranted in order to ensure that services are provided jointly, in a spirit of solidarity and on an equal footing between partners;
By sharing both the benefits and the risks of the contracts won with these partners: the fair distribution of fees, workload, and financial risk, particularly as regards guarantees and deposits.
The four companies operate in countries where working conditions are often harsh and where workers’ rights are not adequately protected by law. In addition to complying with regulations (even where these are ineffective), the group strives to ensure that our partners’ employees’ working conditions, safety and remuneration are satisfactory and that they are not subjected to any form of discrimination due to their language, gender, religion or ethnicity.
Fighting against corruption in public procurement
Global Development categorically refuses to pay any unjustified commissions to win public procurement contracts. The employees have an obligation to uphold this ethical standard by rejecting all requests for unjustified commissions and by promptly reporting them to company management to ensure the appropriate action can be taken.
Using contracts and procedures that reduce the risk of corruption
The group develops and implements internal and external procedures that are aimed at minimising the risk of corruption (contracts, payment processes, etc.).
Helping our clients and partners to protect themselves from corruption
Global Development’s companies provide a wide range of services to assist contracting authorities (preparing detailed technical studies and tender documents, construction supervision and handover). When performing all of these services, the experts of both companies help the contracting authority to put procedures in place that minimise the risk of corruption.
Demonstrating the importance we place on such issues
The rejection of corruption is an integral part of Global Development’s communication policy. It may be publicly discussed by the experts of both companies and further developed in company communication tools (website, brochures).