Achieving the target
Improvements in the lives of 200 million slum dwellers bring achievement of the Millennium target even as rapid urbanisation swells the ranks of the urban poor, according to the latest UN-Habitat research carried in the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report of the Secretary-General. The share of urban slum residents in the developing world declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million of these people gained access to improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing, thereby exceeding the target. This achievement comes well ahead of the 2020 deadline. But despite a reduction in the percentage of urban population living in slums, the absolute number of slum dwellers continues to grow. Fed by an accelerating pace of urbanisation, 863 million people are now estimated to be living in slums compared to 650 million in 1990 and 760 million in 2000. The achievement of the Millennium target does not lessen the need to improve the lives of the urban poor and to curb the increase in numbers of slum dwellers.
Taking into account that the target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers was reached, in April 2011 the UN-Habitat Governing Council adopted a resolution to put in place global and national strategies and frameworks extending beyond this objective. In particular, the Council targeted improved security of tenure, as originally spelled out in the Millennium Declaration. At the outset of Millennium Development Goals monitoring, security of tenure was selected as one of five indicators for assessing progress on the slum target. However, due to lack of globally comparable data, this component was not utilized in estimates produced to date. UN-Habitat and partners have now made considerable progress in developing a methodology consistent across countries and regions to measure security of tenure. Observations using this method are being implemented in 25 cities around the world through Urban Inequities Surveys. People or households are considered to have secure tenure when there is documentary proof of secure tenure status; or when there is either de facto or perceived protection against forced evictions.
The most visible violation of housing rights facing the urban poor today is the practice of eviction without due legal process. Despite existence of ownership or tenancy documents among clear majorities in all cities surveyed, insecurity regarding possible eviction is high, ranging from 45 per cent of inhabitants in Lagos to nearly 20 per cent in Sao Paolo.