UN-HABITAT experts told officials gathered for the world summit in New York this week how innovative new financing mechanisms could have a major impact in reducing urban poverty and improving the lives of slum dwellers.
They said the projected growth of slums and slums dwellers in developing country cities represented one of the most significant challenges to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Meeting the goals and targets set by world leaders would thus require substantial increases in investment in urban infrastructure and housing to improve the living conditions of the poor.
Participants at the seminar included cabinet Ministers, representatives from international lending agencies, financial credit institutions and large institutional investors.
Mr. Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza, Chief Policy Analyst at UN-HABITAT, presented the findings of UN-HABITAT’s latest flagship report released in London on the eve of the summit, Financing Urban Shelter: Global Report on Human Settlements 2005. The report said close to 3 billion people, or about 40 percent of the world’s population by 2030, will need to have housing and basic infrastructure services. [See: Global report on human settlements 2005].
Other UN-HABITAT representatives highlighted the need to revise and harmonize Goal 7 target 11, committed to improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, with the other goals and targets. They said improving the lives of slum dwellers would have an immediate positive impact on health, hunger, education, employment and economic growth.
The 12-13 September seminar, “Achieving the Millennium Development goals: Mobilization of Resources for Human Settlements in the Cities of Middle-income Countries”, was organized jointly by the Center for Sustainable Urban Development of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, and the University of Rome’s Center for Urban Research for the Developing Countries at the request of the Ministry of Cities of Brazil, the Ministry of Housing of South Africa, and the Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty alleviation of India.