World leaders at the United Nations World Summit resolved to achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 and recognized the urgent need for increased resources for affordable housing and housing-related infrastructure.
The final declaration adopted by the world community prioritized, amongst other important reforms and commitments, slum prevention and slum upgrading. In particular, the international community was encouraged to support the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation and its Slum Upgrading Facility.
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, welcomed the declaration stating that not only would the reforms help make the UN more effective, but many of the recommendations would help facilitate the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) committed to improving the lives of the poor everywhere.
“At a time when people are on the move, and already 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in the streets of our cities and towns,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka. “With almost one billion poor people already living in slums, there is an urgent need to find the necessary resources to provide decent affordable shelter. I am therefore encouraged that world leaders have called for increased investment in the Slum Upgrading Facility and affordable housing and infrastructure.”
The United Nations World Summit is the largest-ever gathering of Heads of State and Governments. During the summit world leaders stressed the need for UN reform, the fight against terrorism, and further effort to achieve the MDGs to slash a host of socio-economic ills by 2015.
The result of intensive, down-to-the-wire negotiations, the declaration reaffirms “the importance of an effective multilateral system, in accordance with international law”, to address multifaceted threats and challenges facing the world today. It also reaffirms their commitment to eradicate poverty and promote sustained economic growth, sustainable development and global prosperity for all.
Earlier in the week, on Wednesday, 14 September 2005, at the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, Round Table 1, Mrs. Tibaijuka pointed out that the reality of our times was that people were on the move. With 50 per cent of the world’s population already living in cities, urbanisation is a fact of life. Unfortunately, the full benefits of urban life were denied to one third of the urban population and almost one billion people are now living under appalling circumstances in slums. She therefore reminded the assembled delegates of the urgent need to mobilize additional resources for slum upgrading and housing.