In a joint effort to share housing solutions for the urban poor, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and UN-HABITAT this week showcased a new initiative in Thailand aimed at improving the lives of slum dwellers. At a three-day meeting, organized by the two agencies, 20 government and civil society representatives from Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal and Timor-Leste, discussed in detail how they deal with urban poverty at home with a view to sharing experiences and learning from one another.
They saw at first hand in a visit to Udon Thani north of Bangkok how plans are underway to improve four low-income communities as part of the Udon Thani Cities Without Slums Initiative.
Together with the Community Organizations Development Initiative (CODI) of the Government of Thailand, the Udon Thani Municipality has embarked on an ambitious initiative whereby the four communities have partnered with municipal officials in identifying all slums and squatter settlements in the town, and drawn up action plans for their improvement within a period of five years. The project supports a community-led and managed approach. The people themselves, the Udon Thani Municipality and CODI, provide funding for the upgrading of infrastructure.