The Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Millennium Development Goals today called for practical, innovative solutions to stemming the growth of slums. Professor Jeffrey Sachs told participants at the Second World Urban Forum that slum-upgrading projects must work at scale and not simply at the pilot project level if they are to be effective in meeting Millennium Development Goal 7, Target 11, which aims to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.
Sachs's call was backed by Mark Hildebrand, Programme Manager of the joint UN-HABITAT/World Bank Cities Alliance, who noted that Target 11 of the Millennium Development Goals – also known as the “Cities without Slums” Target – could only be achieved through a combination of “political commitment, local targets and city- and nation-wide interventions”. He noted that several countries had almost achieved this Target via scaled-up approaches, but a lot still remains to be done.
According to a 2003 UN-HABITAT report, 924 million people, or 31.6% of the world's urban population, live in slums, the majority in the cities of the developing world.
Robert Johnston of the United Nations Statistical Divison highlighted the need to apply all Millennium Development Goals and Targets at the city level and called for the development of urban indicators to monitor the achievement of these Goals and Targets. The Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the world's governments in September 2000, consists of 8 Goals and 18 Targets focusing on a whole range of development concerns, such as poverty, education, environmental sustainability and gender equality.