Brazilian cities will require $4 billion dollars over the next two decades to ensure that poor people have adequate housing, shelter and sanitation, the country’s Minister of Cities, Olivio Dutra, told a conference looking into ways of alleviating urban poverty.
The first National Conference of Cities October 23-26 in the city of Brasilia drew representatives of 3,457 municipalities around the country, members of the cabinet, city mayors and councillors.
The conference is the last stage of a process of elaboration of partnership proposals to make access to adequate shelter, sanitation, secure tenure and urban transport universal in Brazil. It was preceded by a series of country-wide municipal and state conferences in which 350,000 people participated.
Housing sector statistic in Brazil highlight social under-development in the country: 83 million of people do not have access to a sewer system, 16 million lack garbage collection services, 18 million do not have piped drinking water in their homes, while 7 million are without shelter. “We want cities for everybody, by implementing integrated and democratic policies,” Mr. Dutra said.
“The participation of the three governmental levels - federal, state and municipal, the private sector and civil society organisations is necessary to solve urban problems,” he added.
Despite a budget cut, he said the Ministry of Cities had helped 550,000 families from 1,100 municipalities and invested in urbanisation of favelas, slum neighbourhoods, helping 34,000 families, in 34 cities around the country. “This year, 217,000 families from eight states have received adequate shelter and their title deed,” Mr Dutra said.
The national conference in Brazilia is to be followed by an election of delegates to a new National Council of Cities, comprising 70 individuals from different sectors of society such as federal, state and municipal governments, NGOs, popular movements, business and the academic world. It will work closely with the ministry of cities as a consultative and deliberative body for the design and implementation of the national urban and housing policies.
“The United Nations, through UN-HABITAT, promotes campaigns to ensure the creation of adequate shelter and the incentives of participatory management in the cities - two themes that are also included in our public policies for the sector,” said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an address to delegates.