It is only through collective effort that the Millennium Development Goals can be achieved for the sake of human wellbeing, livelihood, sustainable development and global peace and stability, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka has said.
In a speech read on her behalf at the International Conference towards Sustainable Global Health which recently took place in Germany, Mrs. Tibaijuka said the challenges of promoting human wellbeing, particularly in the area of health, must be addressed in a holistic manner and within a global perspective. She added that the experience of the past decades had strongly confirmed that no community, society or nation, can deal with health issues in isolation.
“This is all the more the case as this symposium is taking place at a critical turning point in human history. 2007 is a year when human beings will become a predominantly urban species, homo urbanus. From now on the majority of people will no longer be rural but urban,” she said.
As cities become the predominant mode of living, the Executive Director noted, the major challenge for public health in the 21st century will be in urban areas. It was interventions in human settlements, and particularly in cities, that would determine our success in achieving national and global health goals, she said adding that there could be no doubt that the mode of urban development and the capacities that are put in place to respond to the challenges of urban growth will have an important impact on our future wellbeing.
“Patterns of future urban growth will affect the incidence and severity of health issues and influence strategies for intervention. The morphology of cities, their density, the dominant age of their present and future populations, accessibility to shelter and basic services, and the structure of decision-making have a direct bearing on the health of populations,” she said.