1st joint conference of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries
One out of every three people living in cities of the developing world lives in a slum or other unplanned settlements, the UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said on Monday.
Addressing the first tripartite joint conference of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), European Commission and UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Tibaijuka said there were approximately one billion people living in slums and squatter settlements in the world.
Slum prevalence was highest in sub Saharan Africa (62 percent), followed by South Asia (43 percent) East Asia (37 percent) and Latin America and the Caribbean (27 per cent).
"Already our projections indicate that the number of slum dwellers in the world may rise to 1.4 billion by 2020 if no remedial action is taken,” she said, adding that the ACP countries were most affected."
In her speech, Mrs. Tibaijuka called on the over 200 delegates from 50 countries to review the participatory slum upgrading programme, launched by UN-HABITAT last year and now operating in 30 ACP countries at the cost of nearly 5 million euros.
The Kenyan Minister for Housing, Mr. Soita Shitanda, called on joint efforts by governments, the private sector, development partners, NGOs and informal settlement communities to fully implement policies and strategies to address urban poverty.
“We need to rededicate ourselves to the transformation of our cities and towns into urban economic bases, not just for the present generation, but also for the future ones,” he said.
The European Commission representative said it was up to the governments of ACP states to articulate their needs and define their priorities in the urban sector, during the negotiations for the European Development Fund.
Mr. Andrew Bradley from the ACP secretariat said the group, which will mark its 30th anniversary next year, was committed to reduction of urban poverty and sustainable urban growth.