Slum, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2008.
© Alain Grimard, UN-HABITAT
One out of every three people living in cities in developing countries lives in a slum or other unplanned settlement. African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European Union (EU) officials called for greater focus on sustainable urbanisation in ACP countries at the first tripartite conference on Urbanisation Challenges and Poverty Reduction in ACP Countries, 8-10 June in Nairobi.
The conference, the first joint initiative by the ACP, European Commission (EC) and UN-HABITAT, gathered 200 participants from 50 countries to discuss technical, financial and other issues affecting urbanisation. Slum dwellings exacerbate poverty levels and threaten to reverse progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), agreed participants, unified in their resolve to enhance urban development.
A declaration called for urban development initiatives to be reviewed and new ones created, and for ACP governments to place urbanisation at the centre of talks with the EU. It called for the €4M Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme launched last year by UN-HABITAT and funded by the EC - to extend from currently 30 member states to all ACP countries during the 2010 mid-term review of the 10th European Development Fund.
Secretary General of the ACP Group, Sir John Kaputin, underlined the importance of active participation among all urban development partners. Andrew Bradley, the Group’s Assistant Secretary General said: “We all share the view that the biggest challenge to addressing slums and slum proliferation is government policy and strategic urban planning”.
UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Anna Tibaijuka, called for an EU urban policy and recommended a specialised multi-actor coordination body for urbanisation. She said: “UN-HABITAT invites governments to commit, in their national budgets, to the urban agenda especially for participatory slum prevention and upgrading”.