The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco announced that it will host the meeting to review the mid-term progress towards the Millennium Development Goal target on slum improvement.
The announcement of the meeting was made on the opening day of UN-HABITAT’s Governing Council which is underway in Nairobi. Abdelilah Benryane, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to UN-HABITAT and Joan Clos, UN-HABITAT Executive Director signed the official agreement for the organization of the conference in the presence of Ahmed Taoufiq Hejira, Morocco’s Minister for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning.
Speaking at the signing, Mr. Hejira said that he was pleased that Rabat would be hosting the important meeting, to be held in November this year, and that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by Mr Benryane, would work with UN-HABITAT to ensure that the conference is a success.
The proportion of the urban population living in slums decreased from 39% in 2000 to 32% in 2010 which represents a reduction of about 22 million people every year. However, the urban divide continues to widen as the absolute number of people living in slums has increased due to a steady increase in the overall urban population which is rising at an estimated at 58 million per year in developing countries.
By 2020, the slum population is expected to reach 900 million people. Morocco is one of the countries applying sound approaches promoted by UN-HABITAT to improve the conditions of the urban poor. The country received the Habitat Award in Shanghai in October 2010 for its Cities without Slums drive which invested 25 billion dirhams (USD 2.86 billion) to improve or eliminate slums in 85 cities from 2004 to 2012.
The mid-term review meeting will invite participants from central and local Governments, the civil society, including representatives of slum dweller organizations, the private and academic sectors, together with development agencies, to review successful national and local slum upgrading policies and make recommendations for achieving the MDG target of significantly improving the lives of slum dwellers by 2020.