United Nations: Give voice to slum dwellers
Give voice to slum dwellers in city planning. That was the United Nations’ message for World Habitat Day, celebrated on October 6. “Let us hear from people who live in slums what has worked and what has not — and what we need to do,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to mark the day.
Senior officials with the global body demanded “urgent action” on a new urban agenda that emphasizes safe, affordable housing for the downtrodden, according to the UN. The Secretary-General said the agenda is needed to ensure no one is overlooked as cities undergo economic and technological transformations.
The agenda also would seek to protect vulnerable populations from climate change effects such as soaring temperatures and growing flood risks. And it would aim to blunt the sort of unchecked urban development that displaces the poor or overlooks their needs. More attention must be paid to slums because an estimated 863 million people were living in them in 2012, the UN says. That’s up from 700 million in 2000.
The UN plans to hold a major conference on housing and sustainable urban development in 2016, known as Habitat III. In August, Citiscope Editor-in-Chief Neal Peirce reported on UN efforts to craft “Sustainable Development Goals” for the next 15 years, including a goal related specifically to cities.