Slum living remains a reality for million across the globe, presenting a “humongous” challenge for governments, human settlements minister Lindiwe Sisulu said during the closing ceremony of the United Nations’ Habitat III conference in Pretoria on Friday.
Citing figures presented by UN Habitat director Dr Joan Clos, Sisulu said about a quarter of the world’s urban population continued to live in slums and informal settlements, while the number of slum-dwellers around the world continued to grow at about 10% a year, intensifying in many parts of the world.
The proportion of slum-dwellers was most acute in Africa (61.7%), followed by Asia (30%), Latin America and the Caribbean (24%), and Arab States (13.3%). “We have reached consensus around how to tackle the problem of informality.
There is no doubtin my mind that there are commonalities about the problem of informal settlements,” said Sisulu.
“Clearly the issues of legislation and policy firmness, planning, land availability, funding and stakeholder involvement are some things that were prominent in our discussions here.”
Emerging from the conference was a commitment by signatory states to work towards the transition of informal settlements and slums to sustainable neighbourhoods and enhance urban planning and land use.
Governments would further look to upgrading informal settlements and contributing to sustainable livelihoods and inclusive economic growth.
“To this end, I want to encourage all member states present and those that are not here to set our second target, that of ensuring we all contribute to the funds so as to get the desired technical assistance in achieving this goal of a slum-free era,” said Sisulu.