Halving the number of slum dwellers between 2015 and 2030 as part of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?


Following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration in 2000, world leaders committed to <<achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020>> (Target 7-D of the Millennium Development Goals).

Globally an estimated 227 million people have moved out of slum conditions between the years 2000 and 2010, yet their numbers continue to grow. In quantitative figures, the target was reached more than a decade prior to the official deadline, however, in reality, new slums are constantly being formed. Consequently, the sheer amount of slum dwellers globally has increased by the net number of 50 million. Some countries have been more successful than others in curbing the trend, but the majority, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa are confronting huge challenges.

Demonstrably, previous methods have been unable to control slum formation and growth at scale in rapidly urbanizing contexts. Consolidated efforts and new innovative approaches are needed to generate both quantitative and qualitative changes on the ground.

Systematic pro-poor interventions including national urban policies should guide central authority. Local authorities should ensure that their cities become inclusive and just, through hosting vibrant economies creating jobs and incomes that would lead to the improvement of the living conditions of the urban populations, particularly the poor. This will empower the lower income groups to access the essentials of decent living conditions, including food, education, health, basic urban services, and housing. Systematic changes should aim at improving access to land and adequate housing, security of tenure, and slum upgrading and prevention. 

In partnership with UN-Habitat, the government of Morocco hosted the international conference on <<Making Slums History: A Global Challenge for 2020>>, 26-28 November 2012 in Rabat. Government delegations shared their success stories in addressing slum improvement and preventing the formation of new slums through enhanced delivery of adequate housing. A rigorous exchange of experiences ensued and a declaration was adopted by all the 25 states present, where they committed to “Promoting, ... the definition of a global goal of halving the proportion of people living in slums between 2015 and 2030, to be part of the overall formulation of the new Sustainable Development Goals and of the Habitat III preparatory process” (operative paragraph 7).

The Global Housing Strategy, initiated by UN-Habitat and endorsed by all the countries present in Rabat, is commencing the dialogue aimed at supporting the global process towards formulating the Sustainable Development Goals on urban issues.

What, in your opinion, would help reaching scale to achieve this goal and to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers?