World Habitat Day: The Millennium Development Goals and the City

Manila Bulletin, October 3, 2005 | Go to article overview

World Habitat Day: The Millennium Development Goals and the City


THE Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of targets set by the United Nations for the entire world. They include improving the living conditions of at least a hundred million slum dwellers by 2020, and halving the amount of people who lack access to safe drinking water.

Today, both urban and rural aspects of the MDG have assumed tremendous importance. Half a century ago, more people lived in rural areas than in towns and cities. Now the situation is reversed, with more people living in urban areas. Our cities have grown three times, with the army of workers increasing by about 50 percent. The growth will continue to have a tremendous effect on the well-being of future communities. It has already resulted in the development of unplanned areas where problems are arising from the overextension of public services. Many people are concerned about the ability of their communities to retain the qualities that attracted them to move there. People want usable green space around their homes where they can mingle with their neighbors.

With one sixth of the world's population or one billion people living in substandard conditions and areas, upgrading and slum prevention has become critical to the UN-HABITAT, one of the United Nations ageCcies tasked with meeting the Millennium Development Goals of reducing the impact of poverty, illiteracy, hunger, unsafe water, disease, and urban and environmental degradation. …

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