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How to meet the Millennium Development Goals in urban areas

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a Brief of the April 2005 issue of the journal Environment&Urbanization.

SUMMARY:This Brief is on how to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in urban areas

  • both in the informal settlements where those with unmet needs are concentrated and at a city scale. A large and growing proportion of those with unmet needs for water, sanitation, health care and schools live in urban areas. Addressing this will require local governments that are more competent, accountable and able to work in partnership with urban poor groups and their organizations. A growing number of precedents show how this can be done, including: • the nationwide Baan Mankong (secure tenure) programme in Thailand that aims to reach 300,000 urban poor households in five years through community-directed upgrading or new-house developments; • a slum-upgrading framework in Mumbai, implemented through partnerships between local government and federations of slum and pavement dwellers; • new institutions in Central America that finance upgrading and affordable new-house developments for low-income groups (to date, these have reached 400,000 people); and • the initiative by the Methodist Church in South Africa to work with the homeless people’s federation to allocate land to homeless groups. In many nations, representative organizations of the urban poor have demonstrated more effective and less costly ways of meeting the MDG, especially where local governments work with them and international agencies have learnt how to support them.