UN official calls for policies to address rapid urbanisation in developing countries

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Urban sprawl - a view of old Lijian city in China 
Washington: A United Nations official on Monday called for the development of national urban policies to ensure developing countries are not overwhelmed by urbanisation.

Comparing to a tsunami for its staggering growth which can surpass cities' capacities to manage it, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos said, "What we are seeing now is a huge process of urbanisation in the south which goes hand in hand with development."

"You cannot have one without the other. The problem is that the institutional architecture cannot keep pace with urbanisation,”Clos said while speaking at the opening of the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy.

“If there is no proper anticipation urbanisation becomes a mess and if you try to correct the problem afterwards it costs a lot to fix. Countries are overwhelmed by urbanisation. It's like a tsunami.

Urbanisation goes faster than the capacity to manage it,” Mr. Clos said. “We need to re-design our cities to face these challenges.”

Clos stressed the importance of urban planning at national, state, and local levels to avoid informal settlements and slums, as well as high concentrations of people in mega capitals.

He stated that planning policies would help countries provide their citizens with jobs and prosperity while still tackling environmental challenges.

The World Urban Forum was established by the United Nations to examine one of the most pressing problems facing the world
today: rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies.

Organised jointly by UN-Habitat, the Government of Italy, the.Campania Region and the city of Naples, the theme for this year's.meeting, which will be attended by more than 3,000 participants, is The Urban Future.
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