G77 Chair Calls for Global Attention to Sustainable Urban Development
Speaking at the United Nations today in Fiji's capacity as 2013 Chair of the Group of 77 and China, Fijian Ambassador Peter Thomson said that sustainable urban development has become "one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st Century". He called for sustainable cities to be given all due attention in the formulation of the Post-2015 development agenda.
Ambassador Thomson told the UN General Assembly's Second Committee that "a demographic revolution is moving hunger and poverty problems in developing countries from rural to urban areas". He pointed out that with about 50% of the global population already living in cities, the process of urbanisation remains rapid, especially in Africa and Asia.
Ambassador Thomson said that at the Rio+20 Conference of 2012, world leaders had recognised the importance of sustainable cities and sustainable urbanisation. The Group of 77 holds the view that for such sustainability to be achieved, a holistic approach is required, with attention on affordable housing, social services, infrastructure, slum-upgrading and urban regeneration.
He expressed the Group's deep concern on the continuing increase in the number of urban slum dwellers in the world. He said the Group's concern extends to the negative impact of environmental degradation in human settlement and the increasing vulnerability of urban settlers to natural and human-made disasters.
Ambassador Thomson called for continued financial support for UN Habitat. He said the Group urges the UN System organisations to support the Habitat preparations at the country level, including establishment or strengthening of national habitat committees, in the worldwide preparations for the Habitat III conference to be held in Ecuador in 2016.