UN-HABITAT Highlights the Need to Confront the Challenge of Urbanization in Africa in the Context of Climate Change

16 February 2010:  A conference on Sub-Saharan Africa, held during the first week of February 2010 at Wiston House in Wilton Park, Sussex, UK, focused on the challenges faced by Africa half way between the report of the Commission for Africa, tabled at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, and the target date for completion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.

Participants discussed the progress made and how countries' priorities have changed as a result of emerging global challenges such as the economic crisis and climate change. Anna Tibaijuka, UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director, as one of the Commissioners for Africa, delivered a presentation on "Balanced Development for Africa: The Cities of the Future - Beyond Chaotic Urbanization," emphasizing that climate change increases the urgency to confront the challenge of African urbanization. She noted that urbanization is the second most significant challenge for African countries, after HIV/AIDS, and that rapid urbanization will lead to slum formation, increasing inequality within African cities, and vulnerabilities. She highlighted that UN-HABITAT has been supporting the urban challenge agenda through the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD), a forum of national governments that deal with sustainable urbanization. Finally, she called on the international community to invest resources in housing and urban infrastructure. [UN-HABITAT Press Release]