UN-HABITAT Releases Report on African Cities and Urban Land Markets

23 November 2010: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has launched a report on "The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequalities and Urban Land Markets." The report was announced in Bamako, Mali, during the third African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD III).

The report urges governments to put in place careful urban planning to meet the needs of the poor and notes that, in the next 40 years, Africa will triple its urban population. The report highlights some positive developments including the improvement of slum dwellers across African countries, but notes that Africa will suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change.

The report underscores that climate change is likely to exacerbate urban problems through voluntary or involuntary eco-migration to Africa's large and intermediate cities away from flood-prone localities. It stresses that cities are central in bringing about tomorrow's "green" economic benefits and welfare, the provision of decent jobs, and human well-being, within an environment liberated from the risks and threats of climate change, pollution, resource depletion and ecosystem degradation.

The report provides in each of its regional chapters an assessment of: social and economic geographies; urban land markets; geographies of climate change, including the threats of climate change for different sub-regions; and emerging issues. It notes that the manner in which cities are developed today will affect future options for resilience in the face of climate change. It also emphasizes the role of cities to contribute to global and local climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. The report further highlights that climate change is one of the systemic shocks threatening cities, with short to long-term impacts including: the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, storm surges or heat waves; and slow-onset changes that are semi-permanent or permanent, such as sea level rise, falling groundwater tables or desertification. [UN-HABITAT Press Release] [The State of African Cities 2010 Report] [UN Press Release]