UN: Rapid urbanization a threat to sustainable development

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New strategies are needed to address the impacts of rapid urbanization around the world, including increasing demands for energy, water, sanitation, public services, education and health, according to the 2013 UN World Economic and Social Survey.

The survey estimates that nearly 6.25 billion people will be living in urban areas by 2050 with more than half of them living in slum areas with little or no access to basic infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation, electricity, health care and education.

It also calls for changes in food consumption and production patterns around the world in order to reduce wastage, currently estimated at over 32 per cent of total global food production.

Shamshad Akhtar is the UN Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development.

"Our concern is that one in 8 people in the world today are still chronically undernourished. Under current conditions, the target of halving the proportion of poor suffering from hunger by 2015 will not be met in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia particularly. With an additional 2.4 billion people by 2050, food availability will have to increase by 70 per cent globally. Unreliable and low quality energy sources compromise the opportunity in particular of the working poor, who are self employed or run household enterprises. Scenario report presented in the report indicate that in absence of targeted pro-poor energy policies by 2013, some 2.4 billion people will still rely on solid fuels for cooking."

The report notes that although Cities play an essential role in expanding the possibilities for economic growth, innovation and social development, strategic actions need to be taken now to enhance their benefits, while at the same time reducing their threats to sustainable development.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio Geneva.

Duration 2.09″


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