Urban Issues at the World Summit for Social Development

The World Summit for Social Development gave special consideration to the problems of urbanization. Excerpts follow.


13. Ensuring that fiscal systems and other public policies are geared towards poverty eradication and that they do not generate socially divisive disparities calls for:

(e) Re-examining the distribution of subsidies, inter alia, between industry and agriculture, urban and rural areas, and private and public consumption, to ensure that subsidy systems benefit people living in poverty, especially the vulnerable, and reduce disparities;


21. Urban poverty is rapidly increasing, in pace with overall urbanization. It is a growing phenomenon in all countries and regions, and often poses special problems, such as overcrowding, contaminated water and bad sanitation, unsafe shelter, crime and additional social problems. An increasing number of low-income urban households are female-maintained.

34. Urban poverty should further be addressed by:

(a) Promoting and strengthening micro-enterprises, new small businesses, cooperative enterprises, and expanded market and other employment opportunities and, where appropriate, facilitating the transition from the informal to the formal sector;

(b) Promoting sustainable livelihoods for people living in urban poverty through the provision or expansion of access to training, education and other employment assistance services, in particular for women, youth, the unemployed and the underemployed;

(c) Promoting public and private investments to improve for the deprived the overall human environment and infrastructure, in particular housing, water and sanitation, and public transportation;

(d) Ensuring that strategies for shelter give special attention to women and children, bearing in mind the perspectives of women in the development of such strategies;

(e) Promoting social and other essential services, including, where necessary, assistance for people to move to areas that offer better employment opportunities, housing, education, health and other social services;

(f) Ensuring safety through effective criminal justice administration and protective measures that are responsive to the needs and concerns of the community;

(g) Strengthening the role and expanding the means of municipal authorities, non-governmental organizations, universities and other educational institutions, businesses and community organizations, enabling them to be more actively involved in urban planning, policy development and implementation;

(h) Ensuring that special measures are taken to protect the displaced, the homeless, street children, unaccompanied minors and children in special and difficult circumstances, orphans, adolescents and single mothers, people with disabilities, and older persons, and to ensure that they are integrated into their communities.

The Conference also gave high priority to the related concerns of expansion of productive employment, reduction of unemployment and the promotion of social integration.