QUESTION OF: Measures to improve the housing conditions of population living in slums or informal settlements


CO-SUBMITTERS:Slovenia, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Denmark, Colombia, Netherlands, Qatar, New Zealand, Cambodia.



Recognizing that approximately 1 billion people reside in slums and informal settlements worldwide and that this figure is projected to nearly double by 2030, and triple, by 2050,

Recalling Slum Dwellers International (SDI) to profile slums and cities with having profiled 7,712 slums and 224 cities,

Noting that poor quality of life in slums leads to an average life expectancy of below 60 years of age,

Aware of the lack of basic education for residents of most slums, along with the rapid developments of informal sectors in many slums,

Welcoming the work and positive efforts of organizations such as Slum Dwellers International (SDI) and Cities Alliance in improving the quality of life of slum residents,

Noting that United Nations Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) defines a slum household as “a group of individuals living under the same roof in an urban area who lack one or more of the following: 1. Durable housing of a permanent nature that protects against extreme climate conditions. 2. Sufficient living space which means not more than three people sharing the same room. 3. Easy access to safe water in sufficient amounts at an affordable price. 4. Access to adequate sanitation in the form of a private or public toilet shared by a reasonable number of people. 5. Security of tenure that prevents forced evictions”,

Noting further the necessity for global partnerships to help solve this issue, in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal “Partnerships for the Goals”,

  1.  Calls for United Nations Member States to form an intergovernmental partnership via foreign aid scheme frameworks which would provide support to developing countries in improving housing conditions in slums and informal settlements under the jurisdiction and to be overseen by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to include the following sections of economic policies and guidelines:
    1. All national governments should establish National Slum Upgrading Programs (NSUPs), wherein they would use the aid received in order to improve the conditions of slums in the following ways that reduce the impact of slums:
      1. Provision of potable water sources to slums
      2. Assist with the collection and removal of solid waste in slums in an attempt to improve sanitation
      3. Purchasing of basic first aid medical supplies, which would be provided to residents of the slums
      4. Capacity Building programs for residents in slums in order to develop and strengthen basic skills that would enable them to be hired and perform jobs competently
      5. The creation of long-term plans for financing slum development using monetary aid to ensure an effective utilization
      6. Creation of employment opportunities for the residents of the slums in jobs that would require very little skill
  2. Asks for the creation of a subsidiary body under the UN Habitat called Urban Planning Slum Quality Improvement Commission (UPSQIC) with the primary objective of improving conditions in slums or informal settlements to reduce their impact with secondary focus on urban planning, and this organization would involve:
    1. A structure which would include the following:
      1. Each country with 5% or more of its population residing in informal settlements would be assigned a High-Income country (HIC)
      2. The two countries allotted together would then work in tandem to ensure that urban planning in the developing country is performed in a methodical, stepwise, sustainable manner to reduce long-term impact of slums
      3. Experts and civil engineers from developing countries would sit with representatives of the government of the developed countries and develop long-term housing strategies for the developing countries to ensure a smooth long-term transition of the residents of the slums to improved residential conditions and security of tenure, once again to reduce the overall impact of slums
      4. Each pair of countries would solicit the required amount of monetary aid from the international aid framework detailed above
      5. Each pair of countries would submit an annual report on conditions in slums and informal settlements which would focus on measurement of improvement of conditions in two ways – the percentage of residents having access to secure tenure and the percentage of residents have access to improved sanitation
      6. All Member States of the UPSQIC would meet once annually where the country that achieved the highest percentage improvement in slum quality of life conditions according to the measurement criteria would be recognised and asked to share their methods and approaches
    2. The long-term housing schemes could be achieved through the following ways that take into account the impact of slums on the quality of lives of their residents:
      1. Incremental urbanism or incremental auto-construction
      2. Sites and services schemes
      3. Creation of pertinent and effective incentives systems
      4. Creation of regulatory frameworks for housing markets
  3. Recognises the dire need for education of children in slums in order for a long-term improvement in quality of life and standards of living, and hence recommends policies as follows to help fund and develop a basic, seminal educational infrastructure for slums and informal settlements:
    1. the creation of schooling ideologies based on child rights to create a safe environment and increase enrollment as a basis for effective learning and better access to education for children living in slums and informal settlements, as discrimination and rejection due to social stigma, high stress levels and learning challenges remains  a challenge;
    2. Suggests that Member States, in accordance with their individual constitutions and policies adopt ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs’ with the following terms and objectives:
      1. Countries with existing CSR policies to modify legislation and countries without CSR to introduce CSR policies,
      2. Acknowledging that companies do CSR in fields of their interest, but nudging them to provide services to stop the growth of informal sector including but not limited to possible subsidizing of their raw material, a possible tax credit scheme, grants and other subsidies from the government or any other suitable incentives that States can enact in accordance to local policies and their constitutions
      3. Companies can choose to provide monetary aid to the government to aid in the slum development program, or choose to have a direct impact with programs such as but not limited to training workshops
      4. This money generated from CSR of firms can be invested into the production of low-cost, high-impact education for children in slums or informal settlements, as outlined below
    3. The educational infrastructure would be developed through the following basic steps, which would be subsidised by the government using the money collected from the CSR programmes or from the additional tax revenue generated:
      1. Construction of large, clean buildings where schools could be conducted
      2. Purchasing of the most basic of stationary such as pencils, notebooks, slates or boards amongst others
      3. The schooling would take place in the evening, allowing the hiring of teachers who would teach students outside of normal school hours
      4. The provision of one free meal a day, which would be dinner in order to boost the health of the students
      5. The education would be provided free of charge by the government;
  4. Recommends to Member States the implementation of mass awareness programs concerning the impact of slums causing extremely poor standards of living for people in slums or informal settlements, in regions where there is substantial unplanned urban sprawl and a significant number of slums or informal settlements, wherein:
    1. These awareness programs would be supported and funded by both national Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and international NGOs and other organizations actively involved in improving housing conditions to achieve deepest impact in slum areas, and these could include organizations such as but not limited to:
      1. Slum Dwellers International (SDI)
      2. Cities Alliance
      3. The Asian Coalition of Housing Rights (ACHR)
      4. Homeless International
    2. These NGOs and other organizations should work in close coordination with the governments of Member States and their education ministries in order to make the public aware of the plethora of problems that people in slums and informal settlements face on a daily basis, such as but not limited to:
      1. Violence between rival gangs involving drugs and weapons
      2. The high risk to women of sexual and physical violence
      3. Unhygienic conditions leading to the spread of diseases and epidemics
      4. Structural instability of slums
      5. Lack of drinking water and access to health care
    3. The awareness programs would be delivered to the citizens of the country via three main ways, with an emphasis on the importance of donations to support the cause and where places or links where donations can be made are explicitly displayed:
      1. Through mandatory sessions to parents and students in all educational institutions
      2. Through television commercials on news channels and other popular channels which have the maximum engagement rates
      3. Through social media platforms
    4. Any donations collected through these awareness campaigns would be used by the relevant NGOs and organizations to continue their work in improving the quality of life via housing conditions in slums and informal settlements;
  5. Encourages Member States to look to provide employment opportunities to these lower-income households (keeping in mind minimum wage), in the following manner:
    1. To identify key points specific to different cases of urban sprawl including:
      1. The location of the slums and its proximity to city centres or employment hubs, to understand the employment that would work best
      2. The general population (results can be analysed from the data collection mentioned in 5. a.), to see the diversification of sex and gauge what employment opportunities will benefit the most people
    2. To identify high density areas of the new apartments to consider building government service hubs (i.e. taxi and bus depots, sanitation truck hubs etc), for the following reasons:
      1. Lower-income household tenants will consider finding employment in these services due to convenient proximity
      2. By giving such government jobs, job security (relative to other sectors) will not pose a significant problem, allowing a continual meaningful contribution to the country, and halting the expansion of the informal sector;
  6. Encourages governments of Member States to demolish the aforementioned slums whose residents have been relocated in accordance with the above clause, wherein:
    1. The HODC would supervise the destruction of slums in areas where relocation and secure tenure has been provided
    2. This newly excavated land would then be used in the following manner which would in fact negate to a large extent the impact of slums:
      1. It would be used in a similar manner is the land provided by contractors, and further low-cost housing would be built there
      2. The educational facilities referred to earlier would also be built and developed here
      3. These low-cost apartments would home future generations and newcomers who would now be able to live in structurally stable flats rather than in slums,
      4. This land would serve as an effective method to prevent urban sprawl by ensuring considerably lesser development of slums or informal settlements outside or close to city boundaries;
  7. Asks states to confront and address organized crime and violence in slums and informal settlements, as such settlements are prone to violence and are vastly controlled by non-state actors, with the aim to better establish the state’s physical presence and to realign the allegiance of the population in these areas and communities toward the state and away from the non-state criminal entities by measures such as, but not limited to
    1. generating local intelligence from either the population or rival criminal groups, however, bearing in mind, that cooperation between the state and such latter groups might
      1. indicate the government’s tolerance and/or sympathy for militias
      2. compromise the rule-of-law integrity and thus the trustworthiness of the state
      3. ultimately eliminate and obliterate public safety gains;
    2. consulting a committee of experts, natives, officials and slum dwellers, which  might serve later as an oversight mechanism, including joint police-citizen boards, when taking critical decisions, such as, but not limited to
      1. whether or not announcing force insertion in advance
      2. how to generate local intelligence and how these strategies should be implemented
      3. when to hand over law enforcement to regular or community police forces;
    3. developing the community’s trust in regular police force, which will help sustaining security after initial clearing operations, by them conducting frequent and regular on-foot patrols with intensive nonthreatening interactions with the population and minimized use of force as well as naming streets and making city planning more efficient to make it easier to locate places and people;
    4. Launching campaigns about the effects and consequences of drugs, alcohol and violence to educate the population about these things and helping people who are already showing signs of violence not to relapse by:
      1. setting up facilities where they can get anti-aggression training
      2. increasing security in prisons by offering an educational service, hiring more security personnel and making more checks to prevent blackmails or similar;
  8. Requests the nations to protect especially girls and women from rapes and violence by
    1. Expanding police patrols in public places
    2. Educating about self-defence techniques and offering self-defence courses
    3. Declaring conjugal but involuntary sex a criminal offence
    4. Supporting facilities where women can educate others and share their experiences to raise awareness of the problem
  9. Calls upon governments and Non-Governmental Organizations to support slum dwellers by offering:
    1. areas where they can stay within the community and not in isolated projects and societies, as social and communal isolation serves as a driver for frustration and is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide
    2. plans for methodical, structured, productive and cost effective in-situ upgrading approach instead of forced evictions and effective tools to define these plans such as carrying out of City Development Strategy (CDS) to identify city priorities and thus leading to produce a workable plan for the upgrading programme
    3. a partnership to these dwellers in their slum upgrading programmes keeping them fully informed and actively involved and thus following the principles of assisted self-build along with efficient, sufficient and easy financing and loaning options at affordable interest rates for upgrading, building and extension of existing shelter
  10. Invites all member nations to improve job markets in slums and informal settlements through means such as, but not limited to: 
    1. equipping slum residents who wish to establish a business or company with microfinance which will ensure they can securely take out small loans through the help of organizations such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as:
      1. ensuring slum inhabitants receive aid in setting up bank accounts to be able to set up a business with the aid of organizations such as M-Pesa,
      2. providing guidance throughout the entire process,
      3. decreasing business taxes for new companies entering the market which would create new jobs and allow the companies to grow, 
    2. launching projects with aid from the United Nations Human Rights Program (UNHRP) to devise additional jobs for slum inhabitants that would ameliorate their standard of life such as educators, doctors, and counselors through means such as, but not limited to:
      1. collaborating with pre-existing organizations such as, but not limited to, Doctors Without Borders, Teachers Without Borders, and Therapists Without Borders,
    3. providing slum inhabitants with practical job training and educational programs so they can be better suited to work by organizations such as UN-Habitat and to aid in the reduction of structural, seasonal, and cyclical unemployment and initiate further job options for job sectors that are conducted more feasibly in these rural and underpopulated areas through means such as, but not limited to:
      1. encouraging the trading of domestically produced goods over imported ones, in an effort to sustain populations around rural areas producing local goods, 
      2. establishing further infrastructural facilities which will inevitably result in further job options around rural areas such as farming;
    4. ensuring women can work by providing them with child care and establishing child care centers which would also provide more job opportunities for slum residents;
      1. volunteering opportunities will be available at these centers for slum dwellers, as well as people outside of the slums such as college students,
    5. improving information, making it easier for people to find a job through ways such as but not limited to:
      1. creating an online outlet, if one does not already exist, that would allow for easier sharing of information for both the employer and potential employee,