With urbanization growing worldwide, a United Nations official today called for the development of national urban policies to address the growing trend toward urbanization.
At the opening of the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy, Executive Director of UN-Habitat Joan Clos said the development of urban planning policies will also ensure that developing countries are not overwhelmed by urbanization.
Mr. Clos has compared ‘urbanization’ to a tsunami for its staggering growth which can surpass cities’ capacities to manage it.
“What we are seeing now is a huge process of urbanization in the south which goes hand in hand with development. You cannot have one without the other.” -Mr. Clos
The UN official stresses that the problem is that the institutional architecture cannot keep pace with urbanization.
He adds that if there is no proper anticipation urbanization becomes a mess and if you try to correct the problem afterwards it costs a lot to fix.
“Countries are overwhelmed by urbanization. It’s like a tsunami. Urbanization goes faster than the capacity to manage it.” -Mr. Clos
He emphasizes that countries need to re-design their cities to face these challenges.
Mr. Clos highly stressed the importance of urban planning at national, state, and local levels to avoid informal settlements and slums, as well as high concentrations of people in mega capitals.
Mr. Clos cites that planning policies would help countries provide their citizens with jobs and prosperity while still tackling environmental challenges.
Convened by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Programme for Human Settlements, the World Urban Forum is world’s premier conference on urban issues and the theme of this year’s meeting is The Urban Future.
From 1 to 6 September, the city of Naples, Italy will host the 6th Session of the World Urban Forum.
Reports say urbanization is occurring at an unprecedented rate, especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Fifty two percent of the earth’s population now lives in cities, she cited.
Every week one million people move to cities. Continued rapid urbanization will lead to three billion new urban dwellers.