Diving Deeper into Urban Slums, UN Habitat Searching for Solutions

By Agence France Presse at 11:12 AM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

When reentering their second day of conferences. UN Habitat resumed discussing the topic of Ensuring Access to Adequate Housing in Urban Slums.

After a full day of debate the intentions of this morning’s session were to firmly establish blocs. However once the Delegation of the United States motioned for a moderated caucus on finance, it was found to be in order and passed.

Although this moderated caucus began strongly, with the United States proposing shelter microfinancing and community managed funds. The moderate caucus expired shortly after leaving the committee proposing alternative topics for a new caucus.

Once established, the Delegation of the United States exercised their first speaker’s rights to inquire the committee whether or not they would be interested in offering slum residents core housing: which would allow homeowners to upgrade their houses based on their environment, type of work and lifestyle. Or alternatively, participatory upgrading which would provide residents greater abilities to influence the designs of their housing, yet the United States recalled that this would be far more difficult to regulate.

This question was left in the air, as the Delegation of China proceeded to propose on constructing eco-cities, emphasizing these cities’ focus on renewable energy sources, powered by sustainable means. This however was met with skepticism from both the Delegation of Russia and the Delegation of the United States. These two delegations inquired whether or not eco-cities would require destroying the land currently taken up by slums and informal habitats, and about the costs which would come with eco-cities.

Although the Delegation of China addressed both concerns, and claimed that sustainable resources are cheaper, the Delegation of the United States remained unconvinced. Yet these concerns were left to be addressed during the 10 minute unmoderated caucus proposed by the Delegation of Russia.

A variety of topics were discussed throughout the unmoderated caucus mainly regarding the people of slum dwellers: their relocation, transportation and safety. These concerns were then elaborated on in a 5 minute moderated caucus with a speaking time of 45 seconds as proposed by the Delegation of China.

Leading into this caucus, the Delegation of the United States highly emphasized the reasons which led people to residing in slums. People reside in slums specifically due to them being closer to the city, thus the displacement of people further away from cities would increase transportation costs and cause them to lose access to the cities which draw them towards the slums. Thus, the Delegation of the United States expressed their beliefs to be that if people are forcibly relocated from slums, they will eventually make their way back. and thus they utilized the unmoderated caucus to once again have these issues addressed.

Ending on a high note, the Delegations of Mexico and China echoed the United States concerns. Subsequently creating a common ground amongst the committee and a plan for when their conference resumed.

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