By BBC at 2:55 PM 5/31/2020 (PDT)

After intense and thorough debate, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme has unified into a single bloc and there is no opposition from any member-states. They are close to voting on the draft resolution “Fixing Upper Slum Organization (FUSO) 1.0,” which will attempt to ensure access to adequate housing for urban slum-dwellers. The draft resolution is sponsored by China and the United States, and features five signatories.

The committee is “fully aware of the causes of inaccessible housing” including affordability, legal obligations, and housing discrimination. Keeping in mind the less-than desirable economic state of many nations, the resolution implores each of the member states to recuperate their weak economies by subsidizing the costs of rent, taxes, and other government fees; adjust regulations to lower costs of “formalizing enterprises,” and assist small businesses. While lowering rent could reduce homelessness, it wouldn’t benefit property-owners who depend on rent to pay mortgage and sometimes, survive.

It exhorts legislative reform to promote the legal recognition of tenements and slums, and recommends reformation of tenure to prevent forced evictions. Would legal recognition of tenements and slums encourage their existence? What exactly would legal recognition of tenements and slums entail?

Hence the name, the resolution promotes the creation of an intergovernmental organization composed of representatives of all member-states. It would function as a watchdog to verify the sustainable and effective use of funds and would oversee finances, would work in conjunction with NGOs like Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross as well as oversee mixed-architecture in affordable living spaces.

The resolution is an admirable effort, but is a bit patchy and some areas are slightly questionable. That being said, the BBC would be happy to see a comprehensive solution passed in the United Nations to combat homelessness and slums.

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