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UN Report on Urbanisation Sets Down Global Challenges Which Cannot Be Ignored

By June 26, 2007News

Release date: 27 June 2007

In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of world population, 3.3 billion people, will be living in urban areas, a number set to swell to almost 5 billion by 2030.
The State of the World Population Report, Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth examines the challenges and opportunities that this growth poses.

The State of the World Population Report, launched at 12 noon today, 27.6.07, in Dublin, is the flagship annual report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Speaking at the launch, Sean Hand of the UNFPA said, “Within a single generation, the urban population in Africa and Asia is set to double. We have never before seen urban growth like this in terms of speed and scale. Yet the impact of further growth has not captured the public imagination. And surprisingly little is being done to maximise the potential benefits of transformation or to reduce its potentially negative consequences.

“With one billion people living in slums, 90% of those in developing countries, it is clear that the battle to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and cut extreme poverty will be waged in the World’s slums.” Mr Hand continued. “The UNFPA recommend, and I commend the Irish Government to add their voice to this, that we start working with the urban poor, empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.”

The Irish Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, Ms Mary Banotti, officiated at the launch.

The Report dispels the common myth that most urban growth is the result of migration rather than natural increase. Mary Banotti called on policy makers to shift the emphasis from stemming migration to delivering social services and investing in women.

“The current level of unmet need for effective contraception leads to 70 to 80 million unintended pregnancies each year in developing countries. One in three deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if all women had access to contraceptive services. That means 175,000 women lives could be saved each year.
Increased access to reproductive health services would also open possibilities for young women in education, employment and social participation”.

Mary Banotti finished with commending recent Governments for their support for the United Nations Population Fund’

“I welcome the fact that Irish Aid has significantly increased its funding to UNFPA for 2007. I believe that the work of the agency and continued support for community based organisations to meet the needs of the poor in cities and in rural areas will help increase the health and well-being of communities.

“It is now time that politicians, civil society and policy makers take heed of the challenges and opportunities implicit with increased urbanisation and I wish to ensure the congratulate UNFPA on this comprehensive study which will encourage them to do so.” said Mary Banotti.

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Notes: The United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. www.unfpa.org