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Urban Poverty Alleviation
in Asia and the Pacific

Yap Kioe Sheng
Chief, Poverty Reduction Section
Poverty & Development Division

2004 Summit on Asian Habitat
7-9 November 2004, Hong Kong


Yap kioe Sheng 博士
聯合國亞太經社理事會高官(泰國.曼谷)

1. Asia is rapidly urbanizing: by 2025, more than 50% of its population will be “urban”

Without good urban management, urbanization could turn into an urbanization of poverty

2. The UN estimates that in Asia at present:
·800 million people live on less than $1/day
·500+ million people live in slums

3. Poverty is not only a lack of income, but also:
·lack of productive assets
·lack of access to essential services
·lack of participation and power

4. UN ESCAP’s work is guided by the Millennium Declaration which calls on the international community to halve world poverty by 2015

5. The Millennium Declaration sets specific goals

Millennium Development Goal 7, Target 11 calls for a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020

6. UN ESCAP advocates the right to adequate housing

It promotes inclusive policies that support the poor to take part in and to benefit from development, including better housing

7. The government is a traditional supplier of housing and public services, but it now lacks resources to meet the growing urban needs

8. The unprecedented rate of urbanization demands new ways to mobilize [public and private] resources to improve the quality of urban life

9. The urban poor need land in suitable location and connected to basic urban services; such land is unaffordable in the market
New mechanisms need to be developed to secure land for housing the poor

10. Housing finance is critical to improve housing

Formal and informal financial sectors need to be linked to bring housing finance to the poor

11. Basic services are even more important than the shelter itself

Supported by government, communities can build their own infrastructure

Service delivery to the poor can be privatized to the formal and informal private sector

12. Regulations should allow the formal and informal sector and communities to be involved in housing and service delivery to the poor

13. Housing projects for the poor cannot succeed, unless other income groups are well housed

The private sector must be the primary supplier of housing to middle-income groups

14. UN ESCAP’s role in poverty reduction is to:

·identify and promote innovative practices
·test these under new circumstances
·facilitate exchange of lessons learned
·build capacity to apply new approaches

15. Practices promoted by UN ESCAP:

·public-private partnership in the delivery of basic services to the poor
·community construction contracts
·land sharing, land pooling and readjustment
·community mortgages

16. UN ESCAP is establishing Internet-based Regional Resource Facilities:

·to disseminate innovative practices
·to promote sharing of experiences and lessons learned
·to build capacity for the replication and up-scaling of practices

17. UN ESCAP congratulates the Asian Habitat Society on its work as a knowledge exchange platform

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2004 Asian Habitat Society, All Rights Reserved.