News / Africa

Report: World Not Prepared to Deal With Rapid Urbanization

Children play in the Makoko slum, in Lagos, Nigeria where houses accessible only by canoe sit on stilts above polluted waters of the Lagos lagoon, January 21, 2011
Children play in the Makoko slum, in Lagos, Nigeria where houses accessible only by canoe sit on stilts above polluted waters of the Lagos lagoon, January 21, 2011
Lisa Schlein
— The United Nations is warning the world is not prepared to meet the needs of rapid urbanization.  Authors of the World Economic and Social Survey 2013 are calling for bold new strategies to address the overwhelming needs of the more than 6.5-billion people who will be living in cities by 2050.

Most of the new urban dwellers will be in developing countries.  The United Nations says the impact on limited resources will be enormous. 

The World Economic and Social Survey says ways must be found to meet increasing demands for energy, water, sanitation, as well as public services, education and health.

The world population is expected to rise to more than nine billion by 2050, with two-thirds living in cities.  The United Nations says about 80 percent of this burgeoning urban population will be found in Africa and Asia.

The survey says sustainable development of urban areas requires integration and coordination, investments to tackle issues such as land-use, food security, employment creation and transportation.

While urbanization is growing, the survey notes, for the first time in history, the absolute number of rural inhabitants is declining. 

Chief of the Development Strategy and Policy analysis Unit, Willem Van Der Geest, says this has far-reaching implications.  He says it has implications for how the food systems and economy of rural society will be organized.

“To have large tracts of land uninhabited as we have known in other country contexts is quite debilitating for agricultural and food systems.  We need sufficient integration with cities...  An integration between the rural and urban economies is absolutely vital for issues of nutrition, food security, and environmental sustainability.”

The survey says sustainable development is key to the eradication of poverty.  The report examines the problem of food insecurity, which affects hundreds of millions of people around the world.  It notes one in eight people are still chronically undernourished. 

Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Shamshad Akhtar, says food production will have to increase 70 percent globally to feed an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050.

“At the same time, we anticipate that demand will continue to shift towards more resource intensive products, such as livestock and dairy, thereby exerting pressure on land, water and bio-diversity sources… There has to be efforts to reduce food wastage.  Currently about 32 percent of the food produced globally is wasted.  To reduce wastage, changes will have to take place in the food chain-production, storage, transportation and consumption,” said Akhtar.

The survey finds the provision of energy to be among the core elements of the sustainable development agenda, along with food and nutrition security. 

The report highlights the U.N. secretary-general’s initiative to end the dependence on traditional biomass as a source of thermal energy.  It calls for improving access to reliable, adequate and high-quality electricity.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid