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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs