News / Africa

Urbanization Grows Worldwide

World Urban Forum, Naples 2012World Urban Forum, Naples 2012
x
World Urban Forum, Naples 2012
World Urban Forum, Naples 2012

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The World Urban Forum (9/1-7) gets underway Saturday in Naples, Italy to address the growing trend toward urbanization. About 3-thousand participants from 114 countries are expected to attend the conference. This year’s theme is The Urban Future.



The 6th World Urban Forum will address social, economic and environmental issues. These include quality of life, equity and prosperity, job creation and energy and transportation.

“The World Urban Forum is a U.N. event held every two years, primarily organized by U.N. Habitat. And it’s really a space for people to come together and have a dialogue about urbanization. [It’s] possibly less of a political space, and more of a debate and dialogue space dominated by U.N. agencies, academics and particularly city-level government officials,” said Ramona Vijeyarasa of the anti- poverty organization ActionAid International.

Vijeyarasa, ActionAid’s Senior Women’s Rights Program Manager, is attending the forum.

“We’re actually at a point now where more than half the world’s population lives in cities or urban spaces. And what’s even more interesting is that the pace of urban poverty reduction has been slower than rural poverty reduction. So for us, we’re seeing a real urbanization of poverty. And I think even within the development sector, we’re not talking enough about urban poverty. And yet it’s the issue that’s affecting more of the world’s population than any other, in my view, at the moment,” she said.

Urbanization, she said, has two sides. It can bring marginalization, violence and sub-standard housing for the poor, while at the same time offering opportunities to grow and advance.

ActionAid will take part in a presentation at the World Urban Forum on the insecurity women face in cities. Vijeyarasa said this includes unlit, insecure spaces, police departments that are insensitive to women’s issues and higher levels of crime.

“Really, we’re often talking about migrant women in these areas, as well. So even more isolation and even less access to services and ways of reporting crime and violence,” she said.

She added that better urban planning can address some of these issues.

“Certainly, ideally, we would be looking at cities that are new and emerging. So a lot of the peri-urban or rural communities that are increasingly urbanizing present a really good opportunity to design the city in a gender-sensitive way. But as you know, a lot of the cities that we’re talking about, for example the work we’re doing in Kenya or Ethiopia, are already established cities. So we’re working to try and fix the problem.”

However, Vijeyarasa said there are plenty of solutions available. But she says people must first be aware of the problems before they can solve them.

She said, “I think gender really isn’t necessarily on the table. Urban planning is a very male-dominated sector. And I even expect that the World Urban Forum is a particularly male-dominated space. So the first thing is to get gender on the agenda and to seek accountability from stakeholders, who are responsible for urbanization, urban planning and safety and security. There are all sorts of mechanisms that have been tested in some places: an increased number of female police, training of police forces generally, even training of transport workers have been tried in countries like India.”

She said ActionAid research in Ghana, South Africa and India shows that young women – ages 19 to 24 – are especially vulnerable to sexual and economic exploitation, and face a lack of health and reproductive services.

On the positive side, urban areas offer greater educational opportunities for women and girls, bigger markets for the goods they produce, and a chance to network with other women to form political or lobbying groups.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid