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Asia-Pacific conference releases 'Delhi declaration'

The declaration calls for more resources for affordable housing, prioritising slum prevention and slum upgradation.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 23:04 IST

The first Asia Pacific Ministerial conference on Housing and Urban Development on Saturday came out with the "Delhi declaration" which stressed that political will, decentralization, good governance and the empowerment of national and local authorities are fundamental in addressing the housing and urbanisation challenges in the region.

The immensity of the challenge was evident from the fact that India alone requires US $60 billion to meet the shortage of 25 million houses.

An estimated 43.2 per cent of the urban population lives in slums in the Asia and Pacific region. And unless urgent action is taken, the global slum population may touch 1.4 billion by 2020, with one out of every two persons coming from the slums.

As part of the strategy to turn the challenge of urbanisation into an opportunity for development in the region, the Delhi Declaration — hammered out by over 500 delegates from 69 countries —called for increased resources for affordable housing and housing related infrastructure, prioritising slum prevention and slum upgradation.

It also decided to set up a consultative institutional mechanism---that includes holding biennial ministerial conference and establishing a Bureau and a secretariat to provide a structured approach in dealing with the challenge. As the host of the four day conference, India would chair the Bureau and serve till the next conference.

According to Kumari Selja, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Poverty Alleviation and Urban Employment, the interaction helped to bring out an "enhanced framework" of implementation for sustainable urbanisation in the region by incorporating the interests of all the countries.

"It took note of urbanisation challenges and opportunities, pro-poor urban governance and planning, slum upgradation and prevention, delivery of millennium development goals on water and sanitation in the region, financing sustainable urbanization, and a consultative mechanism," she said.

Earlier, while delivering the valedictory address Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia said $60 million were needed to meet the shortage of 25 million houses in the country.

A holistic planned urban development that involved also private sector and other agencies also was needed, he said, adding that the rural areas were more more deprived and need more subsidised infrastructure.