Cities Alliance and World Bank hold panel discussion on the future of slum dwellers

A Panel discussion titled “Is There New Hope for Slum Dwellers? Reflections from 30 years of Experience.” was held at the National Building Museum 21 October 2009. The event was planned by the Cities Alliance and the World Bank.

 

A Panel discussion titled “Is There New Hope for Slum Dwellers? Reflections from 30 years of Experience.” was held at the National Building Museum 21 October 2009.

The event was planned by the Cities Alliance and the World Bank and hosted by Abha Joshi-Ghani, Manager, Urban Development and Local Government, World Bank.
 
William Cobbett, Manager of the Cities Alliance moderated the discussion. In his opening remarks, he presented a quick overview of how urbanisation has become a critical global issue that can no longer be ignored. Cobbett also outlined the changes in thinking that had taken place over the years with respect to how various stakeholders view the subject.
 
The panel of experts consisted of former World Bank urban planner and architect Roberto Chavez, and World Bank Urban Sector Manager, South Asia, Junaid Kamal Ahmad.
 
Delivering the keynote address, Chavez answered the question posed in the title with a resounding “yes”, but added that a lot of work has to be done before it became a reality.
 
Recounting his professional and personal experiences in the urban field over the past 30 years, he mentioned the countless odds stacked against the slum dwellers of developing countries. These included declining access to basic services, increased vulnerability to effects of climate change and natural disasters, as well as forced evictions. According to Chavez, as long as their communities are empowered and they are treated with social and environmental equity, there really is new hope for slum dwellers.
 
In his remarks to the packed audience, Ahmad pointed out that it had taken a long time for governments and public and private sector stakeholders to realise that solutions to slum dwellers’ problems should come from bottom-up approaches rather than top-down.
 
The discussion concluded with a question and answer session followed by lunch at the Pension Commissioner’s Suite.
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