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The UN Millennium Declaration and its Goals

The Millennium Declaration was adopted by Member States of the United Nations in September 2000. It contains eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ranging from eradicating extreme poverty to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The MDGs detail out 18 specific development targets, each of which has a target figure, a time frame, and indicators designed to monitor the extent to which the target has been achieved.

MDG Goal 7, Target 11

The United Nations system assigned UN-HABITAT the responsibility of assisting Member States to monitor and gradually attain the “Cities Without Slums” target, also known as Target 11, which is one of the three targets of Goal 7, “Ensure Environmental Sustainability”. Target 11 is: “By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers”.

PDF Files of Guide to Monitoring MDG Target 11 in English, French and Spanish

UN-HABITAT's Slum Indicators

UN-HABITAT has developed a household level definition of a slum household in order to be able to use existing household level surveys and censuses to identify slum dwellers among the urban population. A slum household is a household that lacks any one of the following five elements:

  • Access to improved water ( access to sufficient amount of water for family use, at an affordable price, available to household members without being subject to extreme effort);
  • Access to improved sanitation ( access to an excreta disposal system, either in the form of a private toilet or a public toilet shared with a reasonable number of people);
  • Security of tenure ( evidence of documentation to prove secure tenure status or de facto or perceived protection from evictions )
  • Durability of housing ( permanent and adequate structure in non-hazardous location)
  • Sufficient living area ( not more than two people sharing the same room).
An Urbanized World … of Slum Dwellers?

UN-HABITAT estimates indicate that in 2001, 924 million people, or 31.6% of the world's urban population, lived in slums. In developing regions, slum dwellers account for 43% of the urban population, compared to 6% of the urban population in developed regions. In 2001, Asia had 554 million slum dwellers, or 60% of the world's total; Africa had 187 million slum dwellers (20% of the world's total), while Latin America and the Caribbean had 128 million slum dwellers (14% of the world's total). Europe and other developed countries had 54 million slum dwellers, or 6% of the world's total. It is projected that in the next 30 years, the number of slum dwellers worldwide will increase to 2 billion if no firm or concrete action is taken to arrest the situation.
Read more slum statistics

Monitoring Urban Inequities Programme

Slums are a physical and spatial manifestation of urban poverty. People living in slums have little or no access to services such as water, sanitation, and solid waste collection. Most of the housing structures in slums are sub-standard and do not comply with local building codes. Often, slum dwellers lack legal ownership of the dwelling in which they reside or any other form of secure tenure. In addition, slums are often not recognized by public authorities as an integral part of the city. This is one of the reasons why there is so little data on slum settlements in many countries.

UN-HABITAT works closely with other organizations and national statistical offices to introduce specific questions and categories to household surveys and censuses, in order to ensure that slum dwellers are considered in the sample of households. With the Monitoring Urban Inequities Programme, UN-HABITAT analyzes the huge development differences within cities, of which slums are a part, and translates them into policy results.
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