chapter
30 Pages

Introduction

ByLuc J. A. Mougeot

Governments across the world have entered the 21st century with a growing recognition that cities should be given much more attention in development strategies than has been the case in most regions and countries so far. In 2000, 2001 and 2002 respectively, the UN Millennium Declaration, the Declaration on Cities and Other Human Settlements in the New Millennium and outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development reinforced the international commitment to sustainable urban development and poverty reduction (UNHABITAT, 2004a). The conversion of the UN Centre for Human Settlements into a fully-fledged programme for cities, now called the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT); the merging of global advisory fora on various urban issues into a single bi-annual summit (the World Urban Forum); the UN system’s growing statistical scrutiny of urban indicators through its Global Urban Observatory and other UN annual reports; all of these developments translate into more widespread and marked changes at national and local levels. Policy makers are coming to admit that better resourced and informed, more inclusive and comprehensive approaches to urban development are needed.