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Development Account Projects

Building statistical capacity to monitor the Millennium Development Goal Slum Target in the context of natural disasters and housing crisis in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean


In the aftermath of the Millennium Declaration in 2000, UN-HABITAT was given the responsibility to report on the "significant improvement in the lives of slum dwellers", the MDGs Slum Target. However, when the slum target was introduced, there was no globally standard definition of slums. UN-HABITAT was not able to report on the implementation of the slum target until the October 2002; the Global Urban Observatory (GUO) organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) to reach to an agreement on the universally agreed definition of slums. As per the recommendation of the Expert Group Meeting, the urban population living in slums is defined as the urban population living in a household that lack one or more of the following basic services: improved water, improved sanitation, durable housing, sufficient living area and/or security of tenure.

This project is part of UN-HABITAT work programme 2010-2013 (Sub Programme 2) and is part of the Monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals, Goal 7 Target 7D (Target 11). It also assists the agency to be the premier centre of reference on urban issues as per the MTSIP Focus Area 1 (2008-2013).

The workshops brought together census managers from national statistical offices and UN-HABITAT Programme Managers from Asian and African countries. Thirty- Three professionals from sixteen Asian countries attended the Asian workshop, and over forty professionals from twenty three African countries attended the African workshop. The workshops assisted to deepen the analysis of urban poverty and slum conditions at the city level in a larger sample of cities across countries and region using census data. Slum conditions were measured with the full components of shelter deprivation. The workshop has allowed to: strengthen national capacities to produce statistics, indicators and analyses for monitoring of slum and shelter deprivations at the local level using census data; refine the estimation of urban inequalities, in particular the shelter dimension; share country experiences in estimating slum and shelter deprivations, its goals, targets and indicators for national use; pursue and deepen knowledge on geographical targeting of poor areas, by slum mapping; and strengthen cooperation between National Statistic Offices and Habitat Programme Managers.


The general objective of the project is to Building Capacity and Strengthening Partnership between National Statistical Offices and Local Authorities to monitor the Millennium Development Goals Slum target in the context of natural disasters and housing crisis in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Effective Collaboration between National Statistical Offices and Local Authorities in the monitoring of the slum target.
  • Enhanced national and local capacities and skills in the production of housing data associated to natural disasters and housing crisis
  • Strengthened local and national capacities in the use of housing indicators and Geo spatial tools for policy formulation

Implementation Status:

The update and translation of the UrbanInfo Software in French, Spanish and Arabic has helped to disseminate the monitoring tools of the Global Urban Indicators Database to a large number of member states. The UrbanInfo helps countries and cities to store, present and analyze urban indicators on several topics, including housing, security of tenure, water and sanitation--all main component of slums. It also assists UN-Habitat and partners to link information and knowledge to policies and programmes.

In addition to the UrbanInfo, the Guide to set up a Local Urban Observatory was updated. It has been also used to provide advisory services for a better development of local monitoring systems. The Urban Indicators Programme Guidelines (UIP) has also been updated and the Global Urban Indicators Database 2012 published with updated information on slums. The Global Urban Indicators Guidelines have been used to support the development of a Global Exposure Database Four Global Earthquake Model, a project implemented by the Global Urban Observatory and partners. The model was also presented at the World Urban Forum held in September 2012 in Naples (Italy). The same database has also been used for the preparation of the main flagship report of UN-Habitat, the State of the World’s Cities report launched at the above World Urban Forum in Naples. Another important event held with the database is the special session of the Cities Prosperity Initiative at the Africities Summit held in December 2012 in Dakar (Senegal).  

The first workshop of this project on “Sensitization of NSOs and Local Authorities” was held within the international conference “Making Slum History – A Global Challenge for 2020” organized by UN-Habitat on 26-28 November 2012 in Rabat, Morocco. This was a great opportunity for the workshop to widen the range of workshop participants beyond local authorities and National Statistical offices and include stakeholders from various sectors. In the conference was invited the top 20 performers and the bottom 10 identified by UN-Habitat in the improvement of the lives of slum dwellers in terms of durable housing and security of tenure.  Since the workshop was organized within the wider conference, this enabled a link between data and policy in the wider context of reviewing and sharing global progress in improving the living conditions of slum dwellers between 2000 and 2010, and in devising a strategy for inclusive, sustainable and prosperous cities. The major impact is the conclusion of the conference which was translated into a declaration. One of the  commitments of the Rabat Declaration “Making Slum History – A Global Challenge for 2020” is to “Define and reinforce new national monitoring systems and national goals for halving, in each country, the proportion of people living in slums between 2015 and 2030, taking into account the experience gained so far in the implementation of MDG 7-D”.