the Transition from the Village to the City: Pacific Habitat Agenda
is a recent and predominantly urban phenomenon in the Pacific.
Urban poverty, especially among women and dependent children,
has become a fact of life in all the cities of the pacific, and
in most of the towns. Results of urban poverty in many Pacific
urban centres include proliferation of slums and squatter settlements,
unemployment and under-employment, ethnic tensions and violence,
substance abuse, crime and social disintegration. Rapid urbanization
has also resulted in pressure on urban infrastructure and services,
which local administrations are ill prepared to handle. This has
led to environmental deterioration particularly in managing wastewater
and solid wastes.
Small land-masses, marginalized economies with few employment
creation potentials, higher population densities on habitable
islands and communal land-ownership add unique challenges to managing
the transition from the village to the city in the Pacific. However,
urbanization in the Pacific is relatively new and early recognition
and supportive policies can ensure that the process is more effectively
Given the commonalities among the Pacific Island countries and
their difference when compared to countries of Asia, there is
an urgent need to develop a common sub-regional agenda for action.
The Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat
II) adopted the “Habitat Agenda,” a global action
plan for sustainable development of urban areas, with a particular
focus on improving the lives of the urban poor. The actions outlined
in the Habitat Agenda need to be adapted and prioritized in the
context of the Small Island Developing Countries of the Pacific.
Together with the governments of the Pacific, organizations and
agencies within and outside the United Nations system recognize
the urgency of assisting governments of the Small Island Developing
Countries of the Pacific in developing strategies and actions
to address the challenges posed by urbanization. United Nations
Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) The Urban Governance
Initiative (TUGI) of the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) and the Forum Secretariat have all expressed willingness
to collaborate with UNESCAP to convene a High-level Workshop in
the Pacific to assist the countries of the region to develop a
common agenda for action on urbanization.
The objective of the project is to assist Pacific Island Developing
Countries in developing a common plan of action to manage the
transition from predominantly rural societies to urban societies.
The project will do this by convening a high-level workshop to
discuss and draft a “Pacific Habitat Agenda.” The
workshop will comprise senior national and local government officials
and representatives of civil society organizations, academic institutions
and the private sector from Pacific Island Developing Countries
The Pacific Habitat Agenda will be presented to the next meeting
of the Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries, held
immediately preceding the Sixtieth Commission Session in April
2004. Once adopted, it is expected that the Pacific Habitat Agenda
will serve as a blue print for technical cooperation in urban
poverty reduction and sustainable development for the sub-region.
Senior national and local government officials, civil society
organizations, academic institutions and representatives of the
private sector from participating Pacific Island Developing Countries.
The ultimate beneficiaries will be urban residents in general
and the urban poor in particular.
Links to related documents:
Sub-regional Workshop on Managing the Transition from the Village
to the City: Pacific Habitat Agenda (Nadi, Fiji Islands, 1-4 Dec.