|Delivery of Basic Infrastructure to Low Income Settlements: Issues and Options (HABITAT, 1986, 42 p.)|
The provision of basic infrastructure, that is, water supply, sanitation, drainage and solid-waste disposal, is essential for safeguarding health, protecting the environment and promoting the efficient operation of human settlements. These services also create opportunities for residents of low-income neighbourhoods to generate incomes and provide incentives to low-income households to improve their shelter and settlements. It is, however, widely recognized that the provision of these services to low-income communities is badly neglected. Nevertheless, recent years have seen an increased commitment on the part of national governments and international agencies to correcting the present situation. To focus attention on the need to improve shelter and services for the poor, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 1987 as the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (IYSH). The IYSH programme, recognizing the role that basic infrastructure plays in overall settlement development, lays emphasis on the provision of basic services as an essential and integral component of the basic strategy to improve shelter conditions throughout the developing countries.
While the need to provide basic services is well recognized, there are a number of factors which have prevented action to change present conditions. Most of these factors relate to inappropriate technologies, weak institutional arrangements and inadequate financial-resource mobilization. This paper attempts to identify the main issues related to the provision of services to low-income communities, particularly the constraints to services delivery, and investigates options for overcoming constraints. The report has been prepared to assist decision-makers and senior professionals concerned with the delivery of services to low-income communities, by demonstrating the broad range of approaches that may be adopted in infrastructure activities during the IYSH.
The actions and reforms necessary to ameliorate the living conditions of the poor vary greatly, depending on the social, political and physical conditions of the concerned country. No prescription can, therefore, be recommended for universal application, and the present report is confined to identifying the most important issues related to the delivery of basic services to the poor and the most promising options for meeting these service requirements.
Dr. Arcot Ramachandran