| Monograph on the inter-regional exchange and transfer of effective practices on urban management |
TO THE SERIES
The trend, now well known, is irreversible: the number of people living in cities will more than double in 35 years. In 1990 the world's urban population stood at 2.4 billion. In 2025 it is expected to reach 5.5 billion, a trend accelerating in developing countries, whose share of the total will rise from 63% in 1990 to 80%% in 2025.
At the same time, it is clear that past incentives to keep the developing world's people in rural areas-on the theory that growth of cities led only to unemployment-have not worked. The rural versus urban development model has not been successful, because people want to go where the jobs are, and jobs are seen to exist in cities. Thus, it is necessary to help people help themselves to a better life-wherever they are.
There lies an enormous challenge-to prepare the cities and the settlements around them not merely to absorb this population but to assist in finding or creating livelihoods, social services, adequate shelter and an environment in which they can flourish. It is a challenge that will be faced by the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements-Habitat II-June 1996. This series, developed for Habitat II, will help those people preparing for the Conference, those attending it and those working to follow up on Conference commitments with action around the world.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), working closely with the Conference leadership, has produced this series of books. UNDP has a history of working in urban settings and is strongly committed to the goals of Habitat II as goals that fit into UNDP's vision of sustainable human development. That development not only generates growth-it distributes the benefits equitably. It regenerates the environment rather than destroys it. It empowers people rather than marginalizes them. It gives priority to the poor, enlarging their choices and providing for their participation in decisions that affect their lives. And that development is pro-city because it is pro-poor, pro-nature, projobs and pro-women.
UNDP also published in 1991 a strategy paper on urban development cooperation, "Cities, People and Poverty", followed in 1992 by a policy paper on the urban environment. The two papers provided guidelines not only for UNDP but for the UN system.
This new series builds on past publications and provides direct support to UNDP's "Action Package" for Habitat II, with various national, regional and global activities. That package calls for UNDP to work with UN system partners in each developing country to help countries prepare for the Conference and its follow-up by reviewing past policies, selecting best practices for replication, and preparing national urban action plans. UNDP organized, among various other activities, regional workshops in Accra, Amman, Bangkok, Kathmandu, Quito, and Warsaw to build local partnerships with NGOs and others to promote urban development. UNDP called an International Colloquium of Mayors in 1994, beginning a round of activities to strengthen cities' ability to serve their residents' needs.
This series focuses on practical issues-on urban agriculture and sustainable livelihoods, rural-urban linkages, approaches to participatory local governance, gender equality, the role of the informal sector, employment generation and building the capacity of those who administer the cities of the world.
At this point, solid information built on realism and experience is needed more than theory. These books provide such information and guidance. I commend my colleagues at UNDP and the collaborating institutions and agencies for producing this series. I urge our country offices to continue to work closely with the people in each country to make urban life productive and sustainable.
James Gustave Speth Administrator United Nations Development Programme