About Up for Slum Dwellers


About Up for Slum Dwellers

Up for Slum Dwellers – Transforming a Billion Lives is a global appeal campaign for UN-Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP). As such, it is also part of – and puts into action – the World Urban Campaign (WUC).

By reaching out to new partners for scaling-up PSUP, the aim of this campaign is to bring about a new paradigm for the way the world responds to the upgrading of slums and prevents their further formation –one that considers both recognising the challenges and realising the potential of slum dwellers, that gives priority to integrate and not to eradicate them, that focus on improving slum dwellers’ living conditions while preserving their current social fabric and benefiting from their knowledge. In short, a paradigm that aims at giving a sustainable solution to this dire problem by the year 2030, in line with the Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PSUP transforms the lives of slum dwellers through advocacy and action on the ground to improve their living conditions, building enhanced and broad partnerships to identify what is most needed, encouraging inclusive policy, developing strategies and implementing projects together with slum residents and government authorities to integrate slum areas into the larger urban fabric and economy, and thus realise the potential of the people living in slums, boosting their prosperity and thus the prosperity of the whole city.

PSUP does this by implementing in situ, incremental, climate-compatible, human rights-based, integrated, city-wide and participatory approaches in slum upgrading, thus enforcing the right to adequate housing for all and securing the sustainability of the responses.

Today, in our world, one in eight people live in slums. By 2030, the current one billion slum dwellers will be doubled – a considerably conservative estimate. In many towns and cities around the world slums are increasingly becoming the only housing alternative for the urban poor, one that offers slum dwellers precarious and vulnerable living conditions with limited access to essential services and opportunities for improvement.

Through its focus on the advancement of slum dwellers – an often marginalised and vulnerable group – the upgrading of slums is an efficient and valuable tool to undertake a people-centred development, in order to end the world’s poverty and attain the sustainable development of humankind. Which has been acknowledged by its inclusion in both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Habitat III’s proposed New Urban Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its 17 Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), is aimed at pursuing sustainable development and end global poverty, including urban poverty represented by the one billion slum dwellers. Like the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the 2030 Agenda has highlighted the plight of slum dwellers and made them a focus of goals and targets. This was acknowledged by the endorsement of the ‘urban goal’, SDG 11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” and its Target 11.1: “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.”

In the same document, the need for enhanced partnerships – a key component of PSUP’s approach and implementation set up as well as this campaign – have been set apart through SDG 17, “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development,” whereby the private sector is expressly called on to contribute to sustainable development and prosperity for all. As well as Target 17.17, “Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.”

Similarly, the New Urban Agenda - currently discussed by Member States through the Habitat III United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – proposes as one of its recommendations - the promotion of sustainable cities to put housing at the centre, with the dual significance of both housing ‘at the centre of policies’ and ‘at the centre of cities’. Slum upgrading, in-situ and incremental, is an appropriate tool to implement this objective as it can provide adequate housing for low income urban residents in areas that, in most cases, are already located close to the centre of cities and towns, thus addressing the social and spatial implications of the ‘at the centre’ concept, while linking with broader urban renewal strategies for planned city-infill and local economic development, and meeting the density and mixed-use requirements that are also contained in the New Urban Agenda.

Furthermore, Habitat III’s Policy Paper 10 on Housing, has recently advanced a new strategic approach that includes reforms in five areas, all of which are related to participatory slum upgrading, in particular No.5 ‘Upgrade informal settlements: support neighborhood upgrading programs and incremental housing in informal settlements,’ highlighting the need to institutionalise and integrate slum upgrading to urban development strategies, as supported and implemented by PSUP.

Therefore, the Up for Slum Dwellers campaign aims at delivering more PSUP all over the world, thus helping willing countries, cities and towns meet their renewed goals and obligations related to ending urban poverty and securing adequate housing for all, building up on and scaling up the very committed global partnership for participatory slum upgrading that PSUP has already consolidated in 35 countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific regions.

Up for Slum Dwellers will be embedded to and accessible through the World Urban Campaign’s website.