Delegate Name: Shyla Chadda
Informal settlements can be used as a possible alternative for sheltering the poor. However, overcrowding and poor sanitation is a major consequence. These residential areas are often in use for illegal housing or informal renting. The UN-Habitat states “…they also create disease, crime, pollution, and poverty…in developing countries, slum dwellers number more than 50% of the population and have little or no access to shelter, water, and sanitation.” The amount of informal settlements has increased to over one billion people, 80% of which is contained in three areas: Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central/Southern Asia. The United Nations has made efforts to create the organization Global Action Plan to transform these slums. According to the United Nations SGDs, due to increasing population and migration, these slums are becoming more apparent in today’s world. One goal they propose is to “ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.”
Kazakhstan declared independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Kazakhstan has been working to reestablish its traditions and culture due to the release of Russia’s control on them. Since then, this has left Kazakhstan in a difficult economic and social position. An unemployment issue has been developed because of this, leaving many in poverty. A large number of migrants from Central Asian countries also resulted in the occurrence of informal settlements. The Kazakh government has no other option but to take a violent approach to these illegal shelters and often punishes them by demolishing the property. However, Kazakhstan realizes the importance of these shelters and has been making efforts to address these challenges. They have created a favorable banking system and given access to mortgage-based credit to improve living conditions. Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital, has been increasing in size. The population has increased from 1.13 million in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2021. Its population is expected to exceed 3 million people by 2030 if this rate continues. This will create new challenges for the sustainable development of housing. Home prices have quadrupled from 2001 through 2016. Because of this, affording to live in the city has been hard for many people. 3.7% of the population was reported to live in slums, or informal settlements in 2022. UNECE, a program that supports Kazakhstan in the development of sustainable living conditions, provides countries with healthy shelters through recommendations and policy advice on housing sector policy.
Kazakhstan urges the United Nations to support and provide a healthier approach toward informal settlements. These shelters have multiple beneficial aspects for the vulnerable, and providing a safe and sanitary environment is crucial to these living conditions. Kazakhstan recommends creating a sub-committee with countries that support the cause of this unfortunate issue by supplying funds. Countries in similar situations should join and contribute toward solving this problem.