Delegate Name: Aanya Dogra
Committee: United Nations Development Programme
Topic: Informal Housing
Delegate: Aanya Dogra, Forest Hills Northern High School
As more people are migrating to cities, less affordable housing is available. Housing can be bought at an expensive price due to so much demand. As a result, many people, especially those in the lower economic class, reside in cheap housing. However, these informal settlements, also known as slums, may be dangerous or illegal. These slums pose a threat to sustainable urban development, human rights, and public health. As of 2020, over 1 billion people live in informal housing.
As with other nations, informal housing in Ukraine rises due to challenges posed by urbanization, economic struggles, and political agendas. Previously, while Ukraine was under Soviet rule in the 1960s, The Khrushchev Slums were created. These were assembled cheaply and quickly to accommodate the urban population. However, these three to five-story apartment buildings made of concrete panels or brick had major structural flaws and a low quality of life. The maintenance of communal areas and amenities such as hallways, elevators, and heating systems was overlooked and the number of buildings and homes requiring significant structural repairs grew. As the real estate market grew in the early 2000s, housing supply still struggled. As of 2018, only 1% of the Ukrainian population lives in slums. Yet this number rises as war rages in Ukraine. Citizens are located on both sides of the front lines, exposing them to the risks of artillery shelling and landmines. More become displaced, contributing to the amount of people living in informal settlements. In addition, urbanization, and internal migration have contributed to the growth of informal settlements in major cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.
The war in Ukraine has left nearly 1.5 million homes destroyed. Many rebuilding initiatives in Ukraine have been launched. The UN4UkrainianCities project, led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), commits to the principle of “building back better.” UNITED24’s Rebuild Ukraine program also aids in the restoration of Ukrainian homes. Projects similar to this in times of conflict allow for worse alternatives to be avoided. Programs like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Cities of Solidarity should be repeated to support the integration of IDPs. This event included central and local government authorities, humanitarian and development agencies, international and national non-government organizations, as well as the IDPs themselves. The primary objective was to develop a plan to integrate IDPs at the local level. To keep refugees fleeing Ukraine due to war out of informal settlements, some governments offer €800 to anybody offering accommodation.
Citizens who reside in informal settlements get stuck in a cycle of poverty, and any efforts to prohibit this will allow for a healthy, safe population. Ukraine would like to secure property rights for those currently living in informal settlements, develop infrastructure, and create a support system for countries with large issues in this topic. Ukraine looks forward to working with other countries on this topic.