Delegate Name: Giselle Green
Informal settlements are known as housing that lacks critical infrastructure planning, authorization and basic living necessities. Informal Settlements currently make up about 1.6 billion of the Earth’s population’s housing. This poses great risks socially and economically. A major likelihood is illness and death due to overcrowding and lack of resources. This type of housing also tends to stem from places of poverty. Many factors can contribute to the expansion of informal settlements such as: increasing housing prices, population size, and war displacement. This housing layout only increases inequity and illness which doesn’t solve the problem proactively.
Informal housing is an issue we and many other nations face, that affects us from many different aspects, we are in favor of creating a long-term solution to this threat. Algeria has dealt with the issue of informal settlements before. Due to the political conflict in the Western Sahara, many Sahrawi refugees sought safety in our region. Refugees stayed in refugee camps going back as far as 1975. We still haven’t been able to put the Sahrawi refugees in better homing which has become a major problem because of the lack of resources they have access to on the camps. As many nations did, Algeria experienced a wave of urbanization in the 1980’s. This only increased the amount of informal housing. As people tried to move closer to the cities, low-income slums were the only housing choice available for most. The Algerian government acknowledged this issue and decided to invest in improvement programs that would improve the infrastructure of these settlements. Sadly, by implementing this solution, we ran into two problems. First, during an economic crisis in the 1990’s, our government had to take a hiatus on this project because we could not sustain it. This only resulted in a burst of informal settlements. Once our economy was stable again, Algeria was able to continue its modernization project with informal settlements. This revealed that our strategy was only a temporary fix. While the urbanization of informal housing served as a solution for many, it also created a middle class which left a group of people who were still in need of informal housing.
Algeria has tried to tackle the issue of informal housing in the past. We did not succeed in a strong, long-term plan though. We are hoping that with the experiences, knowledge and awareness of the other nations in our committee, we will be able to come up with an infallible solution. Learning from our past mistakes, approaching this issue head-on might not solve the problem in the end. There are many more factors that we as nations would have to address first if we want to truly solve the issue of informal housing. Previously, Algeria’s government simply put money into the modernization programs for the areas with informal housing. As stated before, this did not work because it created a middle class and left informal housing still in demand for many. A solution to this would be targeting the main demographic of people that live in informal housing. A large portion of these people are displaced people from other countries. The Sahrawi refugees in Algeria are still living in refugee camps which is not a sustainable way of living. A solution the delegation of Algeria proposes would be to integrate people living in informal housing into society. A major issue that is faced is being closed off from society and its services. If Algeria put its money into helping people in informal housing find sustainable homes and jobs, it would be much more beneficial than just urbanizing existing settlements. We could do this by creating organizations that specifically target this issue and give guidance to the people in these living situations. On a larger scale, this solution could prove beneficial for many other nations facing this issue as well.
“Risks to Health in Informal Settlements.” International Institute for Environment and Development, www.iied.org/risks-health-informal-settlements#:~:text=Residents%20typically%20lack%20secure%20land,premature%20death%20in%20informal%20settlements. Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.
SDG Indicator Metadata – UNSD, unstats.un.org/sdgs/metadata/files/Metadata-11-01-01.pdf. Accessed 23 Nov. 2023.
“Rethinking the Concept of A ‘Durable Solution’: Sahrawi Refugee Camps Four Decades On.” Rethinking the Concept of a “Durable Solution”: Sahrawi Refugee Camps Four Decades On | Ethics & International Affairs, www.ethicsandinternationalaffairs.org/journal/rethinking-the-concept-of-a-durable-solution-sahrawi-refugee-camps-four-decades-on. Accessed 22 Nov. 2023.