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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Urban planning and programing

UNICEF Image: .
Boys play football on the streets of Tarlabasi, a relatively poor section of the city of Istanbul located just a few hundred yards from an affluent district.

Hundreds of millions of children and young people living in poverty are often overlooked. Already, one city dweller in three lives in slum conditions, lacking security of tenure in overcrowded, unhygienic places characterized by unemployment, climate-induced disasters, pollution, violence, poor services and competition over resources. Infrastructure and services are not keeping up with urban growth in many regions and children's most basic needs are not being met.

At HQ, UNICEF is responding to these increasing risks by developing global policies & programmes that focus on building sustainable cities for and with children and young people, in close partnership with the private sector and municipal leaders.  In collaboration with Regional and Country Offices, the team focuses on technical assistance to the field, the development of global goods, and high-impact global advocacy to reduce the growing disparities faced by urban children globally.

Key Facts on Children and Urbanisation:

  • The world's urban population is estimated to reach 70% by 2050.
  • About 30% of the world's urban population lives in slums, a statistic that reaches 60% in sub-Saharan Africa.  Worldwide, they number over 1 billion people.
  • Even though cities will account for 70% of the world's GDP, the majority of those earning less than $1 per day will be living in cities by 2040.
  • 60% of urban growth is driven by children born in these cities.
  • While urbanization is a driver of development, it is not without its challenges, particularly for slum dwellers.  Children are most susceptible to the negative aspects of living in slums.