Using integrated approaches to environmental infrastructure in informal settlements

Integrating management of sanitary facilities in unplanned or peri-urban communities
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Agenda 21 recommends that developing countries should be assisted at national and local levels in adopting an integrated approach to the provision of water supply, energy, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management; and that external funding agencies should ensure that this approach is applied in particular to environmental infrastructure improvement in informal settlements based on regulations and standards that take into account the living conditions and resources of the communities to be served.

The UN Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched in 1996 the [Multi-agency programme for integrated water resources management in peri-urban areas]. The programme attempts to draw attention to the plight of the 30 to 60 percent of urban populations living in rapidly-expanding, poverty-stricken, unhealthy, unserviced informal settlements, with no security of tenure. These are generally located on the fringes of the formal city, close to industries providing labour for both industry and middle- and high-income residences, and responsible for the informal economy which accounts for up to 20 percent of the city economy.

The programme seeks to promote a multi-agency collaborative approach to the provision of services and management of water resources in peri-urban areas, and to contribute to sustaining the economic vitality of these rapidly expanding areas while safeguarding their ecosystems and improving health and the quality of the living environment for low income groups. The programme themes are: protection of peri-urban water resources; equity and efficiency in water consumption between and among competing sectors (agriculture, domestic and industrial); institutional reforms and human resources development; and broad-based partnerships among public and private sectors and communities.

The Community Infrastructure Upgrading Programme of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was set up under the Sustainable Dar es Salaam Project (SDP). Inadequate trunk infrastructure had prevented the efficient management of the city's growth and development, resulting in approximately 75% of all housing units being developed in unplanned and unserviced settlements. A working group prepared a two point strategy of action to (1) encourage community groups to form associations to define their priority needs, mobilize local human and financial resources, decide affordable standards of provision, seek technical advice, participate in infrastructure construction and accept management responsibilities for operations and maintenance and (2) encourage the city, central government departments and utility companies to respond to such community participation and to form a technical support team of community development officers, planners, surveyors, civil and sanitary engineers. Through this programme, communities are contributing their ideas, energy and money for roads, water and sanitation projects.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 15: Life on Land