KUWAIT, May 4 (KUNA) -- The Kuwait-base United Nations Human Settlements
Program (UN-HABITAT) launched on Friday the first report on "The State of Arab
Cities 2012," outlining the problems and challenges facing sustainable urban
development and setting forth the solutions to them.
The launching of the report takes place shortly before the conference on
municipal management and sustainable urban development in the Arab region.
The conference, to be organized by Kuwait Municipality on May 7-9, under
auspices of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, is
a preparatory meeting for the sixth session of the World Urban Forum, slated
for early September in Naples, south Italy.
Commenting on the report, Executive Director of the UN-HABITAT Dr. Joan
Clos said the Arab region is at a critical crossroads in terms of sustainable
development under the ongoing political and social upheavals.
The key challenge is how to rewrite all policies in order to ensure higher
economic growth rates and better living conditions for all segments of people
and in a sustainable way, a statement by Kuwait Municipality quoted Dr. Clos
He noted that the Arab countries constitute the world's most diversified
region in terms of the conditions of cities, discrepancies in the level of
their social and educational levels as shown in the UN reports on their urban
The highest levels of education and urban development were registered in
Kuwait - 94.5 and 98.4 percent respectively on the national level, he added.
The new report shows that 18 percent of the population in the Arab region
live below the poverty line and the oil revues represent 40-50 percent of
state budgets in the oil-rich countries which are poised to achieve most of
the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015.
It suggests launching partnerships among the Arab cities to promote urban
development, realize the regional integration, improve the road and railway
networks, hook up the power grids, and maximize trade exchanges. (end)
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