Informal settlements in the Pacific and links to sustainable development

Development Studies Network Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Development Bulletin, 2017, 78 pp. 91 - 96
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
This paper explores the contemporary issues associated with informal settlements in the Pacific in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 11—Sustainable Cities and Communities. We explore the challenges of water and sanitation service provision in informal settlements, and describe steps being made to address these challenges. Finally, we look at the future of informal settlements in the Pacific in the context of sustainable development, examining specific examples of progress in Solomon Islands and Fiji. As urban populations grow, so too have rates of urban poverty and populations residing in informal settlements. Given the lack of suitable housing, large numbers of new settlers have no choice but to live in temporary shelters or on marginal land. Informal settlements are characterised by overcrowding, poor access to services (including water, sanitation and electricity), roads and drainage. Settlement areas are also more highly prone to natural hazards such as flooding due to their location on marginal land including mangroves, riverbanks, floodplains and steep slopes (ADB 2016). Informal settlements can exist in many different forms, from newly established settlements of disparate individuals, to those mimicking rural villages through their more mature governance and micro-economic systems (ibid). This, along with the heterogeneity of Pacific Island countries in general, highlights the need for careful consideration in supporting the sustainable development of informal settlements—an issue that cuts across many of the SDGs. As for all complex development challenges, an inclusive approach is required, as advocated by the SDGs. Governments, civil society, the private sector, donors, multilateral organisations and other actors have roles to play to ensure development progress is made for people residing in informal settlements.
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