People's Stories Equality


In poorer countries, 80% of people with disabilities are unemployed and struggling to survive
by FRA, Light for the World, Fred Hollows Foundation
 
Oct. 2017
 
Writer Lucy Lamble travelled to Mozambique with Light for the World, she wrote this report for The Guardian.
 
At 21, Mateus Mbazo from Sofala province in Mozambique faced a stark choice: starve or steal. Recently orphaned, with disabilities on his right side affecting his arm and leg, Mbazo had to feed himself and his two younger brothers. He had missed out on schooling, and getting a job to earn even a meagre sum was a difficult task so a life as a petty thief seemed the only option.
 
At his church that he heard about an initiative that would change his life: a programme offering training for people with disabilities.
 
Now 23, his biggest concern is not how to provide for his family, but defending the plentiful harvest in his market garden business from local goats, who love to munch on his crops. On his carefully tended plot, lent by the landowner, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, sprouts and lettuce are flourishing.
 
Mbazo’s success is unusual in Mozambique, where people with disabilities are four times more likely to be out of work than their contemporaries. In some places, stigma, such as fear of contagion, persists. This reflects the broader picture within the developing world, where it’s estimated that between 80-90% of disabled people are unemployed – by comparison in the UK that figure is 52%.
 
Mbazo’s training came from international organisation Light for the World together with social enterprise Young Africa. They are working to give people with disabilities the skills to make a living and in a programme in Sofala, have taught 160 young people – alongside more than 13,500 able-bodied students – in subjects from tailoring and cooking to welding and electrical engineering.
 
Young Africa’s director, Aksana Varela, and her team are proud of their efforts: the centre has been fitted out with ramps, lecturers have been trained in sign language and assistive computer software installed in the library. Priority is given to the most disadvantaged.
 
Chef Joana Nhantote, 27, knows how difficult it can be to persuade employers to look beyond a disability. She lost her hearing at 13.
 
“It was hard to find a job… not because of the work itself, but because of the discrimination for me being deaf,” she signs.
 
Now in a permanent job, she says: “It is a bit different from cooking at home. I didn’t know the ingredients, the type of seasoning and how you use it, but now since I finished the course, I can distinguish one from another. I’m a better cook. I love working here.”
 
Restaurant owner Dauva Barrientos admits that initially she found it hard to train Nhantote. “But then I stopped and thought to myself – I need to understand how she does things and how she can best understand me. Whatever I do in the kitchen or here at the restaurant she understands me immediately. I do things and I show her, and then she sees whatever I am doing and she does it exactly how I did it. She’s very smart.”
 
It’s not just finding a job that is a struggle. Families can’t always invest as much in a child who is unlikely to be a future provider. At least half of the world’s 65 million school-age children with disabilities are not in primary or lower secondary school.
 
Professor Tom Shakespeare, chair of Light for the World, says many families don’t seek out what little support is there. “Often people just don’t bother,” he says. “They think, ‘Why would we invest in a disabled child?’
 
“We reach out to the disabled child, support them, make sure that mum or dad sends them to school in the first place. Without education, disabled people are really sunk.”
 
For 11-year-old Marta, who has a malformed lower leg, physiotherapy and a set of crutches have meant she can go to school. Ramps have been installed at her primary school in Buzi, a small coastal town where her father is a fisherman, and teachers are ready to support her.
 
Her mother, Isabel José, says that since Marta’s support worker spent time in the community talking about the issues facing children with disabilities, people have become far kinder towards Marta. “Some of them, they used to laugh at her, looking bad at my child. Whenever that happens I protect my child with all my strength. I explain to them that she didn’t choose to be disabled and that it could happen to any of us,” she says.
 
“The dream that I have for my child is that she focus on her studies, and I expect my child to be a director one day, an engineer, informed with a position in society.”
 
If Marta leaves school with just basic numeracy and literacy, she will already be ahead of many of her peers, chipping away at the inequality of opportunity.
 
The take-up of this new approach – known as community-based rehabilitation – in Mozambique owes much to Sofala’s director of gender, child and social action, José Diquissone Tole, himself blind. “I benefited from an inclusive education,” he says. “It was on my mind that disabled people should be included in their community and work side by side, not in special places.
 
“Everyone understands that this is a good way to include people in society but we need to build a strong network involving other sectors like education and health and we need to look more at the decision-making level.”
 
Shakespeare says governments can see the value. “This is a hard-to-reach population that are sometimes written off as hopeless but here we have CBR joining the dots, joining the people to existing services and enabling them to be economically productive. Its what everyone wants.”
 
Market gardener Mateus Mbazo is in no doubt of the power of the initiative. “My dream is to develop my skills and become a famous farmer,” he says. http://bit.ly/2y7xSBD http://bit.ly/2gfeQoI
 
Report shows number of people living with blindness set to rise alarmingly, reports The Fred Hollows Foundation.
 
Governments worldwide must take decisive action to end avoidable blindness as alarming new figures indicate the number of people living with blindness could triple worldwide by 2050.
 
Research published in Lancet Global Health predicts that without better funding and access to eye care services, the number of people who are blind will rise from 36 million to 115 million over the next 30 years.
 
The number of people who are blind is set to increase dramatically as people live longer and populations rise.
 
On a positive note, the report confirms the prevalence of blindness has declined from 0.75 per cent in 1990 to 0.48 per cent in 2015. This is attributable to action to lift socio-economic development, implement targeted public health programs, and improve access to eye health.
 
"The world is facing a growing population and an ageing population and we need to lift our game and do more," Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan said. "These figures are a wake-up call for governments and communities everywhere to do more to end avoidable blindness.
 
"It''s appalling that four out of five people who are blind don''t need to be when their sight can be saved through prevention, surgery or treatment.
 
"In many cases, The Fred Hollows Foundation can correct blindness with a simple 20-minute surgery that costs as little as $25 in some countries."
 
Key findings in The Lancet''s report include:
 
There are 36 million people who are blind; 217 million people have moderate to severe visual impairment; The prevalence of visual impairment has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.38%.
 
89% of visually impaired people live in low and middle-income countries. 55% of visually impaired people are women; Blindness affects 11.7 million people in South Asia, 6.2 million people in East Asia, 3.5 million people in South East Asia and more than 4% of the population in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
 
"The highest burden of eye disease is in regions where we work like South East Asia, where we have already had an impact but more needs to be done," Mr Doolan said.
 
"The strategies being used around the world have been shown to work, all we need is to get them to the right scale to address the growing global need. We know what to do, we just need the resources to do it."
 
The report also indicates Australasia has one of the lowest rates of blindness, however Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still three times more likely to be blind than other Australians.
 
* The Fred Hollows Foundation works in more than 25 countries including Indigenous communities in Australia to end avoidable blindness worldwide. http://bit.ly/2wRpLrH http://bit.ly/2ygQorq
 
Oct. 2017
 
Independence far from reality for many people with disabilities. (Fundamental Rights Agency)
 
Many people with disabilities in the European Union (EU) still live in institutions. They risk being isolated, marginalised and prevented from living a full, independent life, and face worse conditions than people without disabilities.
 
This calls for systematic changes in the way support for people with disabilities is organised and funded, new reports from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reveal. They suggest what people with disabilities need from the EU and its Member States to enjoy living independently with community-based support, simply taking public transport or shopping.
 
“Too often people with disabilities are prevented from having choice and control over their lives,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “While the EU and its Member States have committed themselves to enabling people to enjoy their right to live independently, in practice realities are falling short. These reports serve as a wake-up call to guide policy makers to ensure this right is fully implemented across the EU.”
 
The ‘From institutions to community living’ reports explore different aspects of the move away from institutions towards independent and community living, a right enshrined in the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They look at: deinstitutionalisation plans and commitments; funding; and the impact this is having on people with disabilities.
 
The reports show that many Member States have deinstitutionalisation strategies which commit them to enabling independent living for all people with disabilities. EU structural funds have also made the transition from institutions to community-based support a condition for receiving funding. However, strategies often lack adequate funding, clear timeframes and targets, and fail to properly involve disabled persons’ organisations, hampering progress. In addition, many Member States still finance institutions.
 
Coupled with a lack of coordination among the many different national and local authorities that offer support, people with disabilities commonly live in worse conditions than people without disabilities. This is especially true if they have severe impairments. This often leaves them feeling excluded and lacking control over their lives.
 
This points to the need to establish clear, properly resourced plans in terms of funding and responsibilities for supporting the closure of institutions and enabling community-based living, such as providing a range of good quality personal assistance options.
 
Adequate community support should exist to support people with disabilities as they leave institutions. Making everyday services like transport, healthcare and education accessible is therefore essential. Involving people with disabilities and their representative organisations in decision making and monitoring progress is also key to ensuring their needs are addressed so they can enjoy their right to live independently. http://bit.ly/2g76k7y


 


By 2050, 3 billion people are projected to be slum dwellers
by UN Habitat, Save the Children, IIED, IDS, agencies
 
The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) – the only source of internationally comparable data on slum dwellers – estimates that 881 million people or 30% of developing countries’ urban populations live in slums (UN-Habitat, 2014). This could rise to 3 billion or 60% by 2050 (UN DESA, 2013, 2014).
 
The particularity of slums among informal settlements, that should be urgently addressed, is the level of perpetual poverty, deprivation and socio-spatial exclusion to which the people residing in them are subjected to live in, a condition that also affects the overall prosperity of the cities and towns in which they exist.
 
The impact of living in these areas is life threatening. Slums are marginalised, often large collections of dilapidated housing regularly located in the most hazardous urban land – e.g. riverbanks; sandy and degraded soils, near industries and dump sites, in swamps, flood-prone zones and steep slopes – disengaged from broader urban systems and from the formal supply of basic infrastructure and services, including public space and green areas.
 
Slum dwellers can experience constant discrimination and disadvantage, lack of recognition by governance frameworks, limited access to land and property, tenure insecurity and the threat of eviction, precarious livelihoods, high exposure to disease and violence and, due to slums’ location, high vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
 
Different vulnerable groups living in slums are particularly affected: women are more likely to have lower education levels and face high rates of teen pregnancies, children are constantly exposed to a whole range of impacts, unskilled youth are excluded from economic and employment opportunities, people with disabilities suffer due to the slums’ dilapidated infrastructure and migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons affected by conflict and economic crisis also face additional levels of vulnerability and marginalisation through their uncertain status and lack of resources.
 
The living conditions of the people living in slums must be improved and slum proliferation halted. National and local authorities should see these as priority urban tasks for them to address and dedicate efforts not only in pursuit of enforcing the poor citizens’ rights but also to facilitate their economic and social progress and, as a result, to boost the overall prosperity of cities and towns. Reducing inequalities in the urban context by integrating the people living in slums into the broader urban fabric makes more prosperous and sustainable cities.
 
* UN Habitat Slum Almanac 2015-2016: http://bit.ly/2tM90k9
 
The changing face of poverty. (World Vision)
 
Our world is rapidly urbanising – now more than half of the world’s population live in urban centres. These patterns are accelerating – more than 60% of the world will be urban citizens by the year 2050.
 
World Vision, like many aid and development organisations, once worked mostly in rural areas. But the state of global poverty has changed. Our commitment is to work with the most vulnerable children and communities – and these days, many of them are in cities.
 
As of 2012, more than one billion children - almost half of the world’s children - live in cities, millions of them in slum conditions.
 
It is estimated that an additional one billion people will live in informal slum communities in 2030. This is the urbanisation of poverty.
 
Urban inequality remains an endemic and worsening phenomenon. Across the globe we see high levels of urban poverty, unemployment and slum dwelling, contrasting with wealthy shopping districts in the city centre and gated communities in the suburbs.
 
Often we think that proximity to services like schools, medical care, shops and public transport automatically translates to access to these essential services. Unfortunately, for the urban poor proximity doesn’t automatically equal access. People living in poverty in urban areas all around the world can be unable to enrol in schools, access medical care or find stable and safe employment.
 
Unlike in rural areas, the main challenge is not the physical distance between families and these facilities but social, political and financial barriers that prevent them from using them.
 
People living in urban areas may live with: Overcrowded living conditions. Lack of access to clean water – or having to pay very expensive rates to buy it from a private water seller. A lack of proper sanitation and hygiene facilities. High rates and spread of disease – slums are often inundated during monsoons leading to urban flooding and the very high risk of epidemic diseases.
 
Pollution, garbage and waste in the streets – a lack of government services means that waste piles up in slums, encouraging the breeding of disease carrying pests like rats and feral cats.
 
Child labour and trafficking – children as young as six or eight can be forced to work long hours in dangerous jobs to support the living expenses in urban centres. Other hazards can include road traffic injuries; sexual abuse; higher levels of violence, high crime rates and gang violence. http://bit.ly/2ePkk8A
 
The Plight of Slums - Global Food Policy Report 2017 (IFPRI - Extract)
 
Slums are settlements characterized by inadequate access to safe water, sanitation, and infrastructure; nondurable and over-crowded housing; and insecure residential status.
 
Slums are often set up on dangerous and unclaimed land, and residents do not pay property taxes that would cover public services such as electricity, water and sanitation, and waste disposal.
 
Given the threat of eviction, slum dwellers often lack incentive to invest personally in housing quality improvements or sanitation and waste and sewage disposal infrastructure, which in turn may have devastating consequences for their health.
 
In 2014, 881 million people lived in slums in the developing world, an increase from 689 million in 1990.In India, 17 percent of urban dwellers, or 65 million people, live in slums. In Peru, 34 percent of the urban population lives in slums. In Uganda, the proportion skyrockets to 54 percent.
 
By 2030, the number of slum residents in low and middle-income countries is projected to reach 2 billion, with most living in Africa and Asia and in smaller cities.
 
This extraordinary growth prompted the United Nations to devote a target of Sustainable Development Goal 11, which focuses on improving cities, to upgrading slums.
 
Life in slums is characterized by overcrowding, indoor and outdoor air pollution, dusty roads, and lack of water, sanitation, and sewage infrastructure, all of which expose residents to a plethora of environmental health risks.
 
Water and food contamination and related infections are particularly common, and affect children disproportionately. Young children living in slums have a greater incidence of diarrheal illnesses and a higher risk of mortality than their non-slum urban peers.
 
Systematic reviews of cholera outbreaks in Africa have sourced them to slum neighborhoods.
 
Exclusive breastfeeding, which offers protection from infections in young infants, was found to be low in slums in India, due to myths and low utilization of health services.
 
Childhood undernutrition is also higher in slums compared with other urban areas, fueling the vicious cycle of poverty and infection and increasing the risks of long-term consequences for cognitive development, economic productivity, overweight and obesity, and related noncommunicable diseases.
 
Respiratory health—affected by overcrowding, indoor and outdoor air pollution, and secondhand smoke is also greatly compromised among slum dwellers. Pneumonia and asthma are prevalent among children, as are tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary and lung diseases in adulthood.
 
Other health hazards affecting slum dwellers include injury due to violence and traffic accidents; flooding and landslides due to lack of infrastructure; industrial pollution and hazardous waste; fire; and stress associated with overcrowding and sharing a physical and social environment.
 
Despite the growing awareness of slums, there is a dearth of government policies and interventions directed at regularizing tenure and improving slum dwellers’ health. Slum health should be accorded policy and research attention in its own right, distinct from the areas of urban health and poverty and health.
 
* Source: A. Ezeh, O. Oyebode, D. Satterthwaite, Y-F. Chen, R. Ndugwa, J. Sartori, B. Mberu, et al., “The History, Geography, and Sociology of Slums and the Health Problems of People Who Live in Slums,” Lancet online (October 16, 2016) From Chapter 3: Food Security and Nutrition: http://bit.ly/2tLUSHF
 
June 2017
 
Who can we trust to measure urban poverty?, by Sarah Colenbrander. (IIED)
 
International definitions of the poverty line don''t take into the account the additional costs of living in cities. Sarah Colenbrander says the urban poor can help institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank develop accurate, local, definitions of urban poverty.
 
The World Bank held its Annual Bank Conference on Africa in June. Africa remains the most rural continent, but it is experiencing extraordinary rates of urbanisation: the United Nations expects Africa''s urban population to triple by mid-century. Only Asia is experiencing faster rates of urban growth.
 
By mid-century, towns and cities on these two continents will need to absorb an additional 2.25 billion people. Governments across Asia and Africa will require international support to meet the needs of this growing urban population.
 
The United Nations and World Bank will be among those at the forefront of these efforts, in line with their own mandates to end extreme poverty.
 
The only problem is the way that their definition of poverty excludes many of the world''s poorest people.
 
What does it mean to be poor? Most can answer easily: not being able to afford enough food, a safe home, clean drinking water, health care and other basic needs.
 
The amount of money a person needs also depends on where they live. The World Bank has set the international poverty line at US$1.90 per person per day. This poverty line is based on the cost of food across a number of low-income countries. It might be an appropriate indicator for people living in rural areas in these countries.
 
But it doesn''t recognise the need to pay for non-food needs, such as accommodation or drinking water. In other words, the international poverty line does not recognise that anyone might live in a city.
 
Cities are booming. India is projected to add 404 million urban residents by 2050; Nigeria is projected to add 212 million. This makes it more important than ever that the World Bank recognises the additional costs of living in cities.
 
The best way to do this would be developing local poverty lines, based on the real cost of getting decent housing, basic services and secure tenure in an area. Local poverty lines would allow governments and development agencies to identify where poor people live and channel aid to them.
 
It isn''t that difficult to measure local costs. The United Nations recognises that in Kenya, hotels in Nairobi cost more than those in Katui or Mwingi, and recommends higher per diems and stipends for its staff in this part of the country. Development practitioners must demand as much economic rigour in our poverty assessments as we do in our per diem calculations.
 
Because of the different costs of different places, measuring income is a weak way to evaluate poverty. A better metric is whether or not households have access to safe, reliable and affordable services.
 
In my view, the United Nations has a poor track record in urban areas. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are the main agencies responsible for measuring access to drinking water and sanitation. They collect data on the number of people with access to an:
 
"Improved water source": piped water into a dwelling/yard/plot, public tap or standpipe, tube well, borehole, protected dug well, protected spring or rainwater, and "Improved sanitation": flush toilet, piped sewer system, septic tank, flush/pour to pit latrine, ventilated improved pit latrine, pit latrine with slab or composting toilet.
 
These water sources and sanitation systems will usually be sufficient in rural areas. However, it is difficult to empty pit latrines in a hygienic way when people live in high numbers on small house plots – as they typically do in cities. The latrines may even overflow during heavy rainfall, meaning that boreholes, tube wells and dug wells may be contaminated with faecal matter.
 
Many urban households may therefore have access to an "improved" water source – but that doesn''t mean that the water is safe to drink.
 
The United Nations routinely underestimates how many people lack access to clean drinking water or hygienic sanitation. This means that many UN agencies overlook the urban poor when advocating to governments or planning development programmes.
 
From Accra to Ahmedabad and Mumbai to Manila, organised groups of the urban poor are collecting extraordinarily detailed data on life in informal settlements. These community-led enumerations record how many people live in each household, what amenities they have, where they came from, where they work, how much they earn, how much they can save, how much the land costs and more. This vital evidence could be used to develop local poverty lines.
 
The Homeless People''s Federation Philippines, for example, has used community-generated data to map households living in hazardous areas such as roadsides, steep hills or floodplains.
 
The National Community Savings Network in Cambodia has documented the low-quality food available in informal settlements, meaning that many of the residents struggle with serious malnutrition.
 
The members of these grassroots organisations might earn more than $1.90 a day – but many are still chronically poor and vulnerable to a wide range of risks.
 
If the World Bank and the United Nations are serious about reducing poverty, they need to know where the poor can be found. Their current measurements can’t tell us that – but the urban poor can. http://www.iied.org/who-can-we-trust-measure-urban-poverty
 
The Urban Disadvantage: Save the Children is publishing its 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers report with a special focus on our rapidly urbanizing world and the poorest mothers and children who must struggle to survive despite overall urban progress.
 
Every day, 17,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday. Increasingly, these preventable deaths are occurring in city slums, where overcrowding and poor sanitation exist alongside skyscrapers and shopping malls. Lifesaving health care may be only a stone’s throw away, but the poorest mothers and children often cannot get the care they need.
 
This report presents the latest and most extensive analysis to date of health disparities between rich and poor in cities. It finds that in most developing countries, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children. In some countries, they are 3 to 5 or even more times as likely to die.
 
* Link to report: http://bit.ly/1IK4H82
 
Putting Children First in an Urban World, by Anthony Lake Executive Director, UNICEF.
 
When many of us think of the world’s poorest children, the image that comes readily to mind is that of a child going hungry in a remote rural community in sub-Saharan Africa – as so many are today.
 
But as The State of the World’s Children 2012 shows with clarity and urgency, millions of children in cities and towns all over the world are also at risk of being left behind. In fact, hundreds of millions of children today live in urban slums, many without access to basic services.
 
They are vulnerable to dangers ranging from violence and exploitation to the injuries, illnesses and death that result from living in crowded settlements atop hazardous rubbish dumps or alongside railroad tracks. And their situations – and needs – are often represented by aggregate figures that show urban children to be better off than their rural counterparts, obscuring the disparities that exist among the children of the cities.
 
This report adds to the growing body of evidence and analysis, from UNICEF and our partners, that scarcity and dispossession afflict the poorest and most marginalized children and families disproportionately. It shows that this is so in urban centres just as in the remote rural places we commonly associate with deprivation and vulnerability.
 
The data are startling. By 2050, 70 per cent of all people will live in urban areas. Already, 1 in 3 urban dwellers lives in slum conditions; in Africa, the proportion is a staggering 6 in 10. The impact on children living in such conditions is significant. From Ghana and Kenya to Bangladesh and India, children living in slums are among the least likely to attend school. And disparities in nutrition separating rich and poor children within the cities and towns of sub-Saharan Africa are often greater than those between urban and rural children.
 
Every disadvantaged child bears witness to a moral offense: the failure to secure her or his rights to survive, thrive and participate in society. And every excluded child represents a missed opportunity – because when society fails to extend to urban children the services and protection that would enable them to develop as productive and creative individuals, it loses the social, cultural and economic contributions they could have made.
 
We must do more to reach all children in need, wherever they live, wherever they are excluded and left behind. If we help overcome the barriers that have kept these children from the services that they need and that are theirs by right, then millions more will grow up healthy, attend school and live more productive lives.
 
* Access the report: http://uni.cf/2tMek7e See also State of the World’s Children 2016: A fair chance for every child: http://uni.cf/2pxTyEC
 
June 2017
 
Globally, the fires of inequality rage on, by Jaideep Gupte (IDS)
 
The global economy is not only complex, it is brutal. With just 600 cities accounting for the majority of global GDP, people are arguing that it is not nation states, but ‘global cities’ driving the world economy. However, to enable this city-centric view, the world economy has become remarkably exclusionary, with devastating consequences even for those who think they are not vulnerable. The fire at Grenfell Tower in London brings home the deep inequalities and class struggle that underwrite the global housing crisis.
 
The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, recently pointed out that ‘the world’s money markets have priced people out of cities, with speculators treating housing as a place to park capital’. What''s worse, is that the structure of land and property markets are such that they reward and reinforce this behaviour. There is constant pressure on local, municipal and building regulations to ease up to make way for investor friendly cities.
 
At the same time, popular opinion is swayed by a coarse weighing-up between social housing on the one hand, and wealth generation on the other. Lest we forget, the former is a basic human right, while the latter is something we should all have a stake in.
 
In the case of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, it is suspected (but as yet unconfirmed) that cheaper cladding material used, and a disregard of fire safety regulations may have been responsible for the rapid spread of the fire. The tower stands in Kensington and Chelsea, one of the most affluent boroughs in London (and the country), and the victims who were from refugee, working class and ethnic minority backgrounds, lived right next to millionaires and billionaires.
 
Renowned economist, Thomas Piketty has shown us that inequality makes us all worse off. And yet, as Saskia Sassen points out in her new book titled ‘Expulsion’, the new global market for land, and the triumph of finance capital, continues to displace a dramatically increased number of people.
 
This has lead to a rise in homelessness due to foreclosures and underemployment, and causing the criminalisation or incarceration of people as a form of social control.
 
One in four people are worried about losing their home against their will in the next five years revealed a survey of nine countries. Simply put: people are being expelled at historically remarkable levels, not only from their habitats, but also from the benefits of the global economic system.
 
The poorest and most marginalised urban residents in the cities of the global South, who live in squatter settlements and in constant fear of their home and their bodies being subjected to the violence of eviction (like the recent fires and brutal eviction in the Otodo Gbame informal settlement in Lagos, Nigeria), find themselves both in the crosshairs of the legal instruments used to formalise urban space, as well as at the mercy of local gangs and non-state security providers who are often deployed to carry out evictions on the state''s behalf.
 
The actors may be different in the cities of the global North, but the process by which global capital trumps local regulation while the under classes are persecuted, is the same.
 
Reportedly, the Kensington and Chelsea council has built just ten new social homes in the last 28 years.
 
We must ask why some of us have safety nets, while others fall through. Why do a very small number of us benefit from the markets for land and property, while the vast majority are at a constant risk of being decimated by the vicissitudes of global financial flows that we have no control over.
 
One way to start answering these questions is to train our sights on local and municipal regulations. We need to ensure these do not perpetuate global inequality locally. We need to ensure that our attempts at generating wealth also champion our basic human rights at the local level.
 
In Lagos, the community has had to vocalise their demands for equal rights through public protests. In London, the residents of Grenfell Tower tried to repeatedly raise their concerns about dangerous living conditions. Their complaints appear to have fallen on deaf ears and many are calling the tragic fire on 14 June a man-made disaster. The fire-fighters, rescue workers and community volunteers were the heroes on the night; but who will douse the fire of inequality that rages on?
 
http://www.ids.ac.uk/opinion/globally-the-fires-of-inequality-rage-on http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/grenfell-tower-fire http://www.ids.ac.uk/idsresearch/urbanisation
 
* Are we underestimating urban poverty? Report from the Overseas Development Institute: http://bit.ly/2u0UIrd http://bit.ly/2v0kBfb http://knowyourcity.info/ http://knowyourcity.info/blog/ http://www.wiego.org/blog/nothing-us-without-us-participatory-processes-and-new-urban-agenda http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2017/03/21/world-s-most-marginalized-still-left-behind.html Urban Humanitarian Response Portal: http://www.urban-response.org/


 

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