The 2006 State of the World’s Cities report revealed, for the first time, that slum dwellers are just as likely to suffer from hunger and malnutrition as are the rural poor.

“Women living in slums are more exposed to HIV and Aids than any other segment of the population and that child mortality is consistently high even in countries with robust campaigns and programmes to protect child health,” said Anna Tibaijuka of the UN-Habitat at its 21st governing council session.

She also said slum formation was growing at the same rate of urban growth.

Probably one of the grittiest issues is unlawful eviction, not because dirty water and infant mortality are less important issues but because eviction is a contributing factor for many other problems. Last year millions of those living in urban slums were evicted forcefully from their homes, thereby furthering urban poverty.

The Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (AGFE) was created by UN-Habitat in 2004 to prevent unlawful eviction especially in urban areas.

But even though many governments are signatories to international covenants related to housing rights, the widespread practice of forced eviction works against sustainable urban development.