We live in an unprecedented age of urbanisation. Development in cities is critical for the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. More than half of humanity lives in urban areas, the share is growing, and poverty too is urbanising. Cities are places of economic growth and opportunity, but urbanisation is accompanied by rising inequalities, security and safety concerns and challenges to sustainability. Large segments of the urban population have been confined to informal settlements that have no water or electricity or sanitation. Life in these places is hard. Health is precarious, children are at risk and violence is a daily event.
Watch a video of the seminar
Grassroots groups being able to make their own representation at their community, city, national and global levels is key to creating cities that are for all. Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is a network of community-based organisations of the urban poor in 32 countries and hundreds of cities and towns across Africa, Asia and Latin America. In each country where SDI has a presence, affiliate organisations come together at the community, city and national level to form federations of the urban poor.
Sheela Patel will speak to us about how SDI has evolved over the past two-decades; SDI’s representation on the global commission for adaptations and the value of this participation; and partnerships with IDS and beyond. Sheela will also reflect on why and how spaces for dialogue and citizen-action is shrinking, and what we can do about it.
About the speaker
Sheela Patel is the founder Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an NGO that has been working since 1984 to support community organisations of the urban poor in their efforts to access secure housing and basic amenities, and seek their right to the city. She is one of the founders of Slum Dwellers International, a transnational social movement of the urban poor, whose Board she currently chairs. Patel is widely recognised – nationally and internationally – for seeking urgent attention to the issues of urban poverty, housing and infrastructure onto the radar of governments, bilateral and international agencies, foundations and other organisations.