UN's World Urban Forum opens in Brazil

10:23, March 23, 2010      

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The fifth United Nations Human Settlements Programme's (UN-Habitat) World Urban Forum started on Monday in Rio to discuss urban planning, housing, violence in the cities, and the impacts of the urban settlements in the planet, among other subjects.

During his opening speech, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva stressed the investments in infrastructure made during the seven years of his administration, which he said were unparalleled.

He invited the Forum's foreign participants to visit Rio's shantytowns in order to see for themselves the several advances made in public sanitation and infrastructure.

The president said that the government aims at finding an equilibrium among economic growth, wealth distribution and the improvement of the poorer population's life conditions.

However, he said: "We are very far from what we want, but we have done more than many people expected."

President Lula criticized public administrators who care only for putting their own names in highways and viaducts, instead of working to ensure that "the children can play in the streets without having to step on sewage." He note that the best and cheaper thing a politician can do is watching out for the poor.

"The public administrator of the 21st century must plan the cities with more quality of life, and also correct the disorder left by the 20th century governments, which caused many places to become shantytowns," he added.

Some 15,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will last until Friday.

Source: Xinhua
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