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The Slum Dwellers of the Pacific

PORT MORESBY, Jul 9 2014 (IPS) - While the United Nations claims to have met the Millennium Development Goal target of improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers well ahead of the 2020 deadline, the fact remains that millions around the world continue to live in informal, overcrowded and unsanitary housing conditions.


In the scenic western Pacific Islands, urban poverty is becoming a huge problem for resource-strapped governments, as internal migration spawns massive settlements, and communities jostle one another for scarce resources like water.

On paper, various governments’ commitments and promises suggest a blueprint for action but for the slum dwellers of the Pacific, each new day dawns in wretchedly cramped rooms, narrow alleyways and interminable lines for communal bathrooms.

While many of these informal settlements are lively and diverse places – playing host to government workers, students and market vendors – they remain a stark expression of the inequality that continues to plague developing countries as the sun sets on the U.N.’s ambitious poverty-reduction plan.


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