Slums are a curse and blessing in fast urbanising Africa. They have challenged Africa's progress towards better living and working spaces but they also provide shelter for the swelling populations seeking a life in cities.
Millions of Latin Americans have better access to clean water and decent housing than 25 years ago. But the region still faces serious environmental challenges, such as deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions - a legacy of the model of development followed in the 20th century.
Nompumelelo Tshabalala, 41, emerges from her dwarf ‘shack’ made up of rusty metal sheets and falls short of bumping into this reporter as she bends down to avoid knocking her head against the top part of her makeshift door frame.
“Swachh Bharat”, or Clean India, is a slogan that most Indians today associate with the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his first nation-wide campaign launched soon after taking office in 2014.
While many countries appear to have met the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, rights activists say that African countries which have taken to installing prepaid water meters have rendered a blow to many poor people, making it hard for them to access water.
Although African countries have been lauded for their efforts towards ensuring that people have access to safe drinking water in keeping with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they have nonetheless come under scrutiny for failure to prioritise water in their development agendas.
When the Asian tsunami washed over several Indian Ocean Rim countries on Boxing Day 2004, it left a trail of destruction in its wake, including a death toll that touched 230,000.
The worst floods in the history of Paraguay have forced 300,000 people to flee their homes. Asunción, the most affected area, and other urban and rural areas were flooded by the rain-swollen Paraguay and Paraná rivers, foreshadowing what might happen when the El Niño phenomenon kicks in.
Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Jehan, a student in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, proudly flaunts a yellow and red beaded bracelet encircling her wrist. This humble accessory, she tells IPS, is her most treasured possession.
Speaking of the widespread sanitation crisis, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson was quick to produce staggering numbers: of the world's seven billion people, about six billion have mobile phones but only about 4.5 billion have access to toilets.
Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -development targets agreed upon by the international community, whose 2015 deadline is approaching fast - MDG 7 has proven a particular challenge, especially for sprawling, populous countries like India.
For far too many households in Burkina Faso, going to the toilet means heading for the bush. The Burkinabè government has launched a new campaign to change this, calling on prominent personalities as both sponsors and champions.