India recorded “virtually no” improvement on indices aimed at measuring implementation of the agendas of a 1996 UN conference on urban development, whereas Nepal and Pakistan have made progress, a report has found.
In the run-up to Habitat III, the third UN conference on urban development and settlements, in October, a report called ‘Habitat Commitment Index (HCI)’ was released recently gauging the progress made towards implementing the agendas of Habitat- II conference in Istanbul, in 1996.
Habitat III will be held in Quito in October this year where UN member states will agree on the New Urban Agenda.
In the run-up to the event, the New York-based Global Urban Futures Project released the review report on the progress on the previous urban agenda.
The HCI analyses the progress made in six categories of the Habitat II agenda – Infrastructure, Poverty, Employment, Sustainability, Institutional Capacity, and Gender.
In the last two decades, “the best performers were Pakistan (+2 points) and Nepal (+2 points), while the worst performers were Bangladesh (-2 points) and Sri Lanka (-3.8 points)” among the South Asian countries, says the report.
India, however, slipped marginally by 0.41 points on the HCI scale, lower than the South Asian average of 1.26.
The other countries included in the HCI analysis for South Asia include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“India, with a population of over one billion people, has had virtually no change in the last 20 years in the HCI score.
Overall the country’s HCI has changed by only -0.41,” it says.
The country has improved in the Gender (+6.3) and Poverty (+15) dimensions, while it received negative scores in Institutional Capacity (-19) and Infrastructure (-3.8).
It is interesting to note that the country had minimal increase in the Sustainability (+2) dimension despite plans to implement solar energy projects, the report says.
It says that despite the issue of gender inequality being consistently on the agenda of the government, the “traditional patriarchal norms continue to dominate society, where women are relegated to secondary status in the household and workplace”.
Overall there has been extremely little progress worldwide, with the average HCI score increasing only by 1.49 points, from a global average of 69.68 in 1996 to a current average score of 71.17, the report says.
“The HCI has demonstrated that despite the Habitat Agenda’s 241 paragraphs containing over 600 recommendations, there has been little meaningful change in urban conditions since Habitat II,” it adds.