India has bagged the maximum number of grants from the United Nations-Habitat to fund its youth-led development projects in urban cities.
The UN agency that promotes socially and environmentally sustainable cities, has granted funds for 67 projects in 33 countries across the world.
The projects will involve themes of poverty alleviation, spreading education, improving environment, health and safety for city dwellers.
“Major challenges of the 21st century include the rapid growth of many cities and the decline of others, the expansion of the informal sector and the role of the cities in causing or mitigating climate change,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki—moon said on the ‘World Habitat Day’, marked to reflect on the condition of towns and cities around the world since 1986.
“Evidence from around the world suggests that the governments at all levels are largely failing to address these challenges,” he said, pointing out the growth of overcrowded tenement zones, ethnic enclaves, slums and informal settlements.
Out of some 1 billion slum dwellers in the world today, it is estimated that more than 70 per cent are under 30.
“World Habitat Day is a good chance to look into the problem of people without housing and how to help them,” US President Barack Obama said in a video-taped message at the function held at the National Building Museum in Washington.