Over the past 10 years or so, one-third of developing countries have managed to reduce the absolute and relative numbers of slum-dwellers among their populations, largely anticipating on the Millennium Development Target in terms of numbers (100 million for the developing world as a whole) and deadline (2020). How did they do it? Public authorities took the responsibility for slum reduction squarely on their shoulders, backing commitments with bold policy reforms, and preventing future slum growth with equitable planning and economic policies.
More specifically, their success was based on five specific complementary approaches: (i) awareness and advocacy, (ii) long-term political commitment, (iii) policy reforms and institutional strengthening, (iv) proper implementation and monitoring, and (v) scaling up successful local projects.
As far as awareness and advocacy are concerned, Indonesia and Vietnam have demonstrated the important role of proper monitoring systems and indicators to collect information and analyse trends. Advocacy also involves disseminating messages on improved conditions for slum dwellers, as exemplified by some cities in India. The latter country also stands out side by side with China and Turkey for long-term political commitment to slum reduction.