With over 70% of its populations living in urban areas, the Caribbean population is today increasingly urban. As its urban population continues to grow, the majority come under a diversity of economic, social, cultural and environmental constraints heightened by climate change impacts. As Caribbean urban population and urban areas continue to grow, unprepared and u nplanned territories pose a threat to Caribbean development patterns. Without addressing the informality (informal settlements) through a more robust and inclusive process, achievement in resilient building and sustainable development will be limited.
Caribbean Strategy for Informal Settlements Upgrading (CSISU) recognizes that informal settlements are a product of failures in the shelter, land and housing systems, evident in the lack of capacity to adequately meet shelter needs and provide employment and services in step with urbanization in the Caribbean. While these factors affect households across the socio-economic spectrum, informal settlements are disproportionately burdened, as they are home to a significant proportion of lower income households, whose vulnerability is further exacerbated by climate change. Therefore, the strategy focuses on informality in the region as a policy priority that requires dedicated resources and collective know-how to respond to this major issue. It provides opportunity to galvanize broad-based partnership and innovation development and ultimately promote inclusive urban development and build the resilience of the most vulnerable, making great strides towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11 Target 1 and New Urban Agenda in the region.
The CSISU is guided by global best practice and development goals, aligned with regional Caribbean institutions and policies, and grounded in Caribbean national experience and capacity.
The success of the CSISU is measured in terms of its effectiveness in supporting Caribbean national governments in three ways:
- Serving as a guide for the preparation of national informal settlement upgrading policies, strategies and programs, grounded in international and regional best practices and recognizing approaches and challenges common across the Caribbean region;
- Supporting a knowledge-sharing and capacity building platform to learn from common challenges, adapt innovative responses, and report on progress towards effective informal settlement upgrading;
- Enabling a shift among national governments across the Caribbean region towards the design of city-wide informal settlement upgrading plans and initiatives consistent with CSISU priorities and principles.