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    Ban calls for creation of smart cities

    KABUL (PAN): The United Nations chief on Monday called for the creation of better cities through combined efforts of national and local governments, civil society and the private sector.

    "As our world grows predominantly urban, World Habitat Day provides an annual opportunity to reflect on how we can make our towns and cities better places for all," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

    "Better City, Better Life" is the theme of this year's World Habitat Day, whose observance highlights the actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world.

    The urban poor in developing countries -- largely powerless, disenfranchised and under the age of 25 -- were often condemned to a life without basic rights, hope of an education or decent work, he said in a statement.

    "Lacking adequate provision of fresh water, electricity, sanitation or health care, they suffer privations that all too often provide the tinder for the fires of social unrest. Vulnerable to exploitation and corruption, they need and deserve better cities," he added.

    According to the statement from UNAMA, he believed the challenges of urban poverty -- from pollution to criminal gang culture -- were not insurmountable, as many cities were finding solutions.

    "Smart cities recognise the importance of good governance, basic urban services for all, and streets and public spaces where women and children feel safe," Ban concluded.

    mud/pr