"So far, urbanization has been considered negative. (We must think of) how to make it positive and useful. It is an old notion that a large population is burden. But China, which has a large population, can make good progress. They become good consumers and producers," he said while addressing the opening of the third session of the Preparatory Committee of the Habitat III Conference here Monday.
Housing and settlement are problems facing all developed and developing nations. "All of these are a part of our lives, and that is why we always have settlement dilemmas," he said.
Fifty years ago, nearly 30 percent of the global population lived in urban areas and 70 percent in rural areas, because the agricultural sector was an important part of job opportunities, he said.
Today, a majority of the population lives in urban areas, he said.
Even in Indonesia, in the next 30 years, 60 to 70 percent of its population will live in cities, he predicted.
"Why does it happen? Of course, we must realize that the global population continues to increase," he said.
The global population, which currently stands at 6.7 billion, is expected to increase to 9.9 billion in in the next 30 years, while at the same time large tracts of farmland will be needed to meet their food needs, he said,
Nearly 30 percent of the Indonesian population is currently employed in the agricultural sector compared to 40 percent a few years ago. The percentage must be lower in developed nations such as the United States, where just five percent of its population is employed in the agricultural sector, he said.
This means, the greater the success of the agricultural sector the smaller the number of people looking for jobs in urban areas. But if the agricultural sector failed and the number of jobs declined, people would move to urban areas whatever the situation, he said.(WDY)