(Xinhua) -- Students of MCEDO-Beijing School
grin while facing the photographer’s camera lense during
the break time in Mathare Slum of Nairobi, capital of Kenya.
XINHUA PHOTO -NATURE
says slum eradication must revitalize
devolved system of government to the two tier
national and county governments was good for the
country as it ensures more resources to the
REPORT BY XINHUA CORRESPONDENTS Christine
Lagat and Njoroge Kaburo
(Xinhua) -- Senior UN and government officials on Monday
called on countries to prioritize establishment of innovative policy
and legal instruments alongside new funding kitties to eradicate
slums and enable urban population have access to low cost and
environmental friendly homes.
officials attending 24th Session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council
which kicked off in Nairobi, said that mushrooming slums in
world’s cities place immense hurdles to sustainable development,
threatens social and political order alongside human and ecological
we have met the quantitative target of improving the lives of 100
million slum dwellers, the gains have been eroded by increased
number of new arrivals. To be precise, the growth of slums has
been faster than their eradication,” UN-HABITAT Executive
Director Joan Clos told the participants.
said growth of slums present new challenges to sustainable
development, adding that Kenya’s devolved system of government to
the two tier national and county governments was good for the
country as it ensures more resources to the grassroots and
participation in decision making.
clarified that the world has made incremental progress in attainment
of millennium development targets on improving conditions of slum
dwellers through provision of basic amenities like water,
sanitation, health, education and availability of energy sources.
therefore urge all governments and the Habitat Agenda partners to
ensure that the MDG targets on slums and in water and sanitation
are firmly kept in mind during the discussions on the post-2015
development agenda,” said Clos.
added that urban renewal has occupied center-stage in the
sustainable development agenda globally as government’s partner
with local authorities, private sector and citizens lobby groups to
convert cities into havens of prosperity.
noted that growth of slums present new challenges to sustainable
development, noting that 57 cities globally have enlisted in a
long-term slum upgrading program.
key components of this slum upgrading program involve expanding
space for growth, development of infrastructure, increasing access
to basic services like water and sanitation and promoting
commercial activities to generate jobs for youth,” Clos said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta who officially opened the meeting commended
the crucial role UN-Habitat and UNEP play in helping developing
countries to address sustainable development challenges, President
Kenyatta assured the UN organizations that his Government will
provide all the support needed to enable them to perform their
mandate more effectively.
Kibera slum, for example, sits on 630 acres of land with a current
market value of 63 billion Kenya Shillings or 765 million U.S.
dollars. By giving tenure to the people living in Kibera, my
government will enable them to commercialize their land,”
President Kenyatta said.
Kenyan leader said his government will continue to support the
inclusion of urbanization as a key part of the post-2015 global
development agenda that should transformatively address the main
challenges and opportunities faced by cities and towns in the 21st
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon whose statement was read during the
meeting noted that developing countries have experienced rapid
urbanization but absence of infrastructure, policy and legal
safeguards, has led to growth of informal settlements.
urged governments to prioritize slum eradication in the national
development agenda to ensure citizens have access to basic amenities
like shelter, clean water, sanitation and lighting.
know that the millennium development goal target on improving the
lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 has already
been surpassed. Unfortunately, because of rapid urbanization,
there are more slum dwellers now that there were in 2000,” said
the UN chief.
meeting is being attended by representatives from governments,
multilateral institutions, local authorities and slum dweller
organizations attended the governing council to deliberate on
interventions that would spur urban renewal.
Union provide funding for
slum upgrading in African cities
(Xinhua) -- The European Union on Tuesday announced a
10-million-euros financing tranche to rejuvenate slum upgrading in
eight African countries through community led interventions.
estimated 800,000 slum dwellers in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Niger,
Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of
Congo, are targeted in the new funding to enable them to access
launch of the community managed development fund for slum dwellers
is aimed at ensuring the active participation of slum dwellers in
the slum upgrading process. Local communities will play an active
role in the design and implementation of new housing projects,”
said the acting Project Leader, Slum Upgrading Unit, UN-Habitat,
UN human settlement agency will facilitate the disbursement of the
new funds to enable local communities in the eight African countries
to initiate pilot slum upgrading projects.
revealed to Xinhua in Nairobi that the two-year program will address
secure land tenure, access to water and sanitation alongside
development of decent housing to alleviate overcrowding in the urban
management, ownership, decision making and monitoring of the
projects will be undertaken by communities. The participatory
nature of the projects will ensure that local communities play a
major role in their implementation,” Sommer said.
added that community-based organizations will manage the funds and
monitor their utilization through regular audits.
European Union provided the 10 million euros through its African
Caribbean and Pacific (APC) fund while UN-Habiat will inject 2.5
each of the eight African countries will inject 2.5 million euros to
inject new impetus in slum upgrading in major cities and secondary
African countries are experiencing rapid growth of slums as
populations flock cities to look for greener pastures.
and municipal officials regretted that the rate of urbanization in
Africa has outpaced existing infrastructure such as housing, water,
sanitation and health.
is need to establish policies that facilitate slums prevention and
upgrading at a time when urbanization is accelerating in many
African countries,” said Malawian Minister for Lands and
Housing, Henry Phoya.
minister admitted that the rate of urbanization in Malawi has
accelerated and that the government has rolled out interventions to
ensure that this phenomenon does not harm natural environment and
two thirds of people in Malawi live in deplorable conditions in
the slums. This situation has worsened poverty, crime and disease
in the cities,” Phoya said.
regretted that many African countries have made negligible progress
in the eradication of slums and urged governments to prioritize
development of low cost shelter in the national policies.
need sufficient political will to accelerate progress in slum
eradication. Efficient use of available resources, sensitization
targeting communities and policymakers, will ensure our cities are
rid off slums,” Phoya said.
calls for new vision
to spur sustainable urbanization
(Xinhua) -- The UN human settlement agency on Friday
called for the need for countries to revitalize policies that
promote sustainable urbanization to ensure cities become havens of
economic growth alongside social, cultural and political
UN Human Settlements Program (UNHABITAT) Executive Director Joan
Clos said in Nairobi on Friday that urban renewal is an integral
component of sustainable development.
affects sustainability and when done properly, it could generate
massive economic opportunities for the population. Urbanization
should therefore be addressed as an opportunity for shared
prosperity, inclusion and renewal,” Clos said.
spoke during a media briefing on the upcoming UNHABITAT Governing
Council to be held in Nairobi on April 15-19.
2013 Habitat Governing Council will focus on sustainable urban
development with a special attention given to expanding economic
opportunities for women and Youth.
told Journalists that this year’s Governing Council will devote
significant attention to Rio+ 20 outcomes and the post 2015
the governing council will discuss critical topics like slums and
provision of basic services including water, sanitation, shelter and
have a crucial role in reshaping the sustainable development
agenda. They contribute 75-80 percent of green house gas emissions
and there is need to promote dialogue with governments and local
authorities to explore interventions that reduce these
emissions,” said Clos.
regretted that rampant consumption in cities threatens ecological
and human health alongside civil order in countries. The world is
rapidly urbanizing as rural population flock to cities in search of
UN-HABITAT contends that at the beginning of 21st century, 50
percent of global population lived in cities and if the trend
continues, the figure could hit 70 percent by 2050.
countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have witnessed the
fastest growth of cities in the last decade.
noted that cities are epicenters of economic, social and political
renewal and countries must establish policy and legal tools to
ensure rural to urban migration is regulated and properly
is need to develop national urban policies to ensure growth of
cities does not harm livelihood and the natural environment.
Urbanization should have positive outcomes to the population,”
revealed that UNHABITAT has partnered with 20 countries to develop
progressive national urban policies.
should be pragmatic and simple national policies to ensure all
levels of urbanization from market centers, towns and metropolis are
properly managed,” Clos said.
stressed that unsustainable urbanization breeds economic and social
inequality and attendant surge in crime, disease and
Governing Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly (GA)
and serves as the intergovernmental decision making body of
UNHABITAT. It reports to the GA through Economic and Social Council
Governing Council is composed of 58 members who are elected by the
ECOSOC for a term of four years divided along regional lines as
follows: Africa, Asia and Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and
Caribbean States and Western Europe and other States.
the commencement of the first meeting of each regular session, the
Governing Council elects a President, three vice Presidents and
officers constitute the Bureau of the Governing Council whose
function is to assist the President in the conduct of the business
of the Governing Council.