The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi, has said that the Federal Government is making tremendous strides towards using Habitat lll to make housing and urban development more affordable and sustainable in the country.
The Minister while speaking at the First Preparatory Conference of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, last week said Nigeria has in place a multi-sectoral National Habitat Committee and was forging closer ties with National Habitat Agenda Partners.
She said that the country has extended financial support of US$3.0 million for Habitat lll preparatory activities in Africa, adding that Nigeria participated actively in all the major processes leading to Habitat II at national, regional and global levels, including operationalizing and implementing its outcomes. “We intend to do the same for Habitat lll,” she said.
Eyakenyi reminded the participants that two decades ago, nations of the world converged in Istanbul, Turkey at the Habitat II Conference to review the urbanization challenges, and adopted the Habitat Agenda.
According to her, the conference in 1996 created awareness on the emerging urbanization challenges of the time, and articulated the core principles of the sustainable housing and urban development agenda, which have remained our guiding principle in the last 18 years.
“Since then, there has been no doubt, that remarkable progress all round in a clearer and better understanding of the urbanization process has been made and in achieving sustainable human settlements development globally. However, with the escalating urbanization rates, with both positive and negative impacts and consequences on people, policies and economies, the time has come again, not only to review and assess what had been achieved on the basis of our set vision in 1996, but also to build upon it, and revive its promise of rapid development,integration, unity and aspiration.
“We must therefore, ensure that in 2016, we collectively put in place a practical, pragmatic and action-oriented New Urban Agenda that will transcend the Habitat Agenda. We must jointly evolve a New Urban Agenda that will exert similar lasting influence, building on agreed relevant international sustainable development goals, and with clear goals, principles and plan of action, and of course, ensuring above all, that we leave future generations with a prosperous future.
“Certainly, the hope of a brighter,equitable and more sustainable urban future for all demands nothing less. We observe, with appreciation, that already, much effort is being put into the preparations for Habitat III, with already visible, excellent results emerging, and attested to, by the level of participation at this First Preparatory Session. We certainly look forward, with tremendous excitement and hope, to the new directions that will be set for sustainable human settlements development in the post-2015 era, building on the Habitat II vision and in a harmonized manner,” she said.
Eyakenyi noted that the preparatory process for Habitat III must involve a holistic andobjective review of the Habitat II Agenda, assess accomplishments, best practices and lessons learned in the process, as well as identifythe gaps and challenges to date.
“The preparatory process must address the growing levels of poverty,and identify and tackle new and emerging urban challenges, including the escalating safety and security concerns, social challenges, pollution, and the adverse and devastating impacts ofClimate change.
“It must involve consultations with, and enhance participation of all Habitat Agenda partners (policy makers, development partners, civil society, the academia, parliamentarians, private sector, among others). It is important that we build and strengthen them, and accentuate their positives to evolve an outcome document that is all embracing and reflective of the aspirations and hopes of all,” she reasoned.
Source : SunOnline