© Mathias Spaliviero
A high powered delegation from the UN-Habitat headquarters comprising of the Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and members of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) last week conducted a highly successful mission to Mozambique where they inspected the agency’s ongoing projects as well as holding meetings with top officials of that country.
The CPR group was composed of representatives from Iraq, USA, Kenya, Russia, Thailand, Zambia, Angola and Mozambique.
Some of the top government officials the delegation met included the Prime Minister, Minister for Coordination of Environmental Affairs, Minister of State Administration as well as the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Housing. The mission also had fruitful meetings with World Bank, European Union delegations and an informal meeting with the Spanish ambassador to Mozambique.
Meeting the UN resident coordinator Ms. Jennifer Topping, the team was told of the important contribution of UN-Habitat in the framework of the One UN initiative in a rapidly urbanizing context like the one of Mozambique.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Development Ms. Amelia Nakhlare thanked UN-Habitat for the cooperation in Mozambique, saying that the agency was working in priority areas of the country. The minister made a specific request to develop a project for Lichinga, Niassa Province, in the north of the country, where mineral resources have been discovered and big infrastructure investments are boosting the urbanization of the area with new socio economic dynamics that need to be guided.
In the meeting with the Prime Minister Mr. Alberto Vaquina, Dr. Clos outlined the strategic areas of interest to UN-Habitat in that country which mainly focused on urban planning, disaster risk reduction, slum upgrading, participatory budgeting and housing.
“Mozambique needs to urgently make provision for the booming urbanisation and we are ready. This is very important because the urban development process also generates employment,” Dr. Clos said.
In response Mr. Vaquina thanked UN-Habitat, saying that he would like to see the agency lending support in the area of social housing, sanitation and dissemination of local and affordable construction technologies. “I agree that there is need for urgent planning in rapidly growing provinces such as Tete, where mineral coal is being exploited. At the same time we must accept that the urban agenda is a priority and changes will need to occur,” he said.
The meeting with the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Housing Mr. Francisco Pereira discussed intensifying cooperation in areas of housing, construction technologies, water and sanitation, building codes and the establishment of a national urban forum. The achievement of sustainable urban development along the Nampula-Nacala corridor was the key message at the meeting with the minister for coordination of environmental affairs while the session with the Minister of State Administration called for a strong cooperation in the area of disaster risk reduction.
There was also a Round table with 80 participants from different institutions drawn from government, donors, academia and others on the topic ‘Urbanisation in Mozambique: Challenges and Opportunities’ where the Executive Director was the main speaker
The delegation also visited Sofala where they held meetings with local leaders as well as paying a visit to Beira and Dondo informal neighbourhoods, where UN-habitat has realised several slum upgrading interventions on roads, drainage, water, sanitation and waste management, with funding from the Water for African Cities.
The visit provided the CPR delegation with the opportunity to assess the impact of UN-Habitat work in the life of the most vulnerable people and discuss innovative strategies and mechanisms for member states to sustain and upscale the presence and impact of UN-Habitat at country level.
The delegation concluded the visit at Ilha de Mocambique, first capital city of Mozambique and UNESCO World Heritage site.