Jakarta, 3 Oct 05
World Habitat Day was celebrated in towns and cities around the world on Monday at ceremonies, seminars and meetings attended by many government and local authority representatives to reflect on the state of human settlements, especially the living conditions of the urban poor and their basic right to adequate shelter. This year the theme of the occasion, spearheaded this year from Jakarta, Indonesia, was "The Millennium Development Goals and the City."
Over 1,000 people from Indonesia and abroad attended the global observance at a low cost rental apartment complex in the Chenkgareng district of West Jakarta. The event was inagurated by Indonesia’s Vice President Mr. Jusuf Kalla.
In his address, the Governor of Jakarta, who received the Scroll of Honour on behalf of the Municipality of Jakarta highlighted the problems of the mega-city. The city, which has over 10 million people, has a high population density, averaging 14,000 people per square kilometre and rising to 30,000 in some areas. Jakarata is also blighted by traffic congenstion, poor sanitation, and water and air pollution. Governor Sutiyoso outlined the Municipality’s plans to improve Jakarta, including providing almost 12,000 housing units to meet the housing needs of low and middle income households. He welcomed the support of UN-HABITAT to help build an environmentally friendly city.
The Minister of Public Works, Mr. Djoko Kirmanto, highlighted the results of a number of thematic discussions held in September in the lead-up to World Habitat Day. The workshops focused on how best to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in Indonesia, and particularly targets 10 and 11 on improving the lives of slum dwellers and halving the population without access to safe water and sanitation. If the workshops’ proposed action plans are implemented Mr. Kirmanto hoped that, “by 2010, 200 cities in Indonesia will no longer have slum related problems, and by 2015, this number will increase to 350 cities. It is hoped that the rest will be free of such problems by 2020.”
Mr. Kirmanto outlined the nation’s targets for providing safe drinking water, reducing water pollution and improving solid waste management. He concluded his address by presenting three national awards to Mr. Azwar Hasan, of the Aceh Awakening Forum the natural disaster management in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province, the Community Self-Sufficiency Agency as the best Urban Poverty project, and the City Government of Tarakan of its urban management.
Mr. Asyari, Indonesia’s Minister of Housing, stressed the need to promote housing investment to address the gap in housing provision. Around 800,000 new housing units are needed every year, excluding the backlog 40.5 million units and the stock of sub-standard housing that needs to be improved. To meet the slum target, 1 million homes are needed per year up to 2020.
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, opened her remarks by condemning the the bomb attacks in Bali on 1 October. She commended the late North Sumatra Governor, Tengku Rizal Nurdin, whom she said “so kindly gave of his time to personally show me the devastation caused by the tsunami” The late Governor, who died in last month’s tragic air accident was posthumously awarded the Scroll of Honor for his “unstinting and tireless leadership in bringing relief to tsunami and earthquake victims”.
Mrs. Tibaijuka said that UN-HABITAT had chosen the Millennium Development Goals and the City as this year’s theme of World Habitat Day because by the year 2050, we will be living in an urban planet with six billion people – or two-thirds of humanity – settled in towns and cities
“By applying the MDGs in cities, particularly in the poorest slums and overcrowded informal settlements, their impact will have a positive multiplier effects well beyond the immediate neighbourhood,” she said. “The Millennium Development Goals will be won or lost in urban slums. We must work together and this way, not only will we help the poorest people, but we make our cities more inclusive, safer and cleaner for everyone. It is in the end a win-win situation for all.”
The highlight of the celebrations was the presentation of UN-HABITAT’s Habitat Scroll of Honour and the World Habitat Awards by the Building and Social Housing Foundation of the United Kingdom..
Winners of the 2005 Habitat Scroll of Honor are:
The Municipal Basic Information Research programme of Brazil for “keeping Bazilians informed of the progress on achieving the Millennium Development Goals”
The Municipal People’s Government of Yantai in the People’s Republic of China for “transforming Yantai into a safer, greener and better serviced city”.
The Municipality of Kazan City of the Russian Federation for “providing new housing and infrastructure for its poorest residents”.
Ms. Rose Molokoane from South Africa for “her tireless struggle to bring land and homes to the poor”.
The Sarvodaya Shramandana Movement of Sri Lanka for “the immediate rescue and rehabilitation of those worst affected by the tsunami”.
Professor Johan Silas of Indonesia for “years of research and work dedicated to providing affordable shelter for the poor”.
Jakarta Metropolitan City for “building new infrastructure to create an inclusive, cosmopolitan city”.
The late Governor of North Sumatra, Tengku Rizal Nurdin for “showing unstinting, tireless leadership in bringing relief to tsunami and earthquake victims”.
Mrs. Diane Diacon, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation announced the World Habitat Award winners as the Straw-Bale energy efficient housing technology transfer project from the People’s Republic of China and the Solar Housing Renovation in Gardsten in Sweden.
After the award giving ceremony, Mr. Ong Keng Yong, the Secretary General of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Mr. Djoko Kirmanto, Indonesian Minister of Public Works, Mr. Mohammad Asyari, Indonesian Minister for the People’s Housing, Mr. Sutiyoso, Governor of Jakarta Metropolitan City, Mr. Ngurah Swajaya, Director for UN Economic, Development and Enviromental Affairs, at the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Tibaijuka took part in a forum on enhancing global partnership in order to accelerate the achievment of the Millennium Development Goals in the region. The session was chaired by Mr. Nico Barito from the Association for Provincial Governments of Indonesia.
The day’s celebrations concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which lay the foundation for a Slum Upgrading Facility in Indonesia, aimed at mobilising domestic and international funds for low cost housing and urban infrastructure and other programmes related to the provision of adequated shelter for all.