The Federal Government of Nigeria and the Government of Ondo State, Nigeria, this week announced a contribution totaling USD 5 million to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
The contribution comprises USD 3 million through the Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development aimed at research and strengthening UN-Habitat’s engagement with Habitat Agenda Partners and other non-governmental actors across sub-Saharan Africa.
A further USD 2 million from the Ondo State Government will be used to prepare a range of programmes including youth empowerment schemes, slum upgrading, local economic enterprises, and land reform in the State, Nigeria.
By this step Nigeria is taking the lead as one of the emerging economies supporting UN-Habitat with core funds. This initiative is aimed at mobilizing and building the capacity of CSOs and non-governmental actors towards a New African Urban Agenda which focuses on transformational initiatives and governance, anchored on the core values of transparency and inclusiveness.
African countries have been actively engaged with the urban challenge since the past two decades. Following African Union’s Decision 29 in 2003, African countries established the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD) in 2005, and have addressed themselves at national levels to the challenge of urban poverty, slums and access to land for development. This initiative is aimed to strengthen the second and third legs of the engagement with private sector firms and civil society actors as the continent prepares itself to benefit from urbanization.
The New Urban Agenda recognizes that Africa is a rising continent and that its prosperity will be shaped by its cities as the drivers of growth, equity and sustainability. It is expected that the process will contribute to a shared vision for sustainable urban development.
The Ondo State of Nigeria like most States in Nigeria has risen to the urgency of governance and is addressing the needs of its people through programmes that touch and impact on peoples livelihoods. The Governor who is a winner of UN-Habitat’s Scroll of Honour is happy to further the recognition by aligning the State’s development priorities with the new vision of UN-habitat. This contribution agreement marks only a small beginning, and Nigeria calls on all African countries and partners to contribute further to the initiative.
The official signing ceremony took place at the residence of the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to UN-Habitat and High Commissioner to Kenya Akintola Oyateru and was done by Ms Amal Peppple, Federal Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Governor of Ondo State of Nigeria. Un-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos signed on behalf of the agency.
In his remarks Dr. Mimiko said “The collaboration between UN-Habitat and the Ondo State government that we are here to formalize today is to ensure that together we are able to transform our vision to reality in the areas of youth employment, urban economic development, urban infrastructure rehabilitation and better land reform management. To us, these areas are strategic and important for both individual development and improved state economic growth.”
Ms. Pepple said: The New Urban Agenda recognizes that Africa’s prosperity will be shaped by its cities as the drivers of growth, equity and sustainability. It is expected that the process will contribute to a shared vision for sustainable urban development”.Dr. Clos, while receiving the two contributions was clearly happy by what he called “the energy and freshness brought in by Nigeria’s move”, and expressed hope that other countries in the global South will follow suit.