Dr. Clos in a meeting with the mayor of Accra Mr. Vandeprpuije © Mohamed Halfani/UN-Habitat
UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos on Friday paid a courtesy call on the mayor of Accra Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije during which they discussed issues of mutual interest.
The mayor upraised the Executive Director on the various challenges he was facing in running the city.
One of the main difficulties I am facing has to do with the issue of infrastructure. Poor infrastructure has seen the city grapple with the problem of flooding and one of my main undertakings has been to engage in massive de-silting of drainages as well as improving the flow of water," he said.
According to Mr. Vanderpuije, his next battle front in improving the quality of life in Accra was to build more and better drainage systems as well as water retention reservoirs which will control the flow of water in the city.
"We are engaging in massive sanitation measures, environmental control, measures and massive education of citizens so that they can actively participate in matters like clean ups and being in charge of their areas of residence," he said, adding that: citizens have now been fully educated and are responsible for garbage collection."
The city authority was in the process of building a land fill in Tema, just outside Accra and was exploring ways of ensuring better waste energy controls. The mayor said he was working hard to heed to the call by President John Mahama who wants Accra to be the cleanest town in Ghana.
Mayor Vanderpuije further disclosed that the ever increasing migrants to the city was making planning quite a difficult task. "Here we are addressing the issue of indiscipline. These people will come from the villages searching for better opportunities and when they arrive they want to put up structures all over. They can never understand when you pull down these structures in conforming with the city plans," he said.
He thanked UN-Habitat for the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) which he said was contributing a lot to the solution for housing problems in the city.
On his part Dr. Clos assured the mayor of UN-Habitat's continued support to Accra. This was in line with the agencies stated mission of improving urbanisation in the whole world and in Africa in particular.
"This will call for the establishment of national urban policies where various ministries work together to address the issues as well as having planned cities," he said. Dr. Clos decried the fact that many African and Asian cities were facing the problem of chaotic urbanisation and said the mater called for urgent intervention.
"Unfortunately some people think planning is expensive while others also feel that is totally unnecessary but this is not the case because if you do not plan then you arec just postponing problems which will definitely arise in the future," he said.