Some 80 delegates from east, central and southern Africa gathered at UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday for a two-day meeting on the Cities Without Slums Programme.
UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said the challenge of slums was an enormous one adding that the agency, in association with the development partners, would support the programme implementers in their endeavours to address the issue.
“Your strategies may be slightly different, but your goal is the same: providing them with decent and well serviced houses, but also, in the future, offering the poor alternatives to slums. Access to affordable, correctly serviced and well located land is central to this process,” Mrs. Tibaijuka said in a speech read on her behalf.
Cities Without Slums is currently engaged in nine cities in nine countries in the East and Central Africa sub region. These are Kisumu (Kenya), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lilongwe (Malawi), Maputo (Mozambique), and Durban (South Africa). Others are Arusha (Tanzania), Kampala (Uganda), Maseru (Lesotho) and Ndola (Zambia).
The Executive Director said that after many months of intense debates at country and, more importantly at city level, the process has been successful in mobilizing and involving all partners, including those directly confronting the hardship of living in poor neighbourhoods lacking basic services and security of tenure- the slum dwellers themselves.
Outlining the workshop objectives, the chief of UN-HABITAT’s Shelter Branch, Mr. Farouk Tebbal advised the participants to learn from each other and to consolidate lessons on the most effective tools, approaches and processes in order to achieve the Cities Without Slums Goals.