Participants gathered in Maseru, Lesotho from Tuesday for a three day consultative meeting to debate issues affecting the city.
The Sustainable Maseru Programme of the Maseru Municipal Council, an initiative of UN-HABITAT and UNDP, has brought together some 240 participants to debate the most urgent urban environmental and development issues at stake.
The meeting comes against the milieu that Maseru, capital of the Kingdom of Lesotho, South Africa, is experiencing rapid urbanisation as so many cities in Africa. Coupled with rapid population increase which now stands at 200,000 the city is facing a number of environmental problems like pollution of the rivers due to the lack of sanitation and of release of untreated industrial waste from the clothing manufacturers, the spreading of the city’s residential areas into former agricultural lands built without adequate provision of services as well as conflicts of the various economic activities especially in the informal sector.
In her address to the delegates, the honourable minister of Local Government and Chieftainship, Ms. Pontso Sekatle, said “this consultation is of historic significance, as it is the first of its kind where professionals, politicians and decision makers in Maseru have been invited to reflect, to look to the future and to identify a course of action in order to ensure the sustainable growth and development of Maseru.”
A UN-HABITAT representative expressed optimism that with street vending being on the agenda, it was “a step towards the right direction in addressing employment especially for the majority of the urban poor.”