The first tripartite African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP), European Commission and UN-HABITAT conference ended yesterday with a resounding call to the international community to pay greater attention to the issues of sustainable urbanization.
The over 200 delegates from 50 countries approved a 13-point Nairobi declaration on urbanization challenges and poverty reduction in African, Caribbean and Pacific States, which among other things, called on governments in these countries to place urbanization at the centre of negotiations with the European Union.
“We recommended that urban development initiatives should be reviewed and that participatory slum upgrading programmes should be extended to all interested African Caribbean and Pacific States during the mid term review of the 10th European Development Fund in 2010,” it said.
The Secretary General of the ACP, Sir John Kaputin said he would avail the declaration for adoption by the ACP council of ministers at their next meeting scheduled for October.
The delegates also resolved to push for the creation of institutional mechanisms in their countries to ensure that urbanization issues are given greater attention.
“The complexity of land and housing issues necessitates the creation of a coordination body that could take the form of a Habitat National Committee or Urban Forum. This body should be constituted of all key actors in the urban sector to ensure a multi-sectoral, integrated approach striving to coordination, coherence, consistency and complementarity so as to achieve concerted efforts – the five Cs,” UN-HABITAT Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said.
“UN-HABITAT invites governments to commit, in their national budgets, to the urban agenda especially for participatory slum prevention and upgrading. We further invite the governments of countries where there is already joint donor coordination of aid in terms of the Paris declaration, to work with donors to establish an urban sector in line with the already established sectors such as water, education, agriculture, roads, finance and others. I quote two examples where this has already been achieved; the Benin government working with the EC, and the Government of Kenya in collaboration with SIDA and UN-HABITAT,” she added.
Mrs. Tibaijuka called on the European Union to establish a genuine urban policy to enable it tackle urban problems in a systematic way.