A group of 28 urban professionals from 18 countries in Africa, Asia and South America gathered in Nairobi from Monday for the third edition of 'Sustainable Communities' course on how to use city planning as a tool for sustainable development.The participants include a balanced representation drawn from academics, NGOs, local authorities and central government agencies. Key course topics include urban environmental management, shelters and settlements, transportation and energy, good governance for sustainable communities; risk and vulnerability reduction; and urban planning and sustainability. The course also applies a highly interactive group work methodology, structured around case studies of Kibera slums in Nairobi and of Kenyaâ€™s town ofÂ Kisumu, stimulating peer-to-peer learning and multi-disciplinary work. Overall, the course has an emphasis on bridging the gap between research and action.
The two week Nairobi training marks a further milestone in academic collaboration with the Government of Finland, which in 2005 decided to allocate funding for a series of continuing education courses, to be coordinated by the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Environment Programme, Asian Institute of Technology and University of Nairobi. The first such course was held in Helsinki in 2007 and second in Bangkok in 2008. The course follows up the UN-HABITAT Partner University agreement with Helsinki University of Technology (TKK).
The opening ceremony at the Kenya Wildlife Service was attended by Prof. Enos Njeru on behalf of Vice-Chancellor of University of Nairobi; Ms. Pia Stjernvall, First secretary to Finnish Ambassador to Kenya; Prof. Lars ReuterswÃ¤rd, Director, Global Division UN-HABITAT; Mr. Richard Kaguamba, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, UNEP and Mr. Julius Kipngeâ€™tich, Director of KWS.
The course theme, Sustainable Communities, was chosen to offer to mid-career professionals from selected countries a broad overview of current thinking and practices regarding cities and sustainable urban development. The course provides practical examples and methods on how to use city planning as a tool for sustainable development.