“One in every two Pacific Islanders is an urban resident, if Papua New Guinea, the largest island in the Pacific is excluded from the count,” explained Max Kep, a member of the Papua New Guinea country team; an honorary member to the Action Planning workshop for Phase II countries.
Why is Papua New Guinea an honorary member? The team is compiling their Urban Profiles at record time, and the team attended the workshop on their own accord, in order to benefit from UN-HABITAT’s facilitation and guidance to develop Papua New Guinea’s very first Urbanisation Policy.
From 16-20 November, 2009, a workshop for Phase II countries was held, in order to move from profiles to action planning. Attended by Zambia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and one representative from Kenya, 28 participants shared personal insight on the issues of slums and through assistance of UN-HABITAT, explored why slums exist.
Lack of formal land and housing stock, inadequate trunk and primary infrastructure, a lack of integration of the rapidly growing peri-urban areas, were discussed. Developing local response mechanisms to slum formation and prevention is what UN-HABITAT through PSUP facilitates.
First of all, urban profiles were revisited, for a review of the country’s situation. Some urban profiles, during duration of the workshop, reached their 4th anniversary, as such some of the information found in the profiles is outdated. However, the urban profiles remain an excellent baseline assessment and a great document for resource mobilization from donors.
There is a need to prioritise and select a single project for slum upgrading and prevention, since the action planning and programme formulation is assisted. Mozambique, for example, prioritized the need to reduce urban vulnerability (to erosion/cyclones) of people living in informal settlements in order to improve living conditions. While relocation was considered an immediate course of action, UN-HABITAT facilitators challenged the team to explore the possibility of other scenarios that may avoid resettlement.
Eritrea’s focus is the construction of access roads and the installation of water supply and sanitation in Asmara. As such, selected priorities are varying and diverse; addressing local solutions to local problems of urbanizations pressure felt around the world.