The third session of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in Solo, Indonesia wound up with fresh commitments to improve housing and sustainable urban delivery in the region.
Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development APMCHUD Ministerial segment, 24 June 2010
Mr. Budi Yuwono, Director General of Human Settlements, Ministry of Public Works, Indonesia
Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT
Mr. Ali Nikzad, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Iran, Chair of the second session of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Agung Laksono, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare, Indonesia
Mr. Yuwoni thanked the governments participating and UN-HABITAT. He said that 30 countries were present with 14 ministers and 85 high officials, including three Indonesian ministers. The objective of this meeting was very important for the region to overcome the challenges of urban development for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It would also be beneficial for good governance in the Asia Pacific, and improve human capacity in housing and settlement development. Reporting back on proceedings during the third session, he said that until today the conference had conducted a series of activities and five working group discussions on community participation in planning and governance, slum upgrading, that water and sanitation millennium targets, urban financing, and the role of communities in addressing climate change. The discussions were productive, and an estimated 300 delegates were taken o field visits to six neighbourhoods in Solo city for a look at new housing and urban development projects. He said the Solo Declaration had recommendations to establish in Indonesia knowledge management centres for housing and urban development. Thanking the delegates on behalf of Solo City, he thanked the Municipality and Central Java Government for hosting the conference. Mr. Yuwoni cited the importance of sharing ideas for future housing and urban development in the Asia Pacific, and developing new concepts for community empowerment.
Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Government of Indonesia and the city of Solo for hosting the conference. She cited her satisfaction and optimism at the progress the conference had achieved since its establishment in 2006 in New Delhi. The creation of this Ministerial Conference, she added, had been an ambitious project.
Bringing together 69 countries stretching from Australia and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific, through Russia and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, to the Gulf States and Palestine in Western Asia, is not an easy feat. The population in this expansive region represents more than half of humanity. If the world was going to succeed, it had to succeed in Asia. The conference, she said, could help redress weak public policy. She welcomed the intention of the Government of Indonesia to expand its Research Institute for Human Settlements into a regional knowledge centre for community empowerment and pledged UN-HABITAT’s support. Saying community participation in decisions that affect their lives has been in currency for the past almost 50 years, the fact that Ministers were taking it up as a priority for collaboration in this 21st century, constituted both a message and a commitment. She invited Solo and all cities represented at the conference to join the 100 cities initiative of UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign.
Mr. Nikzad thanked hosts Indonesia and UN-HABITAT for convening the third session of the APMCHUD conference. He said he felt duty bound to express his country’s abhorrence at the unfair and disappointing position of the United Nations Security Council in approving the fourth resolution against what he called Iran’s civilian and peaceful nuclear programme which was a step towards sustainable urban development in his country. Arrogant nuclear States he said flagrantly ignored the inalienable right of noble and gentle nations like yours and ours to peaceful nuclear energy. If developing countries wanted sustainable cities, he added that had no alternative but to focus on their regional interests and to reform the structure of some international bodies in order to defend their collective rights and interests. It had been a privilege for Iran to host the second APMCHUD session, and outlined the decisions taken at that session. He said less than 20 percent of the world consumed 80 percent of its energy which came mainly from polluting fossil fuels like coal which was being depleted in a race without rules. He said developed nations as Annex 1 countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had to carry out their commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol and pay their debt to the world and especially to the developing countries which had played no role in climate change.
Mr. Laksono formally opened the ministerial segment of the conference. The issue of housing for Indonesia, and the granting basic rights and services for people had to be implemented jointly and consistently as stipulated in the Constitution of 1945. Asia Pacific countries, he said, saw the importance of housing and sustainable urban development as a strategic issue. Urbanization needs to be managed positively; urban development had to become the accelerator of development in the quest to combat problems of health, the spread of disease, degradation, poverty and climate change. Indonesia was faced with the needs of housing delivery and basic livelihood requirements. Its urban areas are very dense and spread through 17,000 islands in what is known as the ‘ring of fire‘ subterranean tectonic zone. Many of these islands faced head on the problems of climate change and possible sea level rise. As the fault line in the in the country’s economic development was exacerbated by the economic crisis, the welfare of people was even more of a priority. He said that housing and urban development formed a part the country’s poverty alleviation programme. The long road to better housing and urban development in Indonesia had the potential of success and high sustainability because it was forged in a community-based approach. He said he hoped that the third session of the APMCHUD meeting would therefore serve to inspire both local and regional development and cooperation. He hoped it would bridge regional differences in the quest for the welfare of ordinary people. He announced therefore that Indonesia had taken the initiative of creating a new Asia Pacific Regional Knowledge and Learning Network.