The 46th International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Congress officially closed on Thursday with a challenge to spatial planners to help in the fight against skewed distribution of capital investments.
At the same time, UN-HABITAT and ISOCARP singed a Memorandum of Understanding which saw the society become member of the World Urban Campaign. ISOCARP President Ismael Fernandez Meija signed on behalf of his organisation while Ms Axumite Gebre-Egzhiaber, the Director of Global Division signed on behalf of UN-HABITAT.
While officially closing the congress, Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said that planners should help in coming up with initiatives that would ensure that no part of a given territory is dispossessed or disempowered.
"The imbalance I intimate here, owing to the absence of an effective spatial planning framework in many countries, has led to skewed distribution of capital investments in both social and infrastructural development over the years, leading to unmitigated urban sprawl, land use conflicts, environmental degradation among other social ills," said the Vice President.
Kenya's Lands Minister James Orengo said the high level government participation at the Congress was an assurance that his country took the meeting seriously while his Nairobi Metropolitan counterpart Njeru Githae challenged the delegates to go back hme and apply the lessons learnt.
In his address Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza of UN-HABITAT told the gathering how the agency was working in post disaster areas like Haiti and Afghanistan.
"As UN-HABITAT, we have brought to this Congress some of our most advanced experiences in disaster recovery from Haiti and Afghanistan, where we are working to instil principles of urban planning and sustainable urbanization into the highly specialised field of post disaster recovery. These experiences demonstrate that when urban planning is considered as a tool from the very early stages, sustainable recovery and reconstruction is more likely," he said.