The European Union (EU) this week announced that it will provide new funding to the tune of euros 10 million (USD 13.3 million) to help improve the living conditions of slum dwellers in all the 79 Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
The announcement was made at a tripartite gathering of representatives of the executive arm of the EU, the European Commission, the Brussels-based ACP Secretariat and UN-HABITAT during the 10th anniversary conference on the Millennium Development Goals at the United Nations headquarters.
The amount effectively enables UN-HABITAT to extend its Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme which has been operating in 30 ACP countries.
The new funding programme announced by ACP Secrtary-General Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and reaffirmed by Mr. Jean-Claude Boidin of the EC, showed renewed commitment to meeting the Millennium slum and water and sanitation targets.
Officials said the tripartite meeting in New York had also enabled the new leaders of both organizations, Dr. Chambas and Mr. Boidin to meet with UN-HABITAT's Executive Director-designate, Mr. Joan Clos.
Nearly six years have passed since UN-HABITAT signed a cooperation agreement with the ACP group aimed at promoting sustainable urbanization and the eradication of poverty.
It provides for improving the living conditions of slum dwellers under the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate poverty. It also aims to help the international community implement the Habitat Agenda and the subsequent Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in June 2001.
The agreement focuses on improving housing policies, urban planning and management, greening our cities, post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction, disaster prevention and post-disaster reconstruction, and participatory urban governance. Others focus areas include urban safety, strengthening town-country linkages and infrastructure development, water and sanitation in urban areas, decentralization and capacity building of local authorities.
In 2004, the year UN-HABITAT was granted observer status to the institutions of the ACP, the three organizations followed up with a joint regional workshop held in Nairobi in 2005.
In June last year, the three bodies held their first tripartite meeting in Nairobi.