Parliamentarians all agreed on the need to focus more on urban development due to growing cities and growing urban poverty.
Ms. Raymond (Deputy, ACP Secretariat), Ms. Durant (Vice-President EU), and Mr. Bakole (Chief, UN-HABITAT Liaison Office to the EU and the Belgium)
The initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat and UN-HABITAT to undertake a Side Event on Sustainable Urban Development and the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) during the Joint European Union (EU) – ACP Parliamentary Assembly in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo was very welcomed.
The Vice President of the EU highlighted the importance of looking at urban poverty as a whole, the informal and formal city, and reinforced the fact that everyone has to agree that urban development needs attention.
The event displayed the importance of regional exchange with the deputy head of the ACP Secretariat Michèle Dominique Raymond saying the ACP countries need more of such opportunities to learn from each other and address the future of their cities together.
Participants also demanded for more involvement of parliamentarians in the future noting that it was the parliamentarians role to countercheck the government’s activities, priorities, and legislation, and they can significantly contribute to the success of the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme.
The meeting concluded with the consensus that urban development and urban poverty reduction shall be a priority. In order to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable, policies and regulations would be reviewed and national and local capacity needs strengthened leading to improved governance. Finally, there would also be increased financial support to address needs and priorities identified in the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme.
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.
The cooperation agreement 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, and decentralization and capacity building of local authorities.
UN-HABITAT was granted observer status to the institutions of the ACP in 2004 and 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.
Since then, several Side Events during the World Urban Forum in Rio and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit in New York have been jointly conducted.