Kenya will host the first ever United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Assembly in the country which will take place in the next 10 days at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the UN agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development.
The UN-Habitat Assembly replaces the Governing Council of the UN-Habitat which was a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2018.
The Assembly now will be the highest decision making UN body spearheading sustainable urbanisation and human settlement.
Speaking on Thursday during a press briefing prior to the event, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary (CS), James Macharia said that, the Assembly will provide a significant opportunity to form strategic alliances to advance the sustainable urbanisation and human settlement agenda.
“Housing is one of the Big 4 Agenda; this Assembly comes at a time when Kenya has embarked on a journey to provide affordable and good housing, pushing our national agenda to the global level,” Macharia said.
The world currently is experiencing rapid urban urbanisation which has resulted in an acute shortage of affordable and decent housing leading to a proliferation of slums and informal settlements.
During the meeting, the CS noted that all the 193 UN member states are expected to make decisions and adopt resolutions that will frame the global urbanisation agenda to develop norms and standards related to sustainable urbanisation and human settlements.
“The assembly will come up with a Nairobi Declaration on the theme of the Assembly with concrete commitments to action,” he noted.
Macharia explainedthat during the first session, the Assembly is expected to establish the Executive Board of UN-Habitat and elect its members, and also review and approve the UN-Habitat Strategic Plan 2020-2025.
The Transport CS affirmed that the government of Kenya plans to build 500,000 affordable homes over the next five years under the Affordable Housing Programme.
The UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif said Kenya’s urban population is growing at 5 percent a year with a third of the population currently in towns and cities but added the trend will reach half by 2050.
Because of this, Maimunah noted that this situation will see many of them not able to access clean water or sanitation or even public transport.
“We are working closely with the government of Kenya and with Our Habitat Country Programme to demonstrate how sustainable urbanization will support the achievement of the Kenyan Vision 2030 and Kenya Constitution 2010 aspirations,” Maimunah said.
Maimunah pointed out six focus areas namely improvement of land management and sustainably planned human settlements, improved access to quality urban basic upgrading and prevention, innovation in improving urban economy and finance, improved urban governance and resilience and improved capacity development, monitoring and evaluation and sensitization.
Over 2000 participants are expected to attend the meeting that will take place from 27th to 31st May under the theme “Innovation for a better quality of life in cities and communities”.
By Melodious Kemunto/Rahab Wanjiru/Wangari Ndirangu