A Nigerian and UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has commended Nigeria for being a courageous country that stands up to its challenges by addressing them tenaciously.
Mohammed stated this on the side event jointly organised by the Nigerian Government and UN-Habitat as part of the 2018 High-level Political Forum on sustainable development meeting in New York.
The theme of the event was: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’’ in focus with SDGs Goal 11.
SDG 11 is to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.
She emphasised the role of town planners in making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, regretting that many countries now grow slums, rather than cities.
The envoy challenged African countries to change the narrative.
“Nigeria is one of the key leaders in Africa. At the African Union, just 10 days ago, it was very clear that we were not only trying to address our challenges but we were leading on the issue of governance and corruption.
“I think Nigeria is a courageous country that stands up, that has many of these issues but speaks to it and tries to advocate for what we need to do to deal with that,’’ she said.
According to UN deputy secretary-general, what is important about the session going on now, is about in line with UN-Habitat that is connected to the SDGs Goal 11.
“The ‘Town Planning’ is incredibly important. I spent the best part of 20 years of my life in an architectural engineering firm and town planning was key.
“In many of our countries now, we grow slums, we don’t plan cities. There’s only, perhaps one place, that I’ve been to that I’ve actually seen the city grow a city and that’s Istanbul.
“Dense population but yet there were no slums in Istanbul, which is quite incredible. We should probably visit it to find why and I don’t think it’s beyond Africa not to grow the slums. We were known for slums, we were not known probably for cities.
“So that’s a challenge to us and I just want to thank the Special Adviser (to the President on Sustainable Development Goals) and the panellists herein.’’
The Forum is the UN central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and provides for the full and effective participation of all members states of the UN.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said Nigeria was mainstreaming all the three tiers of government into the SDGs.
She said SDGs could not be achieved at the national level alone, adding that three-quarter of states in Nigeria was being mainstreamed.
According to her, the Nigerian Government is also prioritising some goals out of the 17 SDGs.
The presidential aide said baseline assessment and mapping had been carried out for the SDGs, pointing out that the plans in the 36 states were not uniform.
“But the Federal Government is helping the states to construct baseline assessment and to mainstream.
“We (federal government) are using our own resources to do that.