Nigeria’s Minister of Housing Power and Works, Babatunde Fashola has charged African cities and towns to adopt a more positive outlook in their drive toward harnessing the potentials on inclusive and sustainable growth.
The minister made this disclosure at the United Nations Conference on Housing and sustainable Urban development (HABITAT III) held in Abuja
With a theme on “Africa’s priorities for a new urban agenda, Fashola,said African cities and towns must brace to the challenges of settlement development, and their goals should be to clearly define and infuse unique peculiarities of the challenges into the new urban agenda being fashioned for the entire world,
According to the Minister, “One of the goals which should be clear in our minds in this Conference is to utilise our commonality of purpose to define the unique peculiarities of human settlements’ development challenges of Africa and infuse same in the New Urban Agenda being fashioned for the world”.
The Minster noted that it was in recognition of the daunting challenges and implications of human settlements planning and development worldwide that the United Nations General Assembly instituted in 1976, a bi-decennial cycle of Conferences to redirect fresh attention towards sustainable urbanization and to device common agenda for managing the urban phenomenon.
“Today, we are at the tail end of implementation of the Habitat Agenda fashioned at the second Habitat Conference of 1996, and are at the threshold of evolving a New Urban Agenda for Habitat III Conference in October 2016, which is eight months away”, the Minister said.
According to him, “Each cycle of HABITAT Conference seeks to establish a unique set of actions that would tangibly promote sustainable urbanization amongst all nations as well as regions across the world and whose implementation would be binding on all”, adding that as a matter of necessity, every fresh agenda has always been comprehensively discussed and negotiated through well defined process of broad-based stakeholder engagements at different levels.
“I surmise that this schedule imposes on us delegates the onerous burden of ensuring smooth, conclusive and mature negotiations at this Conference such that we can provide positive recommendations to successive regional conferences. I anticipate, in consonance with the expectations of UN HABITAT, that our regional conference would produce far reaching policy recommendations and a clear-cut set of declarations that would enrich the New Urban Agenda and bring visible profit to Africa”, he said.
Fashola described as heart warming, the contributions by Ministers from across Africa at the meeting of African Union Ministers of Housing and Urban Development, declared open by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing in Nigeria, Baba Shehuri , and chaired by Mbogo Ngbabo Seli from Chad the previous day.
Fashola, who expressed delight at the large turnout at the regional meeting, declared, “Even though I am inclined to single out my fellow Ministers from across Africa for special recognition, I must add that I am particularly encouraged with the impressive turnout of all categories of delegates to this conference.
“Indeed, I consider your enthusiastic response to our invitation as further testimony of growing goodwill and resurging confidence in the current administration in Nigeria, under the dynamic leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR”, he said.