38 States raise Sh15b for UN Habitat work

George Kebaso and PSCU @PeopleDailyKe

Thirty-eight governments, including Kenya, and other stakeholders yesterday raised Sh15.2 billion for the implementation of urban Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the ongoing UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi.

The announcement was made after world leaders called for greater global commitment towards achieving sustainable urban development.

Funds raised will also be channeled to finance UN Habitat’s work in the next five years.

Kenya was recognised for increasing her financial support from Sh7 million to Sh10 million disclosed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday.

“We must recognise that we can’t do this alone. We need each other to work together to achieve the noble goals we set under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Uhuru said during the high level Interactive Strategic Dialogue that is part of the UN Habitat Assembly.

He called on all partners and nations to recognise the importance of the new urban agenda.

The President said Kenya is ready to partner with other countries to ensure there is a right environment for the development of sustainable cities.

“The international community must move towards achieving sustainable communities for our children and generations to come,” he said.

He said the issue of affordable houses in cities is critical to the future for virtually every nation on the globe

“For us in Kenya the provision of affordable housing is a right that is enshrined in the Constitution and SDG 11 which we have approved and sanctioned,” he said.

Uhuru assured that the government is working on innovative ways of delivering affordable houses to Kenyans.

Building technologies

He said the government has embraced new building technologies and is actively involving the private sector as a key partner in the delivery of one of the key promises of his administration’s Big Four development agenda. 

The President said traditional approaches to the housing challenges have failed to keep up with the rising demands for decent shelter as the population expands. 

“Our target is to provide 500,000 new units which, for Kenya, it is going to be a major milestone because our demand currently is about 200,000 units a year,” Uhuru told the delegates.

Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik said currently towns and cities in his country are facing conflicts from armed groups which have created about three million internally displaced persons and more challenges for its cities.

In Yemen, Abdulmalik said urban centres in the country have all updated their policies to promote the development of sustainable cities.

South Sudan leader, Salva Kiir called on world leaders to contribute towards making UN-Habitat to enable it formulate sustainable strategies that will transform cities and human settlements. He observed that the UN Habitat is currently unable to meet its strategic plan due to lack of funding.

“We are willing to work closely with the UN agency as this will also help us makes strides in our housing needs,” President Kiir said.

In her opening statement during a Partnership and Pledging Conference, the UN Habitat executive director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif outlined a five-year strategic plan the organisation aims to use to implement urban dimensions Goal 11. This SDG is aimed at making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Social inclusion

“This plan would be guided by social inclusion and human rights for all including women, children, youth and older persons, the disabled, and other vulnerable groups,” she said.

Besides the 38 countries, the amount was also announced by 10 local governments, and 32 other organisations including seven companies in a show of commitment for achieving urban related SDGs.

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