Expectations high as NMRC joins global debate on UN’s New Urban Agenda
by CHUKA UROKO
February 27, 2018 | 12:22 am| | | Start Conversation
The decision by the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) to join other housing stakeholders in the global debate on United Nations New Urban Agenda has raised expectations that Nigeria may well be on the right path to resolving its housing and urbanization challenges.
The New Urban Agenda is the result of a consensus reached among United Nations countries, including Nigeria, which sets out a common vision and global standards for urban development in the coming decades. It was adopted in October 2016 at the United Nations’ Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III – in Quito, Ecuador as a strategic global response to unprecedented urbanization.
The stakeholders who gathered for the 9th session of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) from February 7-13 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia were there to deliberate on, identify and commit to the implementation of concrete solutions for the transformative commitments made in the New Urban Agenda.
The event had as theme, ‘Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda’, and had more than 22.000 participants from 165 countries, among them more than 100 ministers and deputy ministers.
More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and projections are that this will nearly double by 2050, making urbanization one of the twenty-first century’s most transformative trends with massive sustainability challenges for housing, infrastructure, basic services, security, food security, health, education, decent jobs, safety and natural resources, among others.
Given this unprecedented growth in urbanization, and in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda lays out standards and principles for the planning, construction, development, management, and improvement of urban areas along five main pillars of implementation: national urban policies, urban legislation and regulations, urban planning and design, local economy and municipal finance, and local implementation.
The New Urban Agenda underlines the linkages between good urbanization and job creation, livelihood opportunities, and improved quality of life, which should be included in every urban renewal policy and strategy. This highlights further the connection between the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Goal 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Housing is positioned as the pivot around which the New Urban Agenda revolves, with the right to affordable, safe, inclusive housing seen as the key to improved security; greater access to opportunities and socio-economic empowerment, and greater resilience of cities to natural disasters.
Others are economic growth and poverty reduction, improved environmental sustainability, improved public health, increased citizen participation in governance and ownership of the process.
NMRC was represented at the global event by Chii Akporji, executive director forpolicy, corporate strategy and business development, who participated as a member of the federal government of Nigeria delegation led by the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, and his counterpart at FCT, Musa Bello.
She participated in many of the over 500 sessions and networking events that took place as part of the WUF9 and contributed to a number of the high-level discussions on a wide range of global housing issues. She was a member of a well-attended networking panel discussion on “UnSlumming Minna”, a GIZ-funded project hosted by the government of Niger State being implemented by the Nigerian Resilient Cities Network (NRCN – www.nigeriaresilientcitiesnetwork.org), founded by well-known urban and housing specialist, Simon Gusah.
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