Story By: Prince Sigli
A Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLG&RD), has said the Ministry was positioning itself with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to deliver social housing.
He said, the MMDAs would collaborate with the private sector and civil society using environmentally friendly and affordable technologies, such as the Nubian Vault Technology.
Mr Adjei was speaking at the sideline of the joint press conference addressed by the Ministers of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea and the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Madam Christine Evans-Klock.
He said, the promotion of better urban future must draw the attention of the people to the provision and improvement of inclusive housing and social services in urban planning and slum upgrading, promotion, protection and restoration of green urban spaces.
A safe and healthy living environment, establishment of affordable and sustainable transport and energy system and clean drinking water and sanitation must engage the attention of the people as they celebrated World Habitat Day, he said.
He continued that, the promotion of human settlement development in both urban and rural areas constituted one of the core functions of the Ministry.
Mr Adjei who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben North said, there was the need to promote dialogue among stakeholders and the media on strategies to adopt for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (known as the Urban Goal), which enjoins the world to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable in addressing the phenomena.
Ghana joined 192 other member states of the United Nations (UN) worldwide in the commemoration of the 2017 World Habitat Day (WHD) celebration.
The United Nations (UN) has designated the month of October, with the aim of creating awareness and sensitizing the public, other stakeholders and the media on urban issues which are geared towards building resilient cities.
The day draws attention to the collective responsibility in ensuring that cities and towns are shape to reflect our dignity as human beings.
This year’s WHD is on the theme: “Housing Policies: Affordable Homes” seeks to highlight the relevance of decent and affordable housing that will improve the quality of life for urban dwellers.
The deputy minister intimated that, the Ministry found the theme timely as it would guide its policy making and strategy development.
On her part, Madam Evans-Klock, said safe and decent housing remains a dream to the majority of the population, especially the urban poor.
Over half of the population of Ghana now lives in urban areas and that statistical information on Ghana’s slum population was inadequate for comprehensive planning for resilient and inclusive urban communities.
Madam Evans-Klock indicated, urbanisation outpaces the rate of implementation of urban and housing policies and the expansion of public services. Ghana has over 1.7 million housing deficit which calls for paradigm shift to enact housing policy, consistently engage stakeholders, and to follow through on urban planning in implementing and enforcing zoning and building regulations.
The UN team in Ghana was eager to support the combined and concerted effort of the government of Ghana in sustaining environment and human settlement as is one of the four strategic priorities in the UN development assistant framework that has governed UN work in Ghana in its current program, from 2012 to now.
The UN-Habitat supports all levels of government in meeting its commitment under International law related to the right to adequate housing and that progressive housing sector reforms and legislation were ready to help create inclusive and sustainable cities and recognise and protect the right to adequate housing.
Mr Atta Akyea expressed Government’s determination to address the housing deficit in the country through partnerships with the private sector in the provision of affordable housing units.
He said in view of the prevailing conditions whereby the majority of the population fell within the lower income bracket of the society, which could not mobilise the savings or credit to build their own homes or even meet the high rentals demanded by homeowners, the Government would partner with the private sector in delivering such basic necessity of life.
Dr Joann Clos, UN-Habitat Executives Director in his message to mark the day stressed that “ensuring housing affordability is a complex issue of strategic importance for development, social peace and equality.”
In October last year, world leaders adapted the new urban agenda as an important part of meeting the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development-for sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
The New Urban Agenda recognises the mutual dependence and indivisibility of the 17 goals in the agenda 2030 which promotes a comprehensive approach for cities to help meet their goals.