Ouagadougou 5 November 2015-- Burkina Faso held its first ever National Urban Forum in late October in the capital Ouagadougou bringing together high ranking government officials, experts and representatives from the civil society, the professional associations working in the housing and urban development sector, the private sector, the national institutions and the international cooperation.
The forum aimed at establishing a formal and institutional framework for promoting the dialogue, the consensus and the synergies among the different stakeholders intervening on urban issues in the country.
Held under the theme: ‘What coordination strategy of the international cooperation to finance urban development in Burkina Faso?’, the froum was the culmination of municipal urban forums held earlier in Tenkodogo, Dori, Bobo-Dioulasso and Dédougou, whose conclusions and recommendations served to frame the debates.
In his speech to the participants, the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr René Bessolè Bagoro disclosed that 26 out of 100 Burkinabes were city dwellers. “This number will increase to 35 citizens out of 100 by 2025, thus in only ten years, if the trend continues, there will be five great challenges to face urban development actors in Burkina Faso,” Mr. Bagoro said.
“The five challenges would include: the control and regulation of urban growth; the search for solutions to the growth of the informal settlements; the reduction of environmental stresses; the development of the capacities of the secondary cities; and the involvement of the local population in governing their own city and in the formulation of urban policies,” the minister said.
Mr. Bagoro further stressed on the need to facilitate the involvement and mobilisation of the local communities and the civil society in general to participate to the consolidation of the local urban governance. Of particular interest was the fact that this first forum witnessed the signature of a Declaration by all the institutions and organisations dealing with housing and urban development issues in Burkina Faso.
There was a strong engagement and active participation of the stakeholders to the special session on the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) in Burkina Faso while a high level session deliberated on the roles and responsibilities of the actors in the coordination of international financial support to urban development.
In addition, seven dialogues were organised on various themes touching on urbanisation in the country and three special sessions debated the interventions of the technical and financial development partners. Strong engagement and active participation of the stakeholders to the special session on the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) in Burkina Faso.
A high level session concerned the roles and responsibilities of the actors in the coordination of international financial support to urban development. During their stay, the Director of the Regional Office for Africa of UN-Habitat Prof. Oyeyinka Oyebanji and the representative of the Cities Alliance were granted audience by the Prime Minister of the Transitional Government Mr. Yacouba Isaac Zida. The Prime Minister has confirmed that a formal request to join Cities Alliance will soon be submitted by the government.