NAIROBI, 9 MAY 2018 – Accelerated urbanization is a phenomenon that affects the entire African continent and strategies for sustainable urbanization that drive structural transformation and sustainable development must address realities and priorities of individual countries.
Two Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa hosted Urban Breakfast dialogue sessions to raise awareness on sustainable urban development and review implementation of the New Urban Agenda and progress towards achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. The sessions were jointly organized by
UN-Habitat and respective national governments.
The theme for the Urban Breakfast in Guinea Bissau, a country where rapid urbanization has occurred mainly through migration from rural areas to the capital city and a few major urban centers, was urban resilience, particularly in the context of political instability, poor planning and ineffective enforcement. Location of the capital city of Guinea Bussau in a fragile coastal ecosystem threatened by uncontrolled urban sprawl further complicates the challenge.
Participants from national government, local authorities and key stakeholders discussed Planning Resilient Urban Development in Bissau followed by a workshop to explore urban planning options for the city of Bissau. A proposal for development of a ministry-led UN-Habitat country programme gained strong support.
In Cape Verde a similar event was held in the city of Praia to discuss Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in Cape Verde and was chaired by the Minister of Infrastructures, Territorial Planning and Housing Madame Eunice da Silva Lopes.
It provided an opportunity for participants to take stock of progress in key joint programmes by UN-Habitat and the Government of Cape Verde towards implementation of the New Urban Agenda, and preparation of the Voluntary National Report to be submitted by Cape Verde to the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July.
The Minister reiterated her country’s commitment to implementing the New Urban Agenda, highlighting efforts to bring order to the growth of slums particularly on tourist islands where investments are made and jobs created.
A participatory program to improve informal settlements has been launched and will run until 2022 with full participation of the affected communities.
Participants included representatives of civil society, central and local government institutions, private sector partners, and UN-Habitat Cape Verde Urban Goodwill Ambassadors.
These two initiatives illustrate the importance of inclusive dialogue platforms in raising awareness and engaging actors at all levels for effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.