Antananarivo, 21 October 2015— More than 550 participants drawn from all urban actors and international development partners met over three days in Antananarivo to exchange experiences and solutions on sustainable urban development as Madagascar held the second National Urban Forum.

The attendees included 180 mayors recently voted into office in the recent elections that were the culmination of the post-crisis political normalization. Also present were cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.

The Prime Minister Mr. Jean Ravelonarivo officially opened the Forum whose focus was on the finalisation of the national urban policy and which has been fully supported by UN-Habitat.

Addressing the gathering, the State Minister for Urban and Territorial Development, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, stressed that national development was on course owing to a booming agricultural sector as well as prudent harnessing of natural resources development with rapid urbanization.

“Some 50 percent of the population will be urban in less than 15 years, multiplying job opportunities for mostly young urban population and contributing to acceleration of economic growth. For the first time we have realised to prioritise the building of resilient, efficient, equitable and sustainable cities while addressing urban dysfunctions and high vulnerabilities to natural disasters,” he said.

Mr. Ravelonarivo called for reforms on decentralization, economic management and statistics as well as territorial development fronts. He further appealed for a tenfold increase of investment in urban development and restructuring  that will require new strategic partnerships among different levels of government, the private sector, communities and the organizations of the Civil Society.