Conakry, Guinea, 28 July 2021 – The Guinean Government has officially asked for UN-Habitat’s technical expertise to organise a National Land Conference later this year, an invitation that the UN Human Settlements Progamme has accepted.
The country’s parliament has also vowed to provide a conducive legal framework that will facilitate UN-Habitat engagements with all national stakeholders for the development of an integrated city planning system.
Successful design and launch of the land conference are vital to Guinea as it entrenches the public-private sector cooperation in tackling thorny land ownership and planning issues and moves toward systematic, sustainable, and climate-conscious urban and rural development policies.
The crux of the agreements came during a five-day visit earlier this month to Guinea by UN-Habitat Acting Regional Representative for Africa Oumar Sylla.
Billed as a mission to monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Cities project, also known as SANITA, the trip afforded Sylla a number of substantive meetings with Guinea’s senior leadership.
The Sustainable Cities project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN-Habitat in partnership with the Ministry of Cities and Territorial Planning, supports dialogue with the Guinean Government as well as technical and financial partners on issues of sustainable urban development.
"The role and participation of UN-Habitat in the planning and development processes of cities and territories are important for the achievement of the national objectives of improving the quality of life in human settlements," Speaker of the National Assembly Amadou Damaro Camara said during the bilateral meeting with the UN-Habitat Regional Representative for Africa.
He pledged the support of the parliament’s Commission on Land Use Planning, Transport, Energy and Water for UN-Habitat activities in Guinea through the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Ministry of City and Territorial Planning and UN-Habitat during Sylla’s visit.
"The land issue is crucial and worrying in Guinea. It is at the root of many conflicts. The real problems facing us are mainly land issues. We have passed several stages, before 1992 land belonged to the State. But today, we have both State and customary land ownership,” Minister of the City and Territory Planning Ibrahima Kourouma said during the MoU signing ceremony.
“To put an end to this situation, the President of the Republic, Prof. Alpha Condé, wanted us to organise the National Land Conference. It is within this precise framework that we are requesting the intervention of UN-Habitat experts to assist us in the process and practical organisation of the National Land Conference," he added.
Sylla also met with other national officials and representatives of international and national development finance institutions, including the Guinean Housing Finance Agency (AGUIFIL), the Minister of Mines and Geology, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation, the French Development Agency, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System, the Managing Director of Afriland First Bank and the Head of the SANITA Clean Cities program.
These exchanges highlighted the need to support Guinean authorities at the central and municipal levels in the organisation and control of spatial and strategic planning, the management of urban-rural linkages and access to basic services such as water and sanitation.
Strengthening the coherence of investments for a better efficiency of multi-institutional coordination was also among the topics discussed during the bilateral meetings.
The implementation of the New Urban Agenda adopted by governments in 2016 in Quito was another topic that Sylla discussed with partners in Guinea. Those talks revolved around the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities, for which UN-Habitat promised to support the Government of Guinea.
UN-Habitat signed its first MoU with Guinea in 2012 in Naples on the sidelines of the World Urban Forum. Since then, bilateral cooperation has continued to grow and to date, five projects have been completed or are ongoing totalling over USD 6.5 million.